Film

Sexy Love Letters

Melismatiqks

Sexy Love Letters: Henry Miller and Anais Nin (1932)

“Be careful Anais, abnormal pleasures kill the taste for normal ones.” — From the film Henry & June

Young Photo of Writer Anais Nin

Anais Nin authored several controversial books exploring her sexuality. She had a long love affair with American writer Henry Miller as well as a sexual relationship with Miller’s wife June.

Anais on March 2, 1932

The woman will sit eternally in the tall black armchair. I will be the one woman you will never have … excessive living weighs down the imagination: we will not live, we will only write and talk to swell the sails.

Henry on March 4, 1932

Three minutes after you have gone. No, I can’t restrain it. I tell you what you already know – I love you. It is this I destroyed over and over again. At Dijon I wrote you long passionate letters – if you had remained in Switzerland I would have sent them – but how could I send them to Louveciennes?

Anais, I can’t say much now – I am in a fever. I could scarcely talk to you because I was continually on he point of getting up and throwing my arms around you.

Henry on March 10, 1932 (now lovers)

You make me tremendously happy to hold me undivided – to let me be the artist, as it were, and yet not forgo the man, the animal, the hungry, insatiable lover. No woman has ever granted me all the privileges I need – and you, why you sing out so blithely, so boldly, with a laugh even – yes, you invite me to go ahead, be myself, benture anything. I adore you for that. That is where you are truly regal, a woman extraordinary. What a woman you are! I laugh to myself now when I think of you. I have no fear of your femaleness.

Henry Miller wrote sexually explicit autobigoraphical novels. He was the lover of Anais Nin.

1950s photo of American novelist Henry Miller (1891 – 1980), lover of Anais Nin and author of candid, explicit, semi-autobigraphical works exploring and recounting sexual exploits in Paris and New York, rants, surrealism and social commentary. “Tropic of Cancer” (1934) and “Tropic of Capricorn” (1939) . Both works were banned as “obscene” and decades later republished in 1961 following obscenity trials which concluded the works were, in fact, literature.

Henry on March 21, 1932

Anais, I don’t know how to tell you what I feel. I live in perpetual expectancy. You come and the time slips away in a dream. It is only when you go that I realize completely your presence. And then it is too late. You numb me. […] This is a little drunken, Anais. I am saying to myself “here is the first woman with whom I can be absolutely sincere.” I remember your saying -“you could fool me. I wouldn’t know it.” When I walk along the boulevards and think of that. I can’t fool you – and yet I would like to. I mean that I can never be absolutely loyal – it’s not in me. I love women, or life, too much – which it is, I don’t know. But laugh, Anais, I love to hear you laugh. You are the only woman who has a sense of gaiety, a wise tolerance – no more, you seem to urge me to betray you. I love you for that. […]

I don’t know what to expect of you, but it is something in the way of a miracle. I am going to demand everything of you – even the impossible, because you encourage it. You are really strong. I even like your deceit, your treachery. It seems aristocratic to me.

The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife - Hokusai (1814)

“Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife,” 1814 woodcut by Hokusai. Considered an early predecessor of “tentacle sex” and part of a sequence in “Henry & June” where Anais discovers a box of erotic postcards.

Anais on March 26, 1932

This is strange, Henry. Before, as soon as I came home from all sorts of places I would sit down and write in my journal. Now I want to write you, talk with you. […]

I love when you say all that happens is good, it is good. I say all that happens is wonderful. For me it is all symphonic., and I am so aroused by living – god, Henry, in you alone I have found the same swelling of enthusiasm, the same quick rising of the blood, the fullness, the the fullness …

Before, i almost used to think there was something wrong. Everybody else seemed to have the brakes on. […] I never feel the brakes. I overflow. And when I feel your excitement about life flaring, next to mine, then it makes me dizzy.

Film Still From Henry & June

Maria de Medeiros (left) and Urma Thurman as Anais Nin and June Miller in director Philip Kaufman’s controversial 1990 “Henry & June.

SCENE FROM HENRY & JUNE

Henry Miller: All right, I’ll tell you. June appeared like an Angel, and I offered her a fool’s faith. She was a taxi dancer. I paid my dime, she put her head on my shoulder, but then the lies began. She told me her mother was a gypsy and her father was a count. Later, I saw a film and realized she swiped her whole childhood right out of the film.
Anais Nin: And so?
Henry Miller: So I married her.

Henry and June film poster

It was the first film to receive an NC-17 rating, notably for the inclusion of “le Bal des Beaux Arts” scenes and the erotic postcard in the film’s opening. Based on Nin’s journals and set in Paris of the 1930s, the film’s tagline promised: “A film adventure more erotic than any fantasy.”

Henry on August 6, 1932

Don’t expect me to be sane anymore. Don’t let’s be sensible. It was a marriage at Louveciennes – you can’t dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of blood, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous. Everything I do and say and think relates back to the marriage. I saw you as the mistress of your home, a Moor with a heavy face, a negress with a white body, eyes all over your skin, woman, woman, woman. I can’t see how I can go on living away from you […] You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old – you are a thousand years old. […]

Anais, I only thought I loved you before; it was nothing like this certainty that’s in me now. Was all this so wonderful only because it was brief and stolen? Were we acting for each other, to each other? Was I less I, or more I, and you less or more you? Is it madness to believe that this could go on? When and where would the drab moments begin?”