Northern Illinois University Press

Anaïs Nin and the Remaking of Self

Gender, Modernism, and Narrative Identity

Diane Richard-Allerdyce

"Makes a strong case for reading Nin's novels as part of a long struggle to deal with her pain through art.... Allerdyce has written a meticulously researched book on Nin's life and writings."—Daniel Morris, Purdue University

"A valuable addition to the relatively limited body of criticism on Nin."—Virginia M. Kouidis, Auburn University

Anaïs Nin is simultaneously one of the most interesting and troubling figures of the Modernist period. Though her provocative diaries, documenting relationships with such renowned figures as Henry Miller and Otto Rank, secured her place in literary history, Nin's writing has yet to attract the critical attention it deserves. With one of the first critical studies to treat Nin's work as a unified whole, Richard-Allerdyce reclaims Nin's writings as she traces the development of Nin's theories of gender and the creative self through her experimental fiction, criticism, and diaries.

Nin's works mirror her nearly lifelong struggle to resist a tendency toward depression and to use psychoanalysis in conjunction with writing in a process of "narrative recovery." Specifically, Nin employed literary form as a means of delineating the boundaries of her life even as she explored the fluidity she associated with both a feminine principle and an understanding of the unconscious forces that shape peoples' lives.

Nin's struggle for success is presented as part of a long and complex history—that of women's effort to find a means of expressing female experiences in writing. For Nin, the struggle included an attempt to embody a "feminine mode of being" in her writing. Because Nin herself stressed the centrality of gender to her identity, her relation to women's studies and her treatment of gender provide the basis for understanding her work.

Richard-Allerdyce frames her analysis with a Lacanian perspective that complements Nin's re-creation of her personal history and her interest in both psychoanalysis and Modernism. Anaïs Nin and the Remaking of Self will interest students, therapists, creative writers, and scholars of the Modernist movement across disciplines.

(1998) 223 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-232-9
cloth $35.50

Table of Contents

1 Narrative Openings: D. H. Lawrence and House of Incest
2 Breaking Silence: Transference and Mourning in Winter of Artifice
3 Exile and (Re-)Birth in Under a Glass Bell
4 Repetition and Resistance in Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, and The Four-Chambered Heart
5 Catharsis and Healing in A Spy in the House of Love, Seduction of the Minotaur, and Collages
6 Narrative Recovery and Narrative Authenticity in The Diary of Anaïs Nin
Selected Bibliography

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-232-9
cloth $35.50