Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Anais Nin Blog: The Miller Influence Myth

Last week, I'd added a link (in the sidebar at right) for the new Anais Nin blog, hosted by Sky Blue Press. But I've been meaning to draw more prominent attention to it. Today's Nin posting seems like a good start. Titled "Anais Nin Myth of the Day," the article presents the following:

Myth #2: “Anaïs Nin was a success because of Henry Miller. He taught her to write and she used him. If it wasn’t for him she would’ve been completely unknown.”

An excellent, tangible example is then given to support the fact that Miller had some editorial and critical influence on Nin's writing. An original draft page from Nin's "Djuna" (from Winter of Artifice) is presented, onto which Miller has made several handwritten notes. Beneath this is a scanned page from the published book, from which one can assess that Miller's suggestions have been incorproated.

"However," states the blog, "to indicate that Miller was responsible for Nin’s success is as flawed as saying she was responsible for his. They influenced each other. Miller’s Scenario, for example, is what many consider a poor rendering of Nin’s House of Incest, which was evidently, according to most critics and Nin herself, misunderstood by Miller." A case is made that Nin was open to Miller's suggestions, while Miller was closed to hers.

An interesting post. The blog itself should offer many more fresh angles on Miller, from a sympathetic representation of Anais Nin's perspective.

Sky Blue Press is the publisher of A Cafe In Space, the ultimate resource for all things relating to Anais Nin. Henry Miller and their shared circle of friends also make appearances within the Cafe pages. For example, Volume 2 includes Karl Orend's "Parallel Lives of Tenderness and Passion—A glimpse of Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller"; Volume 3 has Katrin Burtschell's "Anais Nin, Henry Miller, and Japan—An endless fascination"; Volume 4 includes the article "Rupert Pole and John Ferrone: The Making of Henry and June, the Book—Correspondence 1985-1986"; and this month's Volume 6 will feature Allison P. Palumbo's "Writing the In (in) Between—The expressions of écriture féminine in Henry Miller’s Tropics trilogy."

Also: the new Henry Miller Library blog (details being posted soon).
Banner art: At left, a frame grab of Nin and Miller from Robert Snyder's Henry Miller Odyssey documentary; at right, Nin's eyes, as doctored on a flyer for a UCLA event held last year in her honour.