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The Early Diary of Anais Nin Volume Four, 1927-1931 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: $29.95; 489 pp.)

June 02, 1985|Sharon Dirlam | Dirlam is a Times staff writer

The publication of this volume of Anais Nin's remarkable diary marks the final link in the journal that she kept from 1914 to 1974.

Besides the inclusion of photographs--Anais in dancing costume, the young Anais and her husband, other family members and friends--devoted fans will be rewarded with intimate details of the young woman's marriage as well as commentary on her own developing maturity and intellect.

A frustration of the originally published diaries, which began in 1931 when this one concludes, is that Anais' husband, Hugh Guiler, would not allow himself to be portrayed for publication. As renowned as Nin's diaries have become, the omission of all mention of her marriage created a serious gap in the work of art and life that the journals represent.

Here is the youthful Anais in all her delightfulness: creative, sensual, at times narcissistic, introspective, petty, impressionable and always observant.

She delves into her infatuation with American writer John Erskine, she enjoys a variety of little flirtations, and she analyzes the delights and disappointments of her early married years.

The stock market crash of 1929 that plunged the world into years of economic depression is mentioned in passing insofar as it affected Anais and Hugh. A more personal account of determined cheer, relocating from a fashionable Parisian town house to a crumbling villa in the village of Louveciennes (a satellite of Paris), would be hard to imagine.

And finally, this volume provides a glimpse of the confident young creator, who knows her writing is important although no publisher will yet pay her attention, until on assignment, she hurriedly produces a remarkable study of D. H. Lawrence.

Although the diaries of her later life are increasingly sophisticated, celebrity-filled and influenced by her study of Freudian psychology, if one were to read only one Nin diary, this one would be a good choice.

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