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With an introduction by Allison Pease, this new edition of House of Incest is a lyrical journey into the subconscious mind of one of the most celebrated feminist writers of the twentieth-century.
Originally published in 1936, House of Incest is Anaïs Nin’s first work of fiction. Based on Nin’s dreams, the novel is a surrealistic look within the narrator’s subconscious as she attempts to distance herself from a series of all-consuming and often taboo desires she cannot bear to let go. The incest Nin depicts is a metaphor—a selfish love wherein a woman can appreciate only qualities in a lover that are similar to her own. Through a descriptive exploration of romances and attractions between women, between a sister and her beloved brother, and with a Christ-like man, Nin’s narrator discovers what she thinks is truth: that a woman’s most perfect love is of herself. At first, this self-love seems ideal because it is attainable without fear and risk of heartbreak. But in time, the narrator’s chosen isolation and self-possessed anguish give way to a visceral nightmare from which she is unable to wake.
Anaïs Nin (1903–1977) is an iconic literary figure and one of the most notable experimental writers of the twentieth century. As one of the first women to explore female erotica, Nin revealed the inner desires of her characters in a way that made her works a touchstone for later feminist writers. Swallow Press is the premier US publisher of books by and about Nin.