Vol. 2: 1920-1923, The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin

Written by: Anaïs Nin, Joaquin Nin-Culmell

Vol. 2: 1920-1923, The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin Book Cover
A continuation of the journey of self-education and self-discovery begun by Anaïs Nin in the previous volume of her early diary. Central here is the growing conflict between her role as woman and her determination to be a writer. Editor's Note by Rupert Pole; Preface by Joaquin Nin-Culmell; Index; photographs.
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Vol 2 19201923 The Early Diary of Anas Nin Reviews

Kay
If you ever can bear to revisit the pains of late adolescence, Anaïs Nin's second diary can guide you through it in a delightful way.

This volume is written in English. She switches from her native French because she has so fallen in love with the English language. She remains strongly devoted to reading, consuming volumes by Emerson, Bossuet, Poe, Descartes, Darwin, Rostand, Tennyson, Henri Merger, Sinclair Lewis and Stevenson. (She was not a fain of Lewis'. She found his writing too plain.) It If you ever can bear to revisit the pains of late adolescence, Anaïs Nin's second diary can guide you through it in a delightful way.

This volume is written in English. She switches from her native French because she has so fallen in love with the English language. She remains strongly devoted to reading, consuming volumes by Emerson, Bossuet, Poe, Descartes, Darwin, Rostand, Tennyson, Henri Merger, Sinclair Lewis and Stevenson. (She was not a fain of Lewis'. She found his writing too plain.) It is during this time that she begins classes at Columbia University, where she endearingly said she studied four subjects: "Composition, Grammar, French and Boys."

It is this last subject that is one of the main themes of this book, that, and coming to terms with her own beauty. She goes from often criticizing her own appearance to eventually serving as an artists' model. She once even appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. There are moments when she expresses surprise at discovering people think she is pretty. It is through this eventual comfort with her own looks that she also matures in her feelings about the opposite sex.

In this volume, there are two boys between whom she splits her devotion. First, she forms a great intellectual bond with her cousin, Eduardo. Eventually she confesses to her mother that she thinks she might be attracted to him. Her mother dismisses this as the silliness of youth, and promises she will get over it. And A.N. does eventually get over her devotion to her cousin, but always views him as someone with whom she has a deep bond.

Eventually, her admiration turns to Hugo (officially named Hugh, but goes by Hugo to avoid confusion because his father holds the same name), a young man who she finds to be steady and intellectual but she often struggles to know how he really feels about her. Eventually, of course, she marries Hugo, and that marks the end of this volume, but it is the journey of young love, making choices about these feelings that suddenly arise, that really make this book.

Again, A.N. speaks often of her passion for writing. She goes through the phases many young writers do; she notes that everything has already been written. She wonders how she could possibly contribute to a literary world which is already filled with great writing.

She also makes resolutions often in the book: she promises to be virtuous in housework; she promises to write daily in her journal; eventually, as she becomes betrothed to Hugo, she promises to put his wishes above her own. It's almost heartbreaking, these youthful designs that will all eventually be broken. But that feeling of youth, of resolving to, from that day forward, commit strongly to one thing or another, is one that is all too common in youth.

In this book, we see A.N. gradually move from a child to a young woman. It is a journey that is filled with joy and heartbreak, and one that might seem all too familiar.
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