“To be lost in a woman’s sexuality is to be truly lost,” wrote Anaïs Nin, the ’40s feminist, sex diarist, and long-limbed lover of Henry Miller, Edmund Wilson, and Gore Vidal. In 250,000 pages of handwritten diaries, Nin penned what she called an “emotional algebra,” full of starry, hormonal love affairs (“Beware just a little of your hypersexuality!” she wrote). It’s possible that only a fraction of the details in the journals are true, but as novelist Erica Jong puts it, no writer has told the “story of female sexuality more honestly.” In time for Women’s History Month, the Foundation for Iberian Music hosts a concert and panel discussion to celebrate one of the most heartfelt (and profuse) works of 20th-century erotica. Scholar Suzanne Nalbantian (Memory in Literature), musicologist Antoni Piza (El Doble Silenci), and pianist Adam Kent talk about Nin, as well as her remarkable family—a long line of composers, activists, theorists, poets, and painters.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 8, 2005