THE DIARY OF ANAIS NIN: 1947-1955 by Anais Nin


Email this review


Whatever one found to admire or abhor in the four previous volumes of Anais Nin's epic diary is magnified here. Nin's always brilliant, sensual imagery explodes in the sunlights of Mexico and in the golden wash of an LSD-induced encounter with the infinite. A new psychoanalyst pricks her glazed porcelain ego producing twinges of insight into the tyranny of her rejecting father and the role of those talented young men who flock to Anais for spiritual support. Politics remains irrelevant while dubious talents (like feelgood doctor Jacobsen who fooled many more skeptical souls) are extolled and, alas, relations with literary contemporaries -- especially the insufficiently appreciative Edmund Wilson and Max Geismar -- grow peevish. And more and more often the exquisitely painted mask slips askew and the diary as artifice -- as a stage for self-dramatization rather than a tool for self-realization -- reveals its exasperating limitations. After searching so long for interior and exterior confirmation of her artistic identity, Nin rejects psychedelic shortcuts and triumphantly yet tremulously proclaims ""I will not be a tourist in the world of images."" Ironically, the lesson for those who have followed the diaries with high hopes is the ultimate futility of the attempt to cast a human life as a work of art. The product of considerable talent and breathtaking tenacity, Nin's lifelong diary can be as intensely illuminating in spots as it is spectacularly frustrating overall. And of course there is a coterie that will be content to embrace Anais as a guide for their own tourist ventures into the realm of attenuated sensibility.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1974
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich