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Ladders To Fire: New Expanded Edition
by Anaïs Nin
Ohio University Press, 1959
Paper: 978-0-8040-0181-6
Library of Congress Classification PS3527.I865L33 1995
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.52

Anaïs Nin’s Ladders to Fire interweaves the stories of several women, each emotionally inhibited in her own way: through self-doubt, fear, guilt, moral drift, and distrust. The novel follows their inner struggles to overcome these barriers to happiness and wholeness. The author’s own experiences, as recorded in her famous diaries, supplied the raw material for her fiction. It was her intuitive, experimental, and always original style that transformed one into the other. Nin herself memorably claimed that “it was the fiction writer who edited the diary.”

Ladders to Fire explores the erotic attachments of four young women. Nin described it as a "woman's struggle to understand her own nature." It began a five-volume "continuous novel," Cities of the Interior, which includes Children of the Albatross (1947), The Four-Chambered Heart (1950), A Spy in the House of Love (1954), and Solar Barque (1959).Set in the pre-war, expatriate Paris of Henry Miller, this novel — which shocked Nin’s contemporaries — draws its inspiration from her confessional diaries. Although Nin found in her diaries a profound mode of self-creation and confession, she could not reveal this intimate record of her own experiences during her lifetime. Instead, she turned to fiction, where her stories and novels became artistic “distillations” of her secret diaries. This 1995 reissue of of the 1946 novel Ladders to Fire has a new cover and foreword.

This Swallow Press reissue of Ladders to Fire includes a new introduction by Nin scholar Benjamin Franklin V, as well as Gunther Stuhlmann’s classic foreword to the 1995 edition.

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