My first vision of earth was water veiled.
I am of the race of men and women who
see all things through this curtain of
sea, and my eyes are the color of water.

Anaïs Nin (1903 – 1977)
“House of Incest”

 

“House of Incest”, originally published in 1936, is Anaïs Nin’s first work of fiction. Nin’s usage of the word incest in this case is metaphorical, not literal. In other words, in this book the word “incest” describes a selfish love where one can appreciate in another only that which is similar to oneself. One is then only loving oneself, shunning all differences. At first, such a self-love can seem ideal because it is without fear and without risk. But eventually it becomes a sterile nightmare. Toward the end of the book, the character called “the modern Christ” puts Nin’s use of the word into context: “If only we could all escape from this house of incest, where we only love ourselves in the other.”

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