A Swallow Press Book
“Jarczok brings Nin scholarship well into the twenty-first century, where it deserves to be.”
Elizabeth Podnieks, author of Daily Modernism: The Literary Diaries of Virginia Woolf, Antonia White, Elizabeth Smart, and Anaïs Nin
“[Insightfully explores] questions of [Nin's] self-invention and reception.”
“Anita Jarczok is an adept guide for the reconsideration of Nin, neither diminishing nor overinflating her subject.…Taking up the perception of Nin as ‘a devious manipulator, a liar, and a master of self-promotion,’ Jarczok examines the ways in which Nin cultivated her image…However, Jarczok also asks: why shouldn’t Nin have been ambitious?”
Times Higher Education
“[The book] is particularly well executed when it comes to parsing Nin’s reviews, her self-construction via her diaries and public appearances. Writing an Icon: Celebrity Culture and the Invention of Anaïs Nin serves as a good reference guide to Nin’s career and reception history and it goes a long way toward explaining the checkered nature of both.”
Contemporary Women‘s Writing
Anaïs Nin, the diarist, novelist, and provocateur, occupied a singular space in twentieth-century culture, not only as a literary figure and voice of female sexual liberation but as a celebrity and symbol of shifting social mores in postwar America. Before Madonna and her many imitators, there was Nin; yet, until now, there has been no major study of Nin as a celebrity figure.
In Writing an Icon, Anita Jarczok reveals how Nin carefully crafted her literary and public personae, which she rewrote and restyled to suit her needs and desires. When the first volume of her diary was published in 1966, Nin became a celebrity, notorious beyond the artistic and literary circles in which she previously had operated. Jarczok examines the ways in which the American media appropriated and deconstructed Nin and analyzes the influence of Nin’s guiding hand in their construction of her public persona.
The key to understanding Nin’s celebrity in its shifting forms, Jarczok contends, is the Diary itself, the principal vehicle through which her image has been mediated. Combining the perspectives of narrative and cultural studies, Jarczok traces the trajectory of Nin’s celebrity, the reception of her writings. The result is an innovative investigation of the dynamic relationships of Nin’s writing, identity, public image, and consumer culture.
Anita Jarczok teaches American literature and contemporary cultural theory at the University of Bielsko-Biała, Poland. Her research interests include literature, narrative, and gender and cultural studies, and she is the author of many articles and book chapters on Nin, celebrity, and sexuality. More info →
A few weeks after Madonna published Sex—a provocative book containing highly erotic, verging on pornographic, imagery and language—a short article entitled “Pages: No Monopoly for Madonna” appeared in the Los Angeles Times. “Harcourt Brace Jovanovich would like to remind the world that Madonna does not hold the patent on sexual confessions,” it announced in the opening sentence. The article further suggested that it was not Madonna but Anaïs Nin, a long-dead diarist and author of erotic stories, who paved the way for sexually explicit revelations.…
— Introduction: “Anaïs Nin and Her Diary”
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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.
In The Novel of the Future, Anaïs Nin explores the act of creation—in film, art, and dance as well as literature—to chart a new direction for the young artist struggling against what she perceived as the sterility, formlessness, and spiritual bankruptcy afflicting much of mid-twentieth-century fiction.
Dawn Powell was a gifted satirist who moved in the same circles as Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, renowned editor Maxwell Perkins, and other midcentury New York luminaries. Her many novels are typically divided into two groups: those dealing with her native Ohio and those set in New York.
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.
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