Fragmented Selves in Anaïs Nin’s A Spy in the House of Love and Irigarayan Non-Duality Within Duality

Shiva Hemmati


This study discusses feminine identity in Anaïs Nin’s A Spy in the House of Love (1954) through Irigarayan non-duality within duality of self/other and sensible/transcendental to show that there is no threshold and interval between the dualities of sensible and transcendental in the novel. Failure of main character’s feminine identity and her fragmented selves are resulted from her mere sensual relation with men. Unlike Irigarayan view of horizontal transcendental, Nin’s view of desire is vertical transcendence, erotic and ecstasy, which is basically sexual. Nin attempts to break away from patriarchal discourse in exploring the female sexual body as a creative power for awakening women’s feminine desire in accordance with Irigarayan ‘feminine divine’ and ‘female jouissance’. However, Nin’s heroine, Sabina, is not successful in discovering her autonomous self through her passionate desire, and she is not able to create a unity between her body and mind, the ideal world of art, music, and dreams and the real world, and a successful relationship with men. Sabina cannot achieve the full measure of Irigarayan non-dual love because she relies merely on sexual passion and desire.



Non-Duality within Duality of Self/Other; Sensible Transcendental; Feminine Identity; Fragmented Selves; Feminine Identity; Non-dual Love; Female Desire; Ecstasy

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