Anais Nin Biography

Anais Nin (Full name: Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell) is best known as a diarist and novelist. She is most famous for her published diaries The Diary of Anaïs Nin.  In addition to her diary, she has written several erotic works, short stories, and critical essays.

Anais was born on February 21, 1903, in Neuilly, France to Cuban parents. Her father, Joaquín Nin, was a composer and her mother, Rosa Culmell, was a classically trained singer.

She moved to America with her mother and her brothers after her parents separated when she was two. She started keeping a diary when she was eleven and continued writing in her diary throughout her life.

When she was 20, she got married to a banker, Hugh Guiler, and they moved to Paris settled into a typical married lifestyle. During this time, she wrote an analysis of D. H. Lawrence’s controversial novels.

In 1931, she met writer Henry Miller and this marked a turning point in her life. She developed a creative collaboration and a strong personal relationship with him. Miller, whose works were banned in the US for being pornographic, encouraged her to publish her work.

After 10 years in Europe, she and her husband were forced to leave for America in 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War.  In America, she struggled to have her work commercially published before finally deciding to self-publish her work.

After years of struggling to find significance in the literary world, Anais shot to fame in 1966 at the age of 63 with the publication of the first installment of her diary, The Diary of Anaïs Nin.  A total of seven volumes of her diary have been published.

The diaries record her thoughts and feelings about various events in her life including extra-marital affairs with high profile men like the writer Henry Miller, psychoanalyst Otto Rank, and Marxist Gonzalo Moré. She also writes about an incestuous relationship with her father, abortion, and a bigamous marriage to a young actor 16 years her junior.

Anais Nin died of cervical cancer on January 14, 1977, in Los Angeles, California, U.S at the age of 73.

During her lifetime, she was quite a controversial figure because she wrote, without shame, on issues that were considered taboo. However, with the rise of the women’s movement in the 1960s and 70s, she gained fame as a feminist icon. She regularly gave lectures at various universities and was given various awards including being elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1974.

In recent times, her quotes have become popular on the internet and social media and she has been transformed into an inspirational figure in self-help circles. Her quotes reveal her philosophical side and her approach to dealing with a difficult life.

Further Reading

Check out the articles below for quotes by Anais Nin and other accomplished writers.

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  • Sources Cited for Anais Nin’s biography

The Anais Nin Foundation An Introduction to the World of Anais Nin

The Guardian Before Lena Dunham, there was Anaïs Nin – now patron saint of social media

Wikipedia Anais Nin