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

  • Atsuko Miyake


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.


Female Character Magical Power Native Religion Mercury Sulfide Stage Personality 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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  • Atsuko Miyake

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