Who do we think of when reading Anna ?

like XXX

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The Dark Sisters by Helen Ferguson (Anna Kavan)

blogPost, 15/01/2008

I was so very, very lucky to be able to get this book. I had to Interlibrary Loan it from Dublin. The book is a bit rare because it was only printed once. The book is in great condition though, puts modern printing to shame! I was really interested to see what Kavan, since that is the name she changed to later I’ll use it here, wrote next after reading The Charmed Circle.

Guilty by Anna Kavan

webpage, 20/04/2007

Rhys Davies, one of Anna Kavan’s few close friends, wrote an introduction for Julia and the Bazooka (1970), a posthumous collection of her stories linked by their common allusion to her heroin habit.

Kafka's sister

magazineArticle, 31/07/2010

Fuelled by heroin and self-exploration, Anna Kavan's underground Kafka-esque novels penetrated the human psyche in a manner that distrubed even JG Ballard.

Neige, de Anna Kavan

blogPost, 11/10/2013

Bon, donc, séance de rattrapage, sur qui sur quoi ? Là, en commençant mon article, je ne savais même pas, et puis finalement j’ai décidé de parler de Neige, de Anna Kavan, paru aux éditions Cambourakis il y a peu.

Reality had always been something of an unknown quantity to me

blogPost, 06/08/2007

Anna Kavan was the pen-name of Helen Woods (1901-68), a British writer and artist (her self-portrait can be seen here). By all accounts she was a deeply damaged individual: prone to mental illness and a lifelong heroin addict, she attempted suicide several times in the course of her life.

Anna Kavan

forumPost, 19/03/14

Je viens d' apprendre - et c' est aussi pour cela que j' ai décidé de lui faire une place ici- que le merveilleux éditeur Cambourakis, spécialiste des rééditions qui s' imposent ou encore de livres vraiment originaux, était en train de la rééditer. Qu' il soit ici remercié !

Neige

blogPost, 01/11/2013

Neige, c’est l’histoire de trois personnes, un trio improbable pris au cœur d’une guerre impitoyable qui étend son souffle froid et ses tentacules de glace sur le monde.

Anna Kavan: The Best Kept Secret Of English Modernism

blogPost, 01/02/2014

We have dedicated this section of the website to the passing on of the good word of short story collections that we feel have been either been missed or forgotten about, for one reason or another, but that deserve and need to be read. The first one I’ve selected is Julia and the Bazooka by Anna Kavan. Anna who? Exactly.

Anna Kavan

blogPost, 31/05/2007

I can only apologize for being so distracted by bath plugs the last time I mentioned Anna Kavan.It can't have been helpful so now I plan to dedicate myself to the cause of Anna and ensure you all know about her without any deviation,hesitation or repetition whatsoever

Anna Kavan

webpage,

‘I was about to become the world’s best kept secret; one that would never be told. What a thrilling enigma for posterity I should be.’ Thus does one of Anna Kavan’s characters describe herself in an unpublished short story, and we know that, as in much of Kavan’s writing, she was describing herself. An enigma the author remains, but her talent was none the less remarkable, and her works have been compared to that of Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka and acclaimed by writers from Anaïs Nin to J.B. Ballard.

Winstons dad’s been to library

blogPost, 03/05/2012

Guilty by Anna Kavan – I think after reading Max’s post on Ice by Kavan I fancied trying here books so there was ice and this one on the library shelves so I choose this one a Kafkaesque style as mark struggles with life after his father returns from the war

Kafka's sister

magazineArticle, 31/07/2010

Fuelled by heroin and self-exploration, Anna Kavan's underground Kafka-esque novels penetrated the human psyche in a manner that distrubed even JG Ballard.

Anna Kavan, Doris Lessing and bath plugs

blogPost, 26/05/2007

Anna who? Hmm is it just me again? Anna Kavan nee Helen Woods, then Ferguson, born in Cannes probably in 1901, two divorces, nervous breakdowns, heroin addiction, name changes.

Anna Kavan, Asylum piece, 1940

blogPost, 16/09/2009

A l’origine, la photo d’une femme au visage serein, souriant… Derrière laquelle se cache un monde asilaire, une femme glaciaire, lointaine, un écrivain hors du commun.

Anna Kavan – a unique modernist vision

blogPost, 2013

It’s not quite correct to say that Anna Kavan has been forgotten. Her books are kept in print out of sheer dedication by her publisher, Peter Owen. My colleague at the University of East Anglia, Karen Schaller, teaches her novel Ice on her course Fiction After Modernism. And a recent paean to this same novel appeared in the Guardian.

Winter Is Coming: Ice by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/03/2012

From the outset it is obvious that Ice is a novel about obsession but it rapidly becomes clear that it is overwhelmingly about illness.

Anna Kavan, la ciencia ficcion extrana y alucinada : Hielo

blogPost, 28/10/2008

Conocí Hielo, de Anna Kavan, porque soy aficionada a la ciencia ficción y estaba preparando una Bibliografía de escritoras del género. Alguien me recomendó la novela, como uno de esos ejemplos en que una autora no especializada en CF hace una incursión en esa literatura que -tanto respecto a los autores como al público aficionado- tiene mucho de ghetto.

Outside the asylum of her mind

newspaperArticle, 25/06/2006

Since we often hear complaints about the puerile state of current publishing, it is as well to remind oneself that exceptional work has often had a hard time of it in Britain. Henry James struggled to sell his greatest novels. James Joyce was published in Paris. Ronald Firbank paid for his own publication. D H Lawrence was reviled. But because literature is about extending reality, not repeating it, there is some law of creativity which guarantees that the exceptional is what survives. So perhaps it is no wonder that the esoteric and beautiful writing of Anna Kavan refuses to go away - but it has been a near thing.

The hallucination of one moment did not fit the reality of the next

blogPost, 06/03/2012

I’ve written before of how sometimes work, life generally, can wreck my reading of a book. A busy period, a week passes without a page turned, and suddenly a great book has become a chore. I don’t remember what’s going on or who the characters are or why the plot involves a chihuaha*. The book becomes staccato and dissolves into incoherence.

Anna Kavan : brilliant like ice

blogPost, 29/09/2011

Her descriptions burned so brightly when I first began reading the work of Anna Kavan that I felt a kinship with her almost at once. I have sometimes wandered past her last home in Peel Street, London, in pilgrimage. The novels and memoirs stand on my shelves: I came across Ice first, then Asylum Piece and My Madness, then Let me Alone, Julia and the Bazooka with its 1960s hip bohemianism, and Sleep Has His House.

A Stranger on Earth by Jeremy Reed

newspaperArticle, 07/07/2006

On the cover is an old snap of Anna Kavan tinted to make her look like somebody she never could have been. Before colour photography, it was a profession: tinting photographs, flattering the sitter. If it was the novelist herself who agreed to this enhanced Anna, then the picture is probably a witness to another of her attempts to be just like everybody else, and that is painful.

@AnnaKavan

instantMessage,

Introducing Anna Kavan

magazineArticle, 24/02/2011

There’s an indispensable book called About Writing by Samuel R. Delany. In the first essay he cobbles together an eclectic list of authors that, ideally, the aspiring writer should read. Because Delany has read everything, you can bet his tastes are wide and varied. And it’s thanks to that book that I discovered Anna Kavan.

Winter Is Coming: Ice by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/03/2012

From the outset it is obvious that Ice is a novel about obsession but it rapidly becomes clear that it is overwhelmingly about illness.

A Stranger on Earth by Jeremy Reed

newspaperArticle, 07/07/2006

On the cover is an old snap of Anna Kavan tinted to make her look like somebody she never could have been. Before colour photography, it was a profession: tinting photographs, flattering the sitter. If it was the novelist herself who agreed to this enhanced Anna, then the picture is probably a witness to another of her attempts to be just like everybody else, and that is painful.

Anna Kavan’s Nocturnal Language

blogPost, 19/10/08

work & life

Anna Kavan, Asylum piece, 1940

blogPost, 16/09/2009

A l’origine, la photo d’une femme au visage serein, souriant… Derrière laquelle se cache un monde asilaire, une femme glaciaire, lointaine, un écrivain hors du commun.

Anna Kavan : Ice

blogPost, 31/03/2011

Anna Kavan is one of those writers I’ve been meaning to read for years, assured that hers was exactly the sort of low-tog-rating fiction I claim to seek. At the same time her most famous novel, Ice, seemed like the sort of book which didn’t need to be read at all: one of those where the blurb and chat around it seemed to say all that needed to be said. It’s easy to summarise but hard to write about: at least that’s my excuse.

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

Neige - Anna KAVAN

book, 16/3/2009

Un personnage dont on ne sait pas le nom cherche, dans un, puis un autre pays, jamais précisés, une fille qui le hante et dont une seule particularité est mise en relief : Sa chevelure (...), d'un blanc argenté, celle d'un albinos, étincelante comme le clair de lune... Parfois un troisième personnage se dresse entre le quêteur et l'objet de la quête ; on n'en connaît que la fonction : Gouverneur.

A Stranger on Earth by Jeremy Reed

newspaperArticle, 07/07/2006

On the cover is an old snap of Anna Kavan tinted to make her look like somebody she never could have been. Before colour photography, it was a profession: tinting photographs, flattering the sitter. If it was the novelist herself who agreed to this enhanced Anna, then the picture is probably a witness to another of her attempts to be just like everybody else, and that is painful.

Anna Kavan: The Best Kept Secret Of English Modernism

blogPost, 01/02/2014

We have dedicated this section of the website to the passing on of the good word of short story collections that we feel have been either been missed or forgotten about, for one reason or another, but that deserve and need to be read. The first one I’ve selected is Julia and the Bazooka by Anna Kavan. Anna who? Exactly.

