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.