Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Creative Woman in America Today, University of Chicago

November 5, 1972 (A Woman Speaks lists this as being published in the Hyde Parker)

After a long welcoming applause, Nin begins by explaining that she is not using her "authentic" voice, that she has had laryngitis and "did not want to fail" the audience by canceling. Nin lectures of how fame helps one connect with a wider world, her awareness of others isolation and the necessity of support and sustenance. She converses about Carl Jung's "second birth" and of her struggles, "What I learned as a woman in the progression of the diary was that trap, in which I was caught, which was living in a traditional marriage in the suburb of Paris—which is just like a suburb of Chicago…this struggle to find yourself and your path is more difficult for women and sometimes more tragic." There are comments on "human handicaps" and how for women, "The arts have given us a source of strength and solace." Nin speaks about her inner journey leading her to others. How her involvement in causes did not consume all of her, that she reserved time and energy for her inner work. Nin then takes audience questions. Nin's reputation for being the darling of the lecture circuit in the early 70s is easily understandable when listening to her interact with the students. Her responses are respectful, thoughtful, and even humorous. "Most people gave the impression that when you start introspection, you're going to stay there and never come out again. I wanted to prove that introspection lead somewhere, it lead outward." She answers a question about the parallels between the women's liberation and black people in America. Her response is refreshingly open for 1972, especially for a woman at age 69. She relates her own experience as a foreigner. She then fields a question about women's eroticism in literature and her own past of writing erotica. The questioner says that she would like Nin to publish the erotic writings. Nin responds "Well, I'm thinking about that. I wrote about a thousand pages at the time. I'm still working on editing the diaries and I haven't been able to think about much else." These writings were later published to become Delta of Venus, Little Birds, and White Stains. The talk then moves to relationships and the male/female dynamic, "The romantic thinks we can find the perfect relationship at first sight, but I found that a permanent relationship requited as much care and creation as others. I think somehow man, because of the cultural demands put on him and the stress put on him, has looked at the development of woman more as a threat and as a rivalry than as an enrichment to his own life." She talks about exclusion and the concept of too much introspection, "we don't need to be impersonal to create." She ends with discussing the illusion of connection due to media, her feelings on America, and how her writing has allowed her a center of strength.

This "summary" of the Anais Nin Audio Files was written by Steven Reigns.
Steven Reigns ( ) is a poet, artist, and educator living in Los Angeles. A collector of Nin memorabilia and a latent Nin scholar, he has been interested in Nin since 1991.


AnaisNin-The Creative Woman In America Today.mp3

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