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Wikipedia Summary for Anaïs Nin

Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell (February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977), known professionally as Anaïs Nin (French: [ana.is nin]), was a French-Cuban-American diarist, essayist, novelist and writer of short stories and erotica. Born to Cuban parents in France, Nin was the daughter of composer Joaquín Nin and Rosa Culmell, a classically trained singer. Nin spent her early years in Spain and Cuba, about sixteen years in Paris (1924–1940), and the remaining half of her life in the United States, where she became an established author.

Nin wrote journals prolifically from age eleven until her death. Her journals, many of which were published during her lifetime, detail her private thoughts and personal relationships. Her journals also describe her marriages to Hugh Parker Guiler and Rupert Pole, in addition to her numerous affairs, including those with psychoanalyst Otto Rank and writer Henry Miller, both of whom profoundly influenced Nin and her writing.

In addition to her journals, Nin wrote several novels, critical studies, essays, short stories, and volumes of erotica. Much of her work, including the collections of erotica Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously amid renewed critical interest in her life and work. Nin spent her later life in Los Angeles, California, where she died of cervical cancer in 1977.

The cynic is a coward. He foresees all barrenness so that barrenness can never surprise him.

--Anaïs Nin

We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are.

--Anaïs Nin

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.

--Anaïs Nin

Idealism is the death of the body and the imagination. All but freedom, utter freedom, is death.

--Anaïs Nin

Notes fly so much farther than words. There is no other way to reach the infinite.

--Anaïs Nin

Your eyes make me shy.

--Anaïs Nin

Everything with me is either worship and passion or pity and understanding. I hate rarely, though when I hate. I hate murderously.

--Anaïs Nin

To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard.

--Anaïs Nin

Longer Version:

To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one's mind and psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use.


Great repressions create dualities.

--Anaïs Nin

He understands my pity for his ridiculous, humiliating physical necessity.

--Anaïs Nin

The personal, if it is deep enough, becomes universal, mythical, symbolic.

--Anaïs Nin

I sleep with my feet on moss carpets, my branches in the cotton of the clouds.

--Anaïs Nin

Perhaps the only magician we have is the artist.

--Anaïs Nin

She acquired the certainty of the expansion of time by depth of emotion, range and infinite multiplicity of experience.

--Anaïs Nin

When I cannot bear outer pressures anymore, I begin to put order in my belongings...As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects.

--Anaïs Nin

All the art of analysis consists in saying a truth only when the other person is ready for it, has been prepared for it by an organic process of gradation and evolution.

--Anaïs Nin

We celebrate peace. Yet we pay no attention to the ways of curing aggression in human beings. And when one sees in psychoanalysis hostility disappearing as people conquer their fears, one wonders if the cure is not there.

--Anaïs Nin

Solitude may rust your words.

--Anaïs Nin

If you are terribly truthful, the ground will always move from under you, and you will have to shift with the constantly shifting truth.

--Anaïs Nin

All of my creation is an effort to weave a web of connection with the world: I am always weaving it because it was once broken.

--Anaïs Nin

There is an ugliness in being paid for work one does not like.

--Anaïs Nin

If one's conscious life is too rigid, too regimented, then the surface may crack at times, and we are unprepared for the strange emotions or sensations we experience.

--Anaïs Nin

The preoccupation of the novelist: how to capture the living moments, was answered by the diary. You write while you are alive. You do not preserve them in alcohol until the moment you are ready to write about them.

--Anaïs Nin

The inner chambers of the soul are like the photographer's darkroom. Like a laboratory. One cannot stay there all the time or it becomes the solitary cell of the neurotic.

--Anaïs Nin

Death from disillusion is not instantaneous, and there are no mercy killers for the disillusioned.

--Anaïs Nin

The best way to remember a beautiful city or a beautiful painting is to eat something while you are looking at it. The flavor really helps the image to penetrate the body. It fixes it as lacquer does a drawing.

--Anaïs Nin

Big Business and Politics are twins, they are the monsters who kill everything, corrupt everything.

--Anaïs Nin

At first she beckoned and lured one into her world; then, she blurred the passageways, confused all the images, as if to elude detection.

--Anaïs Nin

But I lie. I embellish. My words are not deep enough. They disguise, they conceal. I will not rest until I have told of my descent into a sensuality which was as dark, as magnificent, as wild, as my moments of mystic creation have been dazzling, ecstatic, exalted.

--Anaïs Nin

America is the greatest humiliator in existence. It is always cultivating the power you get from humiliating others.

--Anaïs Nin

To the woman with the least intelligence, there must come, at some time or other, the realization that housework is animal work and that there are other occupations in the world a thousand times more refined, more enriching, for which she is also suited and to which she has a right.

