"What moving poems you fashion out of your sadness. Beautiful, wistful poems of deep feeling. You have not lost your gift. What a pair we are. I have been fighting cancer for six months. May be well in August. I will read your poems to my students."
Anaïs Nin to Felix Pollak
"This book is both useful and entertaining, because it offers a discussion of the writers aesthetic beliefs while revealing the intimate thoughts of two romantic, creative individuals. Recommended."
In the winter of 1951-52, Anaïs Nin was a writer in despair. More than a dozen publishing houses had rejected her new novel, A Spy in the House of Love, and Nin became desperate for literary acceptance. Encouragement came from an unexpected source. Felix Pollak, an Austrian emigré and Rare Book Librarian at Northwestern University, had been entrusted with the task of acquiring some of Nin's manuscripts for the library. A longtime admirer of her work and himself an emerging poet, Pollak wrote Nin a letter of appreciation, and this quickly blossomed into an animated and devoted correspondence.
Through this correspondence of over 200 letters, both writers present nuanced self-portraits that shed fresh light on their complex personalities. Their frank and open exchange of views on life and art spanned twenty-five years. Editor Gregory H. Mason provides us with a unique insight into the development of these two writers as they grow in their friendship and as artists.
Gregory H. Mason is a professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.
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