The hallucination of one moment did not fit the reality of the next

blogPost, 06/03/2012

I’ve written before of how sometimes work, life generally, can wreck my reading of a book. A busy period, a week passes without a page turned, and suddenly a great book has become a chore. I don’t remember what’s going on or who the characters are or why the plot involves a chihuaha*. The book becomes staccato and dissolves into incoherence.

La corte gay di Anna Kavan

blogPost, 14/02/2013

Nata a Cannes quasi per casa, ma cresciuta in Inghilterra ed in America, Anna Kavan ebbe un’infanzia solitaria, agiata ma profondamente infelice, contrassegnata da un rapporto difficilissimo con la ricchissima madre e dal suicidio dell’amatissimo padre. I suoi matrimoni, ben due, furono fallimentari, la sua dipendenza della morfina una costante di tutta la sua vita. Umanamente la sua predilezione, quando si trattava di stringere nuove amicizie, era per gli omosessuali.

Anna Kavan Society

webpage,

Founded in 2009, the Anna Kavan Society aims to encourage wider readership and increase academic scholarship of Kavan’s work. These pages provide accurate information about Kavan’s life and writing and news of Kavan-related events and publications. The society hopes to create a forum for information exchange and research collaboration, eventually producing a journal of academic work and hosting a Kavan conference.

BOOK REVIEW: Ice by Anna Kavan. Interior landscapes cast in ice.

blogPost, 02/08/2013

Kafka cavorts with Plath in this post-apocalyptic novel by the late Anna Kavan. A thermonuclear device has been detonated, and the world slowly awaits its fate as the planet freezes. In this new Ice Age, a nameless narrator searches for the girl he loves. But this isn’t just another version of love among the ruins. The imminent destruction of the world has set in motion the erosion of civilization. Random acts of violence and mass hysteria take over the cities, as the icebergs creep closer.

Anna Kavan’s Nocturnal Language

blogPost, 19/10/08

work & life

Review: Ice, Anna Kavan

blogPost, 28/06/2011

When I picked up this book, all I knew about it was that it was apocalyptic. I certainly didn’t realise that the apocalyptic scenario in fact plays out a sinister psychological dreamscape, where the boundaries between interior and exterior, real and imagined, hallucination and daydream, sadistic wish-fulfillment and physical injury, are utterly erased. That was a shock. But whilst Kavan’s Ice turned out to be far more disconcerting than I’d anticipated, it certainly wasn’t disappointing.

2666 and what I learned from Anna Kavan

blogPost, 28/05/2009

Right now I’m reading Ice by Anna Kavan. Scant 150 pages of flat characterization and a fantastic, visceral, amorphous ice world that includes a dragon.

Asylum Piece - Anna Kavan

blogPost, 18/04/2011

Anna Kavan – a character’s name from one of her earlier works, adopted by the author who went on to produce some astonishing work that is all too sadly neglected these days, despite the unflagging championship by her publisher. This was the first of her ‘new’ work, a series of interlinked vignettes that explore her recent experiences of breakdown and confinement in an asylum.

Tell me a story…

blogPost, 11/02/2012

Anna, the Morisons’ installation at the Hepworth Wakefield, evokes presence in a different way. Based on the life and work of cult novelist Anna Kavan, it grasps for archetypes and universals through coded messages.

Anna Kavan : Ice

blogPost, 31/03/2011

Anna Kavan is one of those writers I’ve been meaning to read for years, assured that hers was exactly the sort of low-tog-rating fiction I claim to seek. At the same time her most famous novel, Ice, seemed like the sort of book which didn’t need to be read at all: one of those where the blurb and chat around it seemed to say all that needed to be said. It’s easy to summarise but hard to write about: at least that’s my excuse.

BOOK REVIEW: Ice by Anna Kavan. Interior landscapes cast in ice.

blogPost, 02/08/2013

Kafka cavorts with Plath in this post-apocalyptic novel by the late Anna Kavan. A thermonuclear device has been detonated, and the world slowly awaits its fate as the planet freezes. In this new Ice Age, a nameless narrator searches for the girl he loves. But this isn’t just another version of love among the ruins. The imminent destruction of the world has set in motion the erosion of civilization. Random acts of violence and mass hysteria take over the cities, as the icebergs creep closer.

Anna Kavan – a unique modernist vision

blogPost, 2013

It’s not quite correct to say that Anna Kavan has been forgotten. Her books are kept in print out of sheer dedication by her publisher, Peter Owen. My colleague at the University of East Anglia, Karen Schaller, teaches her novel Ice on her course Fiction After Modernism. And a recent paean to this same novel appeared in the Guardian.