--Anaïs Nin

In the world of the dreamer there was solitude: all the exaltations and joys came in the moment of preparation for living. They took place in solitude.

--Anaïs Nin

Longer Version:

In the world of the dreamer there was solitude: all the exaltations and joys came in the moment of preparation for living. They took place in solitude. But with action came anxiety, and the sense of insuperable effort made to match the dream, and with it came weariness, discouragement, and the flight into solitude again. And then in solitude, in the opium den of remembrance, the possibility of pleasure again.


We sit on the kitchen exchanging these diabolical outgrowths of overfertile minds.

--Anaïs Nin

In New York the acoustics are good for laughter, for life is all external, all action, no thought, no meditation, no dreaming, no reflection, only the exuberance of action.

--Anaïs Nin

In the..curious way that my idealism has been mixed with my fatalism, so that I can possess the soul of a dreamer and that of a cynic at the same time......I possess a power of magic...to destroy the balance of a well-designed destiny with my diabolical mind.

--Anaïs Nin

The shell is America's most active contribution to the formation of character. A tough hide. Grow it early.

--Anaïs Nin

That is my essential reason for writing, not for fame, not to be celebrated after death, but to heighten and create life all around me. I also write because when I am writing I reach the high moment of fusion sought by the mystics, the poets, the lovers, a sense of communion with the universe.

--Anaïs Nin

Our psychological reality, which lies below the surface, frightens us because it endlessly surprises us and drives us in a direction which society's rules and organizations define as wrong or dangerous.

--Anaïs Nin

I am a failure as a writer. The publishers won't publish me, the bookshops won't carry my books, the critics won't write about me. I am excluded from all anthologies, and completely ignored.

--Anaïs Nin

I have this weird obsession about buying books and looking at them with a smile, even if I won't read them soon. At least they are mine now.

--Anaïs Nin

I cannot concentrate all my friendship on any single one of my friends because no one is complete enough in himself.

--Anaïs Nin

Introspection is a devouring monster.

--Anaïs Nin

Longer Version:

Introspection is a devouring monster. You have to feed it with much material, much experience, many people, many places, many loves, many creations, and then it ceases feeding on you.


What a mystery this is, desire. The love sickness, the sensitivity, the obsession, the flutter of the heart, the ebb and flow of the blood. There is no drug and no alcohol to equal it.

--Anaïs Nin

Descendants of pigeons once fed by Keats, Byron, George Sand, Chopin and many other famous lovers are still being fed, and the sudden sound when they all rise together, frightened away, is like the sound of giant sails flapping.

--Anaïs Nin

She walked in the shadow of Rango with a great feeling of being taken out of herself, of having no knowledge of what was happening to her, merely a pervading sense of flow.

--Anaïs Nin

This great handsomeness I took into myself later when he desired me, but I took it as one breathes air, or swallows a snowflake, or yields to the sun.

--Anaïs Nin

Houses turn to corpses overnight when we cease to live and love in them.

--Anaïs Nin

He had a mania for washing and disinfecting himself... For him the only danger came from the microbes that attacked the body. He had not studied the microbe of conscience which eats into the soul.

--Anaïs Nin

But the artist persists because he has the will to create, and this is the magic power which can transform and transfigure and transpose and which will ultimately be transmitted to others.

--Anaïs Nin

The bed must be a beautiful place, not only because you make love there but because you dream there as well.

--Anaïs Nin

The final lesson a writer learns is that everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter, a talk on the street, a book, a phrase learned.

--Anaïs Nin

The period without the diary remains an ordeal. Every evening I want my diary as one wants opium.

--Anaïs Nin

I have a prejudice against people with money. I have known so many, and none have escaped the corruption of power. In this I am a purist. I love people motivated by love and not by power. If you have money and power, and are motivated by love, you give it all away.

--Anaïs Nin

Convalescence. Such an utter weakness that you lie like an animal hibernating, playing possum. You float. You are adrift. Every current is stronger than you.

--Anaïs Nin

When I hear of people who weary of each other, I believe it is because they have sought virtues in themselves alone, attractions of physical beauty. Have they based their love on each other's thoughts? Who can weary of thoughts which change every day?

--Anaïs Nin

Life, religion and art all converge in Bali. They have no word in their language for 'artist' or 'art.' Everyone is an artist.

--Anaïs Nin

Beware of allowing a tactless word, a rebuttal, a rejection to obliterate the whole sky.

--Anaïs Nin

I seek the real stuff of life. Profound drama.

--Anaïs Nin

The complaints of the child in us will never cease lamenting until it is consoled, answered, understood. Only then will it lie still in us, like our fears. It will die in peace and leave us what the child leaves to the man -- the sense of wonder.

--Anaïs Nin

Worlds self made are so full of monsters and demons.

--Anaïs Nin

You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living.

