born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, was a French-Cuban author, based at first in France and later in the United States, who published her journals, which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death, her erotic literature, and short stories. A great deal of her work, including Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously.
Anaïs Nin was born in Neuilly, France, to artistic parents. Her father, Joaquín Nin, was a Cuban pianist and composer, when he met her mother Rosa Culmell, who was a classically trained singer in Cuba of French and Danish descent. Her father's grandfather had fled France during the Revolution, going first to Saint-Domingue, then New Orleans, and finally to Cuba where he helped build that country's first railway.
Nin was raised a Roman Catholic and spent her childhood and early life in Europe. After her parents separated, her mother moved Anaïs and her two brothers, Thorvald Nin and Joaquin Nin-Culmell, to Barcelona, and then to New York City. According to her diaries, Volume One, 1931–1934, Nin abandoned formal schooling at the age of sixteen years and later began working as an artist's model. After being in America for several years, Nin had forgotten how to speak Spanish, but retained her French and became fluent in English.
On March 3, 1923, in Havana, Cuba, Nin married her first husband, Hugh Parker Guiler (1898–1985), a banker and artist, later known as "Ian Hugo" when he became a maker of experimental films in the late 1940s. The couple moved to Paris the following year, where Guiler pursued his banking career and Nin began to pursue her interest in writing; in her diaries she also mentions having trained as a flamenco dancer in Paris in the mid-to-late 1920s. Her first published work was a critical evaluation of D. H. Lawrence called D. H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study, which she wrote in sixteen days. She also explored the field of psychotherapy, studying under the likes of Otto Rank, a disciple of Sigmund Freud.
Nin left Paris in the late summer of 1939, when residents from overseas were urged to leave France due to the upcoming war and returned to New York City with Guiler (who was, on his own wish, all but edited out of her diaries published in her lifetime and whose role in her life is therefore difficult to gauge). During the war, Nin sent her books to Frances Steloff of the Gotham Book Mart in New York for safekeeping.
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