Tim Ashley

Nin in Everything

Fire: The Unpublished, Unexpurgated Diary, 1934–1937

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‘I create an artificial paradise,’ Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary in January 1937, ‘and human life destroys it, is against it’. Reality, never Nin’s strong point either as a writer or as a human being, was getting in the way of the Baudelairean structure she had gradually been erecting round herself ever since she began her journal, aged eleven, in 1914. What she believed to be a quest for love actually consisted of a behavioural pattern of seduction, betrayal and deceit. She persistently played her sexual partners, male and female, against each other and consistently told repeated lies to their faces.

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