--Anaïs Nin

Tropical nights are hammocks for lovers.

--Anaïs Nin

Because history is only an aggregate of personal hostilities, personal prejudices, personal blindness and irrationality, there are times when we have to live against it.

--Anaïs Nin

The impetus to grow and live intensely is so powerful in me I cannot resist it. I will work, I will love my husband, but I will fulfill myself.

--Anaïs Nin

I have no fear of God, and yet fear keeps me awake at night,fear of the devil. And if I believe in the devil, I must believe in God. And if evil is abhorrent to me, I must be a saint. Henry, save me from beatification, from the horrors of static perfection. Precipitate me into the inferno.

--Anaïs Nin

I have seen romanticism outlast the realistic. I have seen men forget the beautiful women they have possessed, forget the prostitutes, and remember the first woman they idolized, the woman they could never have. The woman who aroused them romantically holds them.

--Anaïs Nin

While analyzing so many people I realized the constant need of a mother, or a father, or a god (the same thing) is really immaturity. It is a childish need, a human need, but so universal that I can see how it gave birth to all religions.

--Anaïs Nin

She makes use of the soft of the bread for a napkin. She falls asleep at times with shoes on, on unmade beds. When a little money comes in, June buys delicacies, strawberries in the winter, caviar and bath salts.

--Anaïs Nin

Sexual intercourse... a joyous, joyous, joyous, joyous impaling of woman on man's sensual mast.

--Anaïs Nin

I did not feel drawn to huxley. He was beautiful physically but again without vibrations or sensory antennae... and I had a painful impression of a psychic blindness. With all his science and knowledge, in the mystic world he blundered.

--Anaïs Nin

The one who travels like a lover searching for a new passion is suddenly blessed with new eyes, new ears, new senses.

--Anaïs Nin

I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go.

--Anaïs Nin

I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension.

--Anaïs Nin

A trite word is an overused word which has lost its identity like an old coat in a second-hand shop. The familiar grows dull and we no longer see, hear, or taste it.

--Anaïs Nin

We efface an hour by passionate love, without twists, without aftertaste. When it is finished, it is not finished, we lie still in each other's arms lulled by our love, by tenderness -- sensuality in which the whole being can participate.

--Anaïs Nin

The violence and obscenity are left unadulterated, as manifestation of the mystery and pain which ever accompanies the act of creation.

--Anaïs Nin

Jazz is the expression of America's romantic self, its sensual potency, its lyrical force.

--Anaïs Nin

The child who is uprooted begins to recognize that what he builds within himself is what will endure, what will withstand shattering experiences.

--Anaïs Nin

Stations and airports are rehearsals for separations by death.

--Anaïs Nin

I gathered poets around me and we all wrote beautiful erotica. As we were condemned to focus only on sensuality, we had violent explosions of poetry. Writing erotica became a road to sainthood rather than to debauchery.

--Anaïs Nin

Writing more and more to the sound of music, writing more and more like music. Sitting in my studio tonight, playing record after record, writing, music a stimulant of the highest order, far more potent than wine.

--Anaïs Nin

When I stand at the top of the Champs-Elysées, with its chestnut trees in flower, its undulations of shining cars, its white spaciousness, I feel as if I were biting into a utopian fruit, something velvety and lustrous and rich and vivid.

--Anaïs Nin

Only when the poet and the scientist work in unison will we have living experiences and knowledge of the marvels of the universe as they are being discovered.

--Anaïs Nin

Now that I am moving, I am afraid. Where am I going?

--Anaïs Nin

The softness of the summer day like an ermine paw.

--Anaïs Nin

Nowhere is inhumanity more revealed than in hospitals.

--Anaïs Nin

I see enormous loves growing immense and finally crushing me.

--Anaïs Nin

There are books which we read early in life, which sink into our consciousness and seem to disappear without leaving a trace. And then one day we find, in some summing-up of our life and put attitudes towards experience, that their influence has been enormous.

--Anaïs Nin

Every individual is representative of the whole ... and should be intimately understood, and this would give a far greater understanding of mass movements and sociology.

--Anaïs Nin

Paris-New York, the two high tension magnetic poles between life, life of the senses, of the spirit in Paris, and life in action in New York.

--Anaïs Nin


Travel is seeking the lost paradise. It is the supreme illusion of love.

--Anaïs Nin

In music I feel most deeply the passing of things.

--Anaïs Nin

Coming near him like a ballet dancer she took a leap towards him, and he, frightened by her vehemence, and fearing that she would crash against him, instinctively became absolutely rigid, and she felt herself embracing a statue.

--Anaïs Nin

I really believe that if I were not a writer, not a creator, not an experimenter, I might have been a very faithful wife. I think highly of faithfulness. But my temperament belongs to the writer, not to the woman.

--Anaïs Nin

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