Reviews - What do customers think about Seduction: A Portrait of Anais Nin?
Nin Deconstructed - Nin Herself Would Have Hated This Book Oct 23, 2007
I'm usually grateful for any new book that gets published on Anais Nin, so if you're a lover of Anais Nin's poetic world like me, you'll want to buy this book. However, I need to give you a bit of caution.
Though the book contains an excellent summary of Nin's entire lifespan, which is perhaps its real value substantively, about 80 pages worth, particularly if you're new to the work and life of Anais Nin (-- it'll save you big time on reading Deidre Bair's bitter biography of Ms. Nin, for sure--), there are 14 pages of sophomoric examination of Nin's Diary from the perspective of Thomas Mallon and his book "A Book of One's Own," a book that has the reputation of asserting no favorable opinion of Nin at all. (This should tip the reader right off that the perspective on Nin and her work that Ms. Duxler is going to offer is not going to be decidedly positive.)
Next, there are more than 40 pages of tedious regurgitation of D.W. Winnicott's theories on object relations, pages which effectively turn Nin into a massive lump of clinical symptoms, a reduction that Ms. Duxler weirdly claims is the opposite of her actual aim in wrtiting the book.
Readers who know Nin will understand, for instance, how angry Nin got when Nancy Scholar Zee attempted to examine Ms. Nin's writings with so-called scholarly techniques and objective tools only to point up Nin's "contradictions" and "lies." Ms. Duxler's psychoanalytical "procedures" are similar in that they are equally duplicitous. Ms. Duxler wields a scalpel with her clinical words on Nin's psyche and writings, an approach that Nin herself would have been appalled and angered by if she were alive today.
Finally, Ms. Duxler concludes (assuming one can follow the twisted logic of her arcane psychoanalytic jargon) that Nin was very sick in many ways and that her Diary did nothing to transform her experience or to help her. (Deirdre Bair already said as much in her condescending biography of Nin! Why do we need another backstabber?)
Ms. Duxler insincerely claims to have been a grateful girlfriend of Nin's! ("Where's the evidence, Girlfriend?") Forget the artistry of Nin's short fiction or the entrancing beauty of her novels and her poetic prose. Ms. Duxler here is too busy burying Nin's psyche and memory to realize Nin actually created beautiful works that will live for future generations to read, unlike this rather ugly book written by a so-called professional who deftly shows she has a very cold, distancing (and soul-destroying) touch.
Ms. Duxler wrote her book not to praise to Nin. This much caution should prove enough.
Outstanding Insights Aug 23, 2007
This book offers outstanding insights that may never have been revealed before, through her personal experiences with the subject, which also come to light thru her personal search for truth.
Superb portrait of a fascinating writer Jul 28, 2004
Doing what no other Nin biographer has done, Duxler examines Nin with compassion and uses her own personal and psychological knowledge to pull the reader deeper and deeper into her story. We are taken with Duxler on her journey to understand Nin and when we are finished, we are closer to understanding both equally courageous women. There is also a well-researched short biography of Nin, followed by a fascinating analysis on Nin's inner world.
I loved this book! Oct 8, 2002
years after her death, Anais Nin still fascinates both those who knew her and those who may never have met her, but have read her books & stories. I greatly enjoyed learning more about the woman behind the stories & books I have read. Anais Nin intrigues me, and Margot Duxler brilliantly details Nin's life and psychological make-up in this psycho-biography. I highly recommend Seduction: A Portrait of Anais Nin to anyone curious about Anais Nin the person.
A Sensitive, Insightful Analysis Sep 4, 2002
I was very pleased to discover that this psychological analysis of Anais Nin's life and work is one that is thorough, sensitive, and amazingly insightful. I have frankly tired of vicious attacks on Nin. Do we disregard the work of Van Gogh because he suffered from mental illness? Do we judge Picasso and belittle his accomplishments because, as we now know, he wasn't the nicest guy to walk the planet? Then why do so many condemn Anais Nin? It was her wish that her unedited diaries, which revealed among other things her affairs and her abortion, be published. I, like many Nin fans, was stunned to discover these facts and had to adjust my thinking, but my interest was in understanding what would drive a bright, talented woman to do the things Nin did. I was disturbed by the blatant character assassination that followed the publication of HENRY AND JUNE and INCEST, usually at the hands of female critics. For these reasons I approached Ms. Duxler's book cautiously, and was very pleasantly surprised.
Unlike Deidre Bair's biography which seemed to distill Nin's life down to an ugly set of facts, SEDUCTION is mainly an analysis, one by an obviously competant psychologist, rather than a catalogue. Also unlike Bair, Duxler actually knew Nin and could call her a friend. Like many of us, Duxler was disillusioned when she discovered that her dear friend and mentor had seemingly deceived her by misrepresenting the facts of her life and feelings. But unlike the character assassins, Duxler was inspired to use her formidable skills to analyze Nin's motivations, particularly through an examination of her childhood diary (LINOTTE). The results are impressive; Duxler wades through the complex facts of a life, the subtle clues, the unsubtle behaviors, and helps the reader come to a more thorough understanding.