Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Entertainment
Front Page 
UK Politics 
New Music Releases 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Friday, 28 January, 2000, 15:30 GMT
Anais Nin: What's the story?

Oasis star Noel Gallagher and wife Meg Mathews have named their baby girl Anais, after Meg's favourite author - French erotic writer Anais Nin.

Young Anais Gallagher and her literary namesake share a musical heritage.

New parents: Meg and Noel
The late novelist's father was the Spanish pianist and composer Joaquin Nin, and although he walked out on his family when his daughter was 10, he was to have a profound effect on the course of her life.

Born in 1903, Anais Nin has become an iconic figure of modern womanhood. Free-thinking and cosmopolitan, she actively pursued the sexual liberation promised to women in the works of DH Lawrence and Sigmund Freud.

French by birth, Nin was taken to New York by her mother, following the departure of Joaquin.

The young girl's letters, imploring her father to visit, but never posted, soon became a diary.

Her desire to record her thoughts and emotions became a mania she repeatedly tried to overcome.

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

At 20 she married banker Hugo Parker Guiler, and followed his job to Paris. It was back in her native land that Nin's sensual and sexual maturity was reached.

Henry and June

Regarding herself as an artist, the bored wife craved creative company. She found a number of her appetites satisfied by the great American novelist Henry Miller.

Anais Nin: An expert in seduction
Falling for both Miller and his wife - the subject of the 1990 film Henry and June - Nin found writing the perfect vehicle to express her desires and analyse her deeds.

As her circle of lovers increased, Nin entered psychotherapy. After seducing both of her analysts, she studied the science herself under the tutelage of Otto Rank.

Following affairs with novelist Gore Vidal, and even her own father, Nin began a relationship with the young American actor Rupert Pole.

For 20 years she divided her time between Hugo in New York and Rupert in California. Just as she recorded her thoughts and experiences, Nin committed the lies she told the pair to paper. This filing system allowed her to keep both relationships completely separate.

Though having printed her works since 1946, at Hugo's own expense, it was not until the publishing of her censored diaries in the mid-1960s that Nin found fame.

Nin had an affair with the young Gore Vidal
Although heavily influenced by the erotica of Surrealism in the 1930s, Nin's writings struck a chord with readers during the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Critics have often been disparaging of Nin's literary abilities, suggesting her approach to sensuality was both manipulative and mechanical.

Indeed, an early edition of one book was deemed to require diagrams by its editor, so confusing were its descriptions of sexual activity.

However, accusations of self-obsession and narcissism have not stopped a cult growing up around Nin.

Since her death in 1977, and that of Hugo in 1985, Rupert Pole has seen to it that Nin's original diaries have been published.

Despite reservations about her status as novelist, diarist and artist, few can deny Anais Nin of not being a women of her time.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
27 Jan 00 |  Entertainment
Oasis Noel becomes a father

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories