Anaïs Nin’s A Spy in the House of Love and Irigarayan Feminine Divine

Shiva Hemmati


This paper examines female desire in Nin’s A Spy in the House of Love (1954) through Irigarayan concepts feminine divine, feminine jouissance, and sensible transcendental. Anaïs Nin’s erotic writing in her novels and diaries has been studied by many feminist scholars who examine the concepts of feminine sexual erotic body, the lesbian relationship, and the psychological issues; however, there is no reference to feminine divine in their studies of Nin’s novel which is going to be discussed in this study through Irigarayan theories. The study of Nin’s The Spy in the House of Love is an attempt to trace the signs of feminine desire through Irigarayan ‘feminine divine’ and ‘sensible transcendental’; however, it is shown that Nin’s female character, Sabina, is not successful in discovering her autonomous identity through her passionate desire, and she is not able to create a balance between her body and mind, the ideal world of art, music, and dreams and the real world in a relationship with men. Nin’s heroine cannot achieve her identity and the full measure of Irigarayan non-dual love because she relies merely on sexual passion and desire. Unlike Irigarayan feminine divine and sensible transcendental, Nin’s view of desire is vertical transcendence, erotic and ecstasy.



Feminine Divine; Feminine Jouissance; Female Desire; Sensible Transcendental; Autonomous Identity; Unity of Body and Mind; Ecstasy

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