Anaïs Nin

February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977


Place of birth: Paris, France
Best thing about her:  She is one of the finest writers of female erotica.
Most important book: Delta of Venus, 1977
Interesting facts:

  • Anais Nin was in therapy with Otto Rank who then became her lover
  • Nin was a friend, and in some cases lover, of many leading literary figures, including Henry Miller, John Steinbeck, Antonin Artaud, Edmund Wilson, Gore Vidal, James Agee, James Leo Herlihy, and Lawrence Durrell
  • Her book Henry and June concentrates on her passionate involvement with the writer Henry Miller and his wife June Miller


1. “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

2. “I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.”

3. “If what Proust says is true, that happiness is the absence of fever, then I will never know happiness. For I am possessed by a fever for knowledge, experience, and creation.”

4. “We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.”

5. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

6. “There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”

7. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

8. “Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.”

9. “What I cannot love, I overlook. Is that real friendship?”

10. “Dreams are necessary to life.”

11. “How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?”

12. “I am only responsible for my own heart, you offered yours up for the smashing my darling. Only a fool would give out such a vital organ.”

13. “I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.”

14. “The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”

15. “People living deeply have no fear of death.”

16. “You don’t find love, it finds you. It’s got a little bit to do with destiny, fate, and what’s written in the stars.”

17. “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”

18. “The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.”

19. “I will always be the virgin-prostitute, the perverse angel, the two-faced sinister and saintly woman.”

20. “I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.”