“Beautiful, rare novels.”
“A prose/poetry dream: a lyrical celebration of the inner life and the images it evokes.”
“Some voyages have their inception in the blueprint of a dream, some in the urgency of contradicting a dream. Lillian’s recurrent dream of a ship that could not reach the water, that sailed laboriously, pushed by her with great effort, through city streets, had determined her course toward the sea, as if she would give this ship, once and for all, its proper sea bed…. With her first swallow of air she inhaled a drug of forgetfulness well known to adventurers.”
Seduction of the Minotaur is the fifth and final volume of Anaïs Nin’s continuous novel known as Cities of the Interior. First published by Swallow Press in 1961, the story follows the travels of the protagonist Lillian through the tropics to a Mexican city loosely based on Acapulco, which Nin herself visited in 1947 and described in the fifth volume of her Diary. As Lillian seeks the warmth and sensuality of this lush and intriguing city, she travels inward as well, learning that to free herself she must free the “monster” that has been confined in a labyrinth of her subconscious.
This new Swallow Press edition includes an introduction by Anita Jarczok, author of Inventing Anaïs Nin: Celebrity Authorship and the Creation of an Icon.
Swallow Press publishes all five volumes that make up Cities of the Interior: Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, The Four-Chambered Heart, A Spy in the House of Love, and Seduction of the Minotaur.
Anaïs Nin (1903–1977) is an iconic literary figure and one of the most notable experimental writers of the twentieth century. As one of the first women to explore female erotica, Nin revealed the inner desires of her characters in a way that made her works a touchstone for later feminist writers. Swallow Press is the premier US publisher of books by and about Nin. More info →
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Mirages opens at the dawn of World War II, when Anaïs Nin fled Paris, where she lived for fifteen years with her husband, banker Hugh Guiler, and ends in 1947 when she meets the man who would be “the One,” the lover who would satisfy her insatiable hunger for connection. In the middle looms a period Nin describes as “hell,” during which she experiences a kind of erotic madness, a delirium that fuels her search for love.
Anaïs Nin made her reputation through publication of her edited diaries and the carefully constructed persona they presented. It was not until decades later, when the diaries were published in their unexpurgated form, that the world began to learn the full details of Nin’s fascinating life and the emotional and literary high-wire acts she committed both in documenting it and in defying the mores of 1950s America.
Although Anaïs Nin found in her diaries a profound mode of self-creation and confession, she could not reveal this intimate record of her own experiences during her lifetime. Instead, she turned to fiction, where her stories and novels became artistic “distillations” of her secret diaries.
Anaïs Nin’s Ladders to Fire interweaves the stories of several women, each emotionally inhibited in her own way: through self-doubt, fear, guilt, moral drift, and distrust. The novel follows their inner struggles to overcome these barriers to happiness and wholeness. The author’s own experiences, as recorded in her famous diaries, supplied the raw material for her fiction. It was her intuitive, experimental, and always original style that transformed one into the other.