Anna Kavan : brilliant like ice

blogPost, 29/09/2011

Her descriptions burned so brightly when I first began reading the work of Anna Kavan that I felt a kinship with her almost at once. I have sometimes wandered past her last home in Peel Street, London, in pilgrimage. The novels and memoirs stand on my shelves: I came across Ice first, then Asylum Piece and My Madness, then Let me Alone, Julia and the Bazooka with its 1960s hip bohemianism, and Sleep Has His House.

Ice and Guilty by Anna Kavan

webpage, 24/09/2007

About a year ago, I attended the guest of honor talk at ICon, the Israeli science fiction and fantasy convention. The speaker was Neil Gaiman, and his topic was dreams. With typical low-key irreverence, Mr. Gaiman sidestepped his assigned subject. Nothing, he claimed, is quite so boring as actual dreams, in which the mind's processing centers, cut off from the senses and from higher reasoning, continue to churn and light up, producing certainties and causal leaps ("and suddenly it wasn't my high school gym teacher; it was my mother" is my best recollection of Mr. Gaiman's way of describing this effect) that have no relation to logic, narrative, or even metaphor and symbolism. Anna Kavan's Ice unfolds with a similar dream-like logic.

Anna Kavan, 'The Parson': a critique -

blogPost, 16/12/2013

I wrote about Anna Kavan and her story collection Julia and the Bazooka on this blog yesterday. Born in Cannes in 1901, Kavan died in 1968. The Parson was discovered among her papers and published posthumously. It seems to have been written in the late 50s-early 60s.

Christopher Priest: The Glamour

blogPost, 10/05/2012

The Glamour (1984) is the novel Priest published after The Affirmation, and it is a development of some of the ideas and themes in that book. It has narrative switches and stories within stories; like The Affirmation it is a work of slipstream fiction, where two worlds – two genres – rub shoulders and even merge. It is also – and here is where Priest’s assertion of genre exploration makes sense – a book which tests and teases the reader of mainstream fiction. It would not be surprising if it was inspired in part by Anna Kavan’s Ice (to which Priest has written a foreword).

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

Alumni

blogPost,

My doctoral dissertation explores experimental and semi-autobiographical novels of the 1930s and ’40s written by Jean Rhys, Elizabeth Bowen, Stevie Smith, and Anna Kavan with a focus on language, narrative self-reflexivity, and the subject’s ambivalence about her gender, national, and cultural identity.

Outside the asylum of her mind

newspaperArticle, 25/06/2006

Since we often hear complaints about the puerile state of current publishing, it is as well to remind oneself that exceptional work has often had a hard time of it in Britain. Henry James struggled to sell his greatest novels. James Joyce was published in Paris. Ronald Firbank paid for his own publication. D H Lawrence was reviled. But because literature is about extending reality, not repeating it, there is some law of creativity which guarantees that the exceptional is what survives. So perhaps it is no wonder that the esoteric and beautiful writing of Anna Kavan refuses to go away - but it has been a near thing.

Play sheds new light on strange friendship of Rhys Davies and Anna Kavan

blogPost, 10/09/2013

The team behind the acclaimed play about David Lloyd George - The Wizard, The Goat and the Man Who Won the War - is to offer a new insight into the mysterious friendship between Valleys writer Rhys Davies and cult literary figure Anna Kavan.

Anna Kavan: The Best Kept Secret Of English Modernism

blogPost, 01/02/2014

We have dedicated this section of the website to the passing on of the good word of short story collections that we feel have been either been missed or forgotten about, for one reason or another, but that deserve and need to be read. The first one I’ve selected is Julia and the Bazooka by Anna Kavan. Anna who? Exactly.

Literary Heroines to Love: Anna Kavan

magazineArticle, 07/122008

This week is the fortieth anniversary of Anna Kavan’s death. Although these days she remains largely unmentioned by the mainstream media, without her the modern literary landscape that we know and love would be much more barren. Canonised female authors from Anais Nin to Virginia Woolf owe much of their experimental style and strength of voice to Anna Kavan.

Anna Kavan - De Quincey's heir, Kafka's sister

blogPost, 07/12/2009

Anna Kavan (April 10, 1901—1968; born Helen Emily Woods) was a British novelist, short story writer and painter.

Extreme appearances: Anxiety Cut-Up (with Anna Kavan)

blogPost, 03/12/2012

I'm in residence in Pittsburgh at the Cyber Punk Apocalypse, indulging my whims. Today I attempted a Burroughs-style cut-up with an existential excerpt from my journal and a selection from "Ice," by Anna Kavan, a bleak surrealist novel I'm currently reading. I took the liberty of changing some tenses and inserting punctuation.

Anna Kavan, la ciencia ficcion extrana y alucinada : Hielo

blogPost, 28/10/2008

Conocí Hielo, de Anna Kavan, porque soy aficionada a la ciencia ficción y estaba preparando una Bibliografía de escritoras del género. Alguien me recomendó la novela, como uno de esos ejemplos en que una autora no especializada en CF hace una incursión en esa literatura que -tanto respecto a los autores como al público aficionado- tiene mucho de ghetto.

