Cities of the Interior
For three years I have been pouring through Anais Nin's  published
diaries.  I am fascinated  by Nin's ability to communicate the intricacies
and depths of the female psyche.  At times I have lingered upon a single
sentence, pausing almost in disbelief, at the way her words resonate within
my own being.  As Anais describes her personal  journey through life as an
artist,  friend,  lover,  daughter and analysand, she invites her reader to
explore intimate aspects of character and psyche: Her writing is fearless,
bold and seductive.  Through reading her memoir, I learned to understand the
well-spring of Nin's probing mind, and the mystery towards which she
dedicates her words.  Inspired  primarily by her relationships with
psychoanalyst Otto Rank and writer Henry Miller,  Nin succeeds in the task
of translating the depth of her personal experience into an artistic form:
fiction.   The result is magnificently dimensional.
     In Cities of the Interior,  Anais Nin traces the individual journeys of
three unique women. Through the weaving of five separate novellas, Nin
constructs an intricate architecture for her narrative which, like the
characters themselves, can be viewed both separately and in relation to one
another.  Cities of the Interior works to explore the female psyche as
characters participate in their worlds, and are transformed through the
course of time. As readers travel through the novellas, they become deeply
involved with characters Lillian, Sabina and Djuna. As one novella is closed
to open the next, readers crawl further into the mystery of Nin's work.
Because each novella is told from the viewpoint of one woman in turn,
characters are discovered (literally dis-covered) eventually, and learned
through the mixing of subjective with objective perspectives. A
dimensionality emerges from the pages of the book and the genius of Nin's
work is realized:  In time, each character reveals the duality of her
nature.
Meanwhile, as she constructs the tense duality within her characters, Nin
is able to (somehow magically) create a synthesis.  By illuminating the
significance of the relationships between the women characters, the author
portrays  wholeness in their unity.   Through Cities of the Interior, Anais
Nin  seems to be working through a realization she once voiced to her
psychotherapist Otto Rank, "There have always been in me, two women at
least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and
another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her emotions
because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair and present to the world
only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest."  Nin's art,
then,  becomes her vehicle towards wholeness.

I return now to the original question posed by this writing sample: What is
it in the work that is powerful or meaningful to me? My answer is simple,
Understanding.  In Cities of the Interior Anais Nin does not pose an answer
for the feminine struggle, nor does she provide a single heroine for us to
emulate with our hopes of psychological health.  Instead, she offers a
dimensional landscape and asks us to see.

Thanks to - Jane Dobson www.nevarecordings.com (check out Team)  

Paperback/1975
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