Anaïs Nin’s Words of Power and the Japanese Sibyl Tradition

  • Atsuko Miyake

Abstract

Anaïs Nin, in Volume I of the Diary, referred to her own writing as a ‘sibylline tongue’ when she analysed Henry Miller’s criticism of her early work: ‘Henry fights my parables, my sibylline tongue, my hieroglyphs, my telegraphic and stenographic style.’1 This implies that Miller, as a male reader, had difficulty understanding Nins feminine expression and her sibylline characteristics. Those of her works which have a magical power, such as House of Incest, Stella, Winter of Artifice and especially the short story ‘Birth’ can be viewed within the Japanese sibyl tradition. Such scrutiny can help highlight the mysterious power of Nin’s works.

Keywords

Clay Sulfide Mercury Rubber Assure 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anai’s Nin: Vol. I, 1931–1934, ed. G. Stuhlmann ( New York: Harcourt Brace, 1966 ), p. 319.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Carmen Blacker, The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1975), p. 104. The subsequent quotations in this paragraph and the next are on pp. 104 and 28.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    James Leo Herlihy, ‘The Art of Being a Person’, ANAÏS: An International Journal 1 (1983): 68.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anai’s Nin: Vol. V, 1947–1955, ed. G. Stuhlmann ( New York: Harcourt Brace, 1974 ), pp. 258–9.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nin, House of Incest (Chicago: Swallow, 1958), p. 15. The next quotation is from p. 17.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Nin, ‘Houseboat’, Under a Glass Bell ( Chicago: Swallow, 1948 ), p. 20.Google Scholar
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    Mireille Laget, Naissances: L’accouchement avant l’âge de la clinique (Paris: Seuil, 1982). I translated the citation from p. 235 of the Japanese version, Shussan no Shakaishi ( Tokyo: Keiso Shobo, 1989 ).Google Scholar
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    Anaïs Nin, ‘Stella’ in Winter of Artifice ( Chicago: Swallow, 1946 ), p. 24.Google Scholar
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    Anaïs Nin, Incest: From ‘A Journal of Love’: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1932–1934 (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1992), p. 384. The same entry appears in Diary: Volume I, but the passage has been edited and rewritten. The description in Incest is both rougher and more natural.Google Scholar
  17. 27.
    Jeffrey Bailey, ‘Link in the Chain of Feeling: An Interview with Anaïs Nin (1976)’, Conversations with Anaïs Nin (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994), p. 241. The next quotations are on the same page.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atsuko Miyake

There are no affiliations available

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