Neige

blogPost, 31/10/2013

J’ai choisi ce roman à cause de son titre, de sa couverture et de sa quatrième de couverture, et afin de découvrir une publication "adulte" de cette maison d'édition dont je ne connaissais que la section jeunesse. Il y avait quelque chose de très recherché dans la verticalité du titre (comme dans le logo de la maison d'éditions) qui m’a interpellé, avec le nom de l'auteure qui forment une croix.

Anna Kavan Symposium

webpage, 11/09/2014

A one-day symposium at the Institute of English Studies in association with Liverpool John Moores University Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History and Peter Owen Publishers.

The hallucination of one moment did not fit the reality of the next

blogPost, 06/03/2012

I’ve written before of how sometimes work, life generally, can wreck my reading of a book. A busy period, a week passes without a page turned, and suddenly a great book has become a chore. I don’t remember what’s going on or who the characters are or why the plot involves a chihuaha*. The book becomes staccato and dissolves into incoherence.

The Freud Museum ~ Events and Conferences ~ Anna Kavan and the Politics of Madness

webpage, 10/12/2013

Livres de Noël : la Neige hallucinatoire d’Anna Kavan

blogPost, 06/12/2013

l’approche des fêtes, Lyon Capitale vous propose chaque jour jusqu’à Noël sa sélection dans les vitrines des libraires. Aujourd’hui, un roman d’Anna Kavan qui nous revient des années 1970.

Mon âme en Chine - Anna KAVAN

encyclopediaArticle, 15/03/2005

Une femme rêve : Je suis seule dans un train, dans un compartiment de seconde classe ; au lieu de bagages, au lieu de cerveau, je porte une masse serrée de minuscules serpents gris dans mon crâne, (p. 14) De qui sont ces serpents ?

A 20th century author I had never read before…

blogPost, 17/06/2008

This brings me to a writer of the World War II and mid twentieth century periods, Anna Kavan. There is also a web-site about her work. Guilty (2007) was in fact written much earlier.

Psyché et le scret de Perséphone - Prose en métamorphose, mémoire et création - Katherine Mansfield, Catherine Pozzi, Anna Kavan, Djuna Barnes

book, 2004

L'auteur étudie dans cet ouvrage à travers quatre écrivains et poètes, Katherine Mansfield, Catherine Pozzi, Anna Kavan et Djuna Barnes les qualités de leur prose poétique dont elle montre comme elle se fonde sur réminiscence et imagination et échappe à toute forme de fixité. Le récit établit un lien au monde et à autrui en sa propre dimension temporelle, recréation, au présent, de l'unité de l'être, le sentiment parvenant, de façon semblable à ce que décrit Spinoza, à la conscience claire.

Ice

blogPost, 27/03/2012

I first heard of Anna Kavan’s Ice (1967, but republished in 2006 by Peter Owen) when John Self reviewed it on his blog almost exactly a year ago, and it went right onto my list of books to check out in the future.

Anna Kavan : brilliant like ice

blogPost, 29/09/2011

Her descriptions burned so brightly when I first began reading the work of Anna Kavan that I felt a kinship with her almost at once. I have sometimes wandered past her last home in Peel Street, London, in pilgrimage. The novels and memoirs stand on my shelves: I came across Ice first, then Asylum Piece and My Madness, then Let me Alone, Julia and the Bazooka with its 1960s hip bohemianism, and Sleep Has His House.

A 20th century author I had never read before…

blogPost, 17/06/2008

This brings me to a writer of the World War II and mid twentieth century periods, Anna Kavan. There is also a web-site about her work. Guilty (2007) was in fact written much earlier.

Unveiling Anna Kavan

webpage,

Devotees of Anna Kavan may well be surprisedùand perhaps a little put offùthat Peter Owen Publishers has brought out another biography of the acclaimed and esoteric author (Asylum Piece, Sleep Has this House, Ice, and Mercury). However, Jeremy Reed's prying book, A Stranger on Earth, has unearthed original material that uncovers a whole lot about someone who went to great lengths to turn herself into an enigma for posterity.

Anna Kavan, la ciencia ficcion extrana y alucinada : Hielo

blogPost, 28/10/2008

Conocí Hielo, de Anna Kavan, porque soy aficionada a la ciencia ficción y estaba preparando una Bibliografía de escritoras del género. Alguien me recomendó la novela, como uno de esos ejemplos en que una autora no especializada en CF hace una incursión en esa literatura que -tanto respecto a los autores como al público aficionado- tiene mucho de ghetto.

Whirlwind

blogPost, 28/09/2011

I love the North London Line, and this was a perfect North London afternoon. There is something magical and breathless about the city in the embrace of an Indian summer, and yesterday I had the joy of experiencing it again when Chris and I went up to town for the launch of the Solaris anthology House of Fear. We spent the afternoon in Kensington, having lunch near Holland Park and then making our way across to Hillsleigh Road and nearby Peel Street, both once home to the writer Anna Kavan.

Anna Kavan, Doris Lessing and bath plugs

blogPost, 26/05/2007

Anna who? Hmm is it just me again? Anna Kavan nee Helen Woods, then Ferguson, born in Cannes probably in 1901, two divorces, nervous breakdowns, heroin addiction, name changes.

Anna Kavan - De Quincey's heir, Kafka's sister

blogPost, 07/12/2009

Anna Kavan (April 10, 1901—1968; born Helen Emily Woods) was a British novelist, short story writer and painter.

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

Anna Kavan

webpage,

‘I was about to become the world’s best kept secret; one that would never be told. What a thrilling enigma for posterity I should be.’ Thus does one of Anna Kavan’s characters describe herself in an unpublished short story, and we know that, as in much of Kavan’s writing, she was describing herself. An enigma the author remains, but her talent was none the less remarkable, and her works have been compared to that of Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka and acclaimed by writers from Anaïs Nin to J.B. Ballard.

Anna Kavan’s Nocturnal Language

blogPost, 19/10/08

work & life

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

Anna Kavan : brilliant like ice

blogPost, 29/09/2011

Her descriptions burned so brightly when I first began reading the work of Anna Kavan that I felt a kinship with her almost at once. I have sometimes wandered past her last home in Peel Street, London, in pilgrimage. The novels and memoirs stand on my shelves: I came across Ice first, then Asylum Piece and My Madness, then Let me Alone, Julia and the Bazooka with its 1960s hip bohemianism, and Sleep Has His House.

Livres de Noël : la Neige hallucinatoire d’Anna Kavan

blogPost, 06/12/2013

l’approche des fêtes, Lyon Capitale vous propose chaque jour jusqu’à Noël sa sélection dans les vitrines des libraires. Aujourd’hui, un roman d’Anna Kavan qui nous revient des années 1970.

Anna Kavan, Asylum piece, 1940

blogPost, 16/09/2009

A l’origine, la photo d’une femme au visage serein, souriant… Derrière laquelle se cache un monde asilaire, une femme glaciaire, lointaine, un écrivain hors du commun.

Anna Kavan : Neige

blogPost, 15/01/2013

Ces derniers temps, j'ai eu la chance de ne lire que des bons livres mais, je dois bien avouer, rien d'aussi singulier et sublime que ce roman cauchemardesque aux réminiscences "ballardiennes" (le Ballard première période). J'ai découvert cette Anna Kavan, en perpétuelle dépression et morte le nez dans la neige (trop facile, pardonnez-moi !), chez Discipline in Disorder, where else ?

Anna Kavan : Ice

blogPost, 31/03/2011

Anna Kavan is one of those writers I’ve been meaning to read for years, assured that hers was exactly the sort of low-tog-rating fiction I claim to seek. At the same time her most famous novel, Ice, seemed like the sort of book which didn’t need to be read at all: one of those where the blurb and chat around it seemed to say all that needed to be said. It’s easy to summarise but hard to write about: at least that’s my excuse.

Ice-maiden stung by a spider: 'Change the Name'

newspaperArticle, 05/06/1993

ANNA KAVAN wrote quite a few novels, some under her own real name. She is better known in Europe, but if her reputation here is still small it is secure and growing. The nets of mystification she wove about herself have frayed a little, but her intention that her life should not be known frustrates biographers.

Whirlwind

blogPost, 28/09/2011

I love the North London Line, and this was a perfect North London afternoon. There is something magical and breathless about the city in the embrace of an Indian summer, and yesterday I had the joy of experiencing it again when Chris and I went up to town for the launch of the Solaris anthology House of Fear. We spent the afternoon in Kensington, having lunch near Holland Park and then making our way across to Hillsleigh Road and nearby Peel Street, both once home to the writer Anna Kavan.

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

Anna Kavan, 'Julia and the Bazooka': a critique

blogPost, 15/12/2013

Writers such as Brian Aldiss and J.G. Ballard have praised the writings of Anna Kavan, but I find her work uneven – I couldn’t get beyond the first few pages of self-indulgent, rambling dream visions in Sleep Has His House, first published in 1948. Julia and the Bazooka is also uneven, but serves as a good introduction to the qualities (and weaknesses) of Kavan’s fiction.

Ornithology and Ontology: The Existential Birdcall in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Anna Kavan's Who Are You?

journalArticle, 23 Nov 2012

This essay explores textual parallels between Anna Kavan's novel Who Are You? (1963) and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). Paying close attention to the interrogative birdcall that haunts both texts, it examines how (post-)colonial situations and the experiences of namelessness and marital sexual violence lead Rhys's and Kavan's protagonists to doubts about their identity and existence.

Neige - Anna KAVAN

book, 16/3/2009

Un personnage dont on ne sait pas le nom cherche, dans un, puis un autre pays, jamais précisés, une fille qui le hante et dont une seule particularité est mise en relief : Sa chevelure (...), d'un blanc argenté, celle d'un albinos, étincelante comme le clair de lune... Parfois un troisième personnage se dresse entre le quêteur et l'objet de la quête ; on n'en connaît que la fonction : Gouverneur.

Ice-maiden stung by a spider: 'Change the Name'

newspaperArticle, 05/06/1993

ANNA KAVAN wrote quite a few novels, some under her own real name. She is better known in Europe, but if her reputation here is still small it is secure and growing. The nets of mystification she wove about herself have frayed a little, but her intention that her life should not be known frustrates biographers.

Cold print

blogPost, 21/10/2009

This time of year I usually re-read Ray Bradbury’s The October Country because . . . well, do I really need to explain why? But Jonathan Lethem is looking ahead to winter with a list of his favorite icy books.

Anna Kavan – a unique modernist vision

blogPost, 2013

It’s not quite correct to say that Anna Kavan has been forgotten. Her books are kept in print out of sheer dedication by her publisher, Peter Owen. My colleague at the University of East Anglia, Karen Schaller, teaches her novel Ice on her course Fiction After Modernism. And a recent paean to this same novel appeared in the Guardian.

BOOK REVIEW: Ice by Anna Kavan. Interior landscapes cast in ice.

blogPost, 02/08/2013

Kafka cavorts with Plath in this post-apocalyptic novel by the late Anna Kavan. A thermonuclear device has been detonated, and the world slowly awaits its fate as the planet freezes. In this new Ice Age, a nameless narrator searches for the girl he loves. But this isn’t just another version of love among the ruins. The imminent destruction of the world has set in motion the erosion of civilization. Random acts of violence and mass hysteria take over the cities, as the icebergs creep closer.

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

Neige, d’Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/11/2013

La britannique Anna Kavan fait partie des écrivains qui se sont forgé un personnage, un masque, une façade qui est devenue partie intégrante de leur œuvre – ce n’est pas pour rien si en 1939 elle fait rayer de l’État civil son nom de baptême pour adopter l’identité de l’un de ses personnages.

Love & Loss: Stories of the Heart

book, 1993

The works of Jane Bowles, Edith Wharton, Rebecca West, and other distinctive voices of the 20th century are gathered here for the first time in a collection of 18 variously lyrical, piquant and bold stories which explore women's lives and loves, embracing moments daring and commonplace, public and private.

Ice-maiden stung by a spider: 'Change the Name'

newspaperArticle, 05/06/1993

ANNA KAVAN wrote quite a few novels, some under her own real name. She is better known in Europe, but if her reputation here is still small it is secure and growing. The nets of mystification she wove about herself have frayed a little, but her intention that her life should not be known frustrates biographers.

Sleep Does Not Have His House: Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/01/2007

A very rare bout of insomnia seems like the perfect time to discuss dreams. Well, I did sleep for a few hours and woke up after a particularly vivid dream. Which I will not describe.

A Stranger on Earth by Jeremy Reed

newspaperArticle, 07/07/2006

On the cover is an old snap of Anna Kavan tinted to make her look like somebody she never could have been. Before colour photography, it was a profession: tinting photographs, flattering the sitter. If it was the novelist herself who agreed to this enhanced Anna, then the picture is probably a witness to another of her attempts to be just like everybody else, and that is painful.

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

Psyché et le scret de Perséphone - Prose en métamorphose, mémoire et création - Katherine Mansfield, Catherine Pozzi, Anna Kavan, Djuna Barnes

book, 2004

L'auteur étudie dans cet ouvrage à travers quatre écrivains et poètes, Katherine Mansfield, Catherine Pozzi, Anna Kavan et Djuna Barnes les qualités de leur prose poétique dont elle montre comme elle se fonde sur réminiscence et imagination et échappe à toute forme de fixité. Le récit établit un lien au monde et à autrui en sa propre dimension temporelle, recréation, au présent, de l'unité de l'être, le sentiment parvenant, de façon semblable à ce que décrit Spinoza, à la conscience claire.

Literary Heroines to Love: Anna Kavan

magazineArticle, 07/122008

This week is the fortieth anniversary of Anna Kavan’s death. Although these days she remains largely unmentioned by the mainstream media, without her the modern literary landscape that we know and love would be much more barren. Canonised female authors from Anais Nin to Virginia Woolf owe much of their experimental style and strength of voice to Anna Kavan.

Anna Kavan and the Politics of Madness

audioRecording,

Author Anna Kavan’s critical and popular reception since her death in 1968 has been defined by a cult of personality fuelled by revelations about her psychiatric breakdown, heroin use and adoption of her own fictional character’s name. Victoria Walker unravels some of the accumulated mythology around this writer, and examines her complex association with, and interest in, early twentieth-century psychiatry and psychotherapy.

