born february 21, 1903 in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris
died january 14, 1977 in Los Angeles
Anaïs Nin is most famous for her diaries which span several decades. She was acquainted, often quite intimately, with a number of prominent authors, artists and psychoanalysts, among other figures. Her diaries portray these persons in an unusual depth of analysis and frankness of description. Moreover, as a female author describing a primarily masculine constellation of celebrities, Nin's diaries have acquired importance as a counterbalancing perspective.
Anaïs Nin is hailed by many critics as one of the finest examples of writers of female erotica. She was one of the first women to really explore the realm of erotic writing, and certainly the first prominent women in modern Europe to write erotica. Nin, faced with a desperate need for money, wrote the stories in Delta of Venus for a dollar a page in the 1940s.
She considered the characters in her erotica to be extreme caricature and never intended for the erotica to be published. Her writing was scandalously explicit for the time. Nin was a friend, and in some cases lover, of many leading literary figures, including Henry Miller, Edmund Wilson, Gore Vidal, James Agee, and Lawrence Durrell. Her passionate love affair and friendship with Miller strongly influenced both her as a woman and an author. Bisexual, Nin was also involved romantically during that time with Miller's wife, June Miller, although she is not "officially" disclosed as having the affair.
In 1973 she received an honorary doctorate from Philadelphia College of Art. She was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1974.