[Typescript Letter to William Levy with Original Watercolor Painting to Verso]
NAKED CITY [Ex-Libris Ralph Ingersoll, Founder of PM Newspaper]
FUCK YOU: A Magazine of the Arts - Number 5, Vol. 4
ARCHIGRAM NINE [9]
FAC51 - THE HACIENDA [Membership Card to The Hacienda Nightclub]
KULCHUR - Vol. 2 No. 5 - Spring 1962
SWEETHEARTS
EAU DE COLOGNE [First Two Issues]

AULETRIS

[NIN, Anais]. "ANIN"

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Price: $8,500.00


Carmel [CA]: (The Press of the Sunken Eye), 1950. First Edition. 4to. Carbon typescript bound in full blue cloth with titles gilt to spine. Marbled endpapers. Mild bumping, rubbing. Small tear to cloth at base of spine. Top board a bit bowed. Two contemporary newspaper clippings pasted to prelim. with attendant offsetting to title page. Ownership signature ("Dave Wauters") to same. Solidly very good or better overall. One of five copies "reproduced on latrine rag," this #2. Holograph signed postcard from Nin loosely laid in to poet and painter Alvaro Cardona-Hine, whose copy this was. [iii]. [1]-43, [i], 1-51. (Item ID: 19795)

The origins, both bibliographically and biographically, of Anais Nin's AULETRIS are murky to say the least. The book's rarity, issued in a typescript edition of just 5 copies by a mysterious press, has undoubtedly contributed to this. But so too have the competing motivations of the principals, the secrecy surrounding the production of erotica during a period when obscenity trials were still common, and Nin and (apparent co-conspirator) Henry Miller's own obfuscations.What is known with some certainty is the following. First, that "Press of the Sunken Eye" was the operation of California bookseller Milton Luboviski and that Luboviski printed just two books under that imprint: the present volume and OPUS PISTORUM, attributed to Henry Miller, both in 1950. Miller and Nin famously began penning pornography for Oklahoma collector Roy Mellisandre Johnson in 1940, and while Miller soon grew tired of the project (which paid $1/page), Nin continued both to write for Johnson and to enlist the help of other artists (Robert Duncan, among others - and often under Miller's name) in meeting Johnson's apparently insatiable demand for titillation. Miller's equally insatiable need for money, however, led in 1941 to what is vaguely termed in the Nin/Miller correspondence, "a scheme." As detailed in Miller bibliographer Roger Jackson's excellent account, "OPUS PISTORUM and Henry Miller," "...Miller was intent on finding a book dealer to buy some of the many pornographic stories that were passing through Nin's hands." It appears that book dealer was Luboviski (or possibly George Howard, who may have later sold them to Luboviski).Miller eventually disowned OPUS PISTORUM and critical concensus seems to agree that Miller simply used his name to make more the typescripts he sold (to Edmunds? To Howard? To Luboviski?) more marketable. But while the exact circustances of many, if not most, of these two books' productions remain obscure, unlike OPUS PISTORUM, AURELIS is accepted to be the work of Nin herself. Nin never distanced herself from the book, and the second story in the book, "Marcel," is a longer version of a story that appeared in edited form in DELTA OF VENUS. Further, as the recent editon of AULETRIS (Blue Sky Press, 2016 ó the first since the edition here offered) makes clear, the attribution is accepted by both the Nin estate and her bibliographer Benjamin Franklin. How and why Nin's typescript took nearly ten years to reach even this very limited and privately-circulated edition, however, is not known.But what is clear is that AULETRIS occupies a significant place in Nin's oeurvre and in the history of erotica, especially that written by a woman. As Paul Herron, publisher of the new edition, has noted, the book "breaks many taboos ó there are tales of incest, sex with children, rape, voyeurism, cutting, sadomasochism, homoeroticism (both male and female), autoerotic asphyxiation, to name a few, all set in old Provincetown, Paris, and other exotic locales; the characters are deliciously decadent, and the themes are largely based on Ninís own experiences recorded in her unexpurgated diaries." More than pushing boundaries, however, AULETRIS begins the project Nin eventually saw to completion with the publication of DELTA OF VENUS in 1977. As she noted near the end of her life in the "Postscript" to that volume: "I was using a woman's language, seeing sexual experience from a woman's point of view [...] it shows the beginning efforts of a woman in a world that had been the domain of men."As one would imagine from the limitation, rare in the truest sense of the word. OCLC locates two copies (#1 in the Nin papers at UCLA, and #4 at USC). OCLC suggests a third copy might reside among the George Howard papers at UCLA, but in this catalgouer's correspondence with them, it appears they hold only typescripts to these stories, not the Sunken Eye edition. #3 was auctioned in 1985 and is presumably in private hands. #5 to our knowledge has not been seen. And though the rarest of Nin's publications, AULETRIS also arguably marks the beginning of 20th century women's erotica, one whose influence continues to be felt, from FIFTY SHADES OF GREY to the Suicide Girls and other third-wave-feminist inspired pornography.


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