Transcendental Love

I’ve been a fan of Anais Nin for as long as I can remember for obvious reasons.

But among the literary pieces involving her, this one is I believe the epitome of passion in all its intensity. It’s the 1932 love letter of Henry Miller to her after beginning a torrid love affair despite being married to other people. Below is an excerpt which I found at one of my fast-becoming-favorite site

August 14, 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—these intermissions are death. How did it seem to you when Hugo came back? Was I still there? I can’t picture you moving about with him as you did with me. Legs closed. Frailty. Sweet, treacherous acquiescence. Bird docility. 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.

Here I am back and still smouldering with passion, like wine smoking. Not a passion any longer for flesh, but a complete hunger for you, a devouring hunger. I read the paper about suicides and murders and I understand it all thoroughly. I feel murderous, suicidal. I feel somehow that it is a disgrace to do nothing, to just bide one’s time, to take it philosophically, to be sensible. Where has gone the time when men fought, killed, died for a glove, a glance, etc? (A victrola is playing that terrible aria from Madama Butterfly—”Some day he’ll come!”)

I still hear you singing in the kitchen—a sort of inharmonic, monotonous Cuban wail. I know you’re happy in the kitchen and the meal you’re cooking is the best meal we ever ate together. I know you would scald yourself and not complain. I feel the greatest peace and joy sitting in the dining room listening to you rustling about, your dress like the goddess Indra studded with a thousand eyes.

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? I study you so much to discover the possible flaws, the weak points, the danger zones. I don’t find them—not any. That means I am in love, blind, blind. To be blind forever! (Now they’re singing “Heaven and Ocean” from La Gioconda.)


Maybe describing their love affair as intense don’t do them enough justice. Transcendental could be more accurate and perhaps love ought to be experienced that way. Well, at least for me it should be.

One thought on “Transcendental Love

  1. I’m sure I could write on and on but ill try to focus on three favorites

    “…You are a thousand years old”
    Time and age are conceptual comforts. When you relate or feel someone so thoroughly, it seems ageless or not of this world. I feel connections I’ve considered in this vein, but this day and age doesn’t seem to support people bearing everything the way he has.

    “I can’t see how I can go on living away from you—these intermissions are death”

    I compare this to the belief that knowledge is a burden or that ignorance is bliss. Had he not found this ‘knowledge’ of his fluid connection with her he could manage floating through life and its disappointing shortcomings. There is something to be said for that same fluid connection that transcends time and space, where he asks if she still has him there when Hugo returns. It’s beyond “she would enjoy this happening” and into almost a phantom resonance of his passion.

    And the paragraph beginning with “Here I am back…”

    Phew. I’ve never felt limited in my passion that seems to be an unlimited fount with regress…but here is described the most feral core desires of a man unwavered by commonplace comforts of a society that would rather do what is sensible. (Or philosophical) that core passion that seems to be some kind of raw untapped ‘potential’. The potential being such a call to action that a life being taken one way or another is a solution. While the sick or empty kill out of the same potential, I believe it to be in an effort to still find that passion, not because they are being tortured by the knowledge that it exists. The intermissions aren’t just sweet release, a silent death. They are hell incarnate. Suffering the same fate for what in his head is eternity.

    Of course at 11:30pm this may be the ramblings of someone proclaiming to be “passionate about passion” who has no sense dabbling in it at all.


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