Anais Nin, Prolific Erotic Diarist

For this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have chosen to write a little bit about the infamous writer Anais Nin.   Anais Nin was a prolific writer who wrote diaries, novels, and erotica.   She was famous for her torrid love affairs and her incredibly descriptive diaries about them!

Anais Nin is probably most remembered for the persona she created for herself.    She projected an image that she desired to portray to the world, with great talent.    Nin actually grew up in America and was schooled in New York State, but she was of Cuban and European descent.    

After her marriage, her husband moved them to France, much to her delight.    However, he was often busy with work, leaving Anais at home bored.    She began more and more to fill her time with decorating (and re-decorating) the house, and with her writing.    Nin was famous for editing her diaries, meaning that there were many drafts of any given volume of her journals.    This is part of the way she developed her persona, and it certainly also would help her writing.    

While Anais Nin wrote several books that were novels, and not erotica, she is best known for her erotic works.    This could be partially true because her diaries also have a heavily erotic tone to them!   Nin wrote extensively about her affairs, such as her famous one with Henry Miller.   She also wrote about her erotic feelings for Miller’s wife June, and the complexity of that relationship.   This portion of her diaries would inspire the film Henry & June.   Her diaries were heavily edited upon her death by her husband, wanting to spare himself embarrassment.   Luckily, we have many volumes of unexpurgated diaries that have been published since his death!

She was a woman who did not fear breaking taboos.    This included many counts of adultery, bigamy (as she married a man without divorcing her previous husband), and even incest with her own father!    The last had to do with him leaving the family when she was very young, and her always having had an idealized image of him.    When meeting him as an adult incest occurred, and that is all I will say on that subject, but for those that want the whole story there is a volume of her unexpurgated diaries that is titled Incest.   Even with the questionable morality of her life, or possibly because of it, readers find it fascinating to glimpse behind the curtain and into Anias Nin’s life and world!    

All of these factors made her an ideal choice to feature on Femme Fatale Friday, as she truly was a radical woman!    I hope that you have enjoyed learning a little something about Anais Nin.   Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!  

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Nin surrounded by her diaries.   I found the image on

Further Reading/Watching

  • Henry and June: The Unexpurgated Diary (1931-1932) of Anais Nin
  • Delta of Venus: Erotica by Anais Nin
  • Anais: The Erotic Life of Anais Nin by Noel Riley Fitch
  • Henry & June (1990)