Monday, March 23, 2009

Anais Nin

I have been reading Anais Nin's work off-and-on for a year, since first seeing her mentioned in Judy Chicago's autobiographies. Since then, I have been kicking around this idea of a "matron of the arts" - powerful women in arts movements who were forced into "motherhood" rolls. Figures like Nin, Sylvia Beach, and Beatrice Wood.

It took me eight months to get around to it, but I finally plowed through Nin's Diary 1931-1934. I think that it was a mistake to read "Henry and June" first, because it is a jucier version of what is in the diary. Or I wish that someone would publish the two together.

One passage I especially like:

Man must fear the effort woman is making to create herself, not to be born of Adam's rib. It revives his old fears of her power. What he forgets is that dependency does not create love, and to control nature is not a greater achievement than to control woman, for there will always be the revolts of instinct, the earthquakes and the tidal waves. With control one also killed the rich natural resources of both nature and woman. It was woman who reacted against the great dehumanization of man by industry, the machine. Man reacted by mutiny, or crime. Woman sought other ways. Mutiny is not in her nature. (p 276)

1 comment:

Brian said...

I've been wanting to read some of Anais's stuff for a while now; maybe your post can be the kick in the butt I need.

And it was great meeting you too!