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

AK (bis) / Obsessionnel.

blogPost, 04/07/2012

Les six pages signées Anna Kavan sortent de nulle part. Aucune trace dans les recueils traduits ou les rares articles consacrés à l'écrivaine anglaise, à peine connue de quelques lecteurs français, les moindres n'étant pas Viviane Forrester, Claire Malroux ou Christine Jordis, talentueuses passeuses.

Agamben, Anna Kavan (irreparable)

blogPost, 25/09/2010

How can nature exist ? To this Anna Kavan wandering across europe really allows for a single response because you’ll remain “a stranger still” as you approach the “bright green field” having left the asylum after suffering a “scarcity of love”. The car driving across the ice, the heavy gun in his pocket. The girls, the drugs, the small bare rooms in which you can hear the birds singing in the trees. All this is marked by the fact of its being irreparable, its this which is written into Kavan’s world, her writing which engraves into things.

The hallucination of one moment did not fit the reality of the next

blogPost, 06/03/2012

I’ve written before of how sometimes work, life generally, can wreck my reading of a book. A busy period, a week passes without a page turned, and suddenly a great book has become a chore. I don’t remember what’s going on or who the characters are or why the plot involves a chihuaha*. The book becomes staccato and dissolves into incoherence.

Anna Kavan : Ice

blogPost, 31/03/2011

Anna Kavan is one of those writers I’ve been meaning to read for years, assured that hers was exactly the sort of low-tog-rating fiction I claim to seek. At the same time her most famous novel, Ice, seemed like the sort of book which didn’t need to be read at all: one of those where the blurb and chat around it seemed to say all that needed to be said. It’s easy to summarise but hard to write about: at least that’s my excuse.

Anna Kavan

blogPost, 25/07/2010

whenever i discover an artist who has something to say that i want to hear, i’m firstly grateful for their work having found me & then i’m sort of shocked that it’s taken so long, & left wondering where they’ve been all my life. i just bought a brand new 2009 reprint of anna kavan‘s ‘julia & the bazooka‘ for 2.99 from a bookshop in waterloo.

Experimental and semi-autobiographical novels of the 1930s and ’40s written by Jean Rhys, Elizabeth Bowen, Stevie Smith, and Anna Kavan

thesis, in progress

My doctoral dissertation explores experimental and semi-autobiographical novels of the 1930s and ’40s written by Jean Rhys, Elizabeth Bowen, Stevie Smith, and Anna Kavan with a focus on language, narrative self-reflexivity, and the subject’s ambivalence about her gender, national, and cultural identity.

Ice

blogPost, 27/03/2012

I first heard of Anna Kavan’s Ice (1967, but republished in 2006 by Peter Owen) when John Self reviewed it on his blog almost exactly a year ago, and it went right onto my list of books to check out in the future.

Found Guilty: Anna Kavan's latest novel

newspaperArticle, 28/06/2007

A lost manuscript of a novel by the British writer Anna Kavan - which turned up at the University of Tulsa of all places - will be published next week. I, for one, am deliriously happy about the publication of Guilty, since Anna Kavan, who died in 1968, is one our greatest and most original novelists.

On Anna Kavan

blogPost, 09/12/2011

Anna Kavan, born Helen Ferguson in 1901 was a very English - and at the same time utterly alien - novelist whose own life took on the quality of an existential mystery. Praised by JG Ballard and Doris Lessing, drawing on Kafka and anticipating slipstream long before it became a genre in British writing, her novels described eerie states of dislocation; a lifelong heroin user, her prose has a needle-sharp precision but her subject matter was never drugs.

Anna Kavan: The Best Kept Secret Of English Modernism

blogPost, 01/02/2014

We have dedicated this section of the website to the passing on of the good word of short story collections that we feel have been either been missed or forgotten about, for one reason or another, but that deserve and need to be read. The first one I’ve selected is Julia and the Bazooka by Anna Kavan. Anna who? Exactly.

Literary Heroines to Love: Anna Kavan

magazineArticle, 07/122008

This week is the fortieth anniversary of Anna Kavan’s death. Although these days she remains largely unmentioned by the mainstream media, without her the modern literary landscape that we know and love would be much more barren. Canonised female authors from Anais Nin to Virginia Woolf owe much of their experimental style and strength of voice to Anna Kavan.

Love & Loss: Stories of the Heart

book, 1993

The works of Jane Bowles, Edith Wharton, Rebecca West, and other distinctive voices of the 20th century are gathered here for the first time in a collection of 18 variously lyrical, piquant and bold stories which explore women's lives and loves, embracing moments daring and commonplace, public and private.

Kafka's sister

magazineArticle, 31/07/2010

Fuelled by heroin and self-exploration, Anna Kavan's underground Kafka-esque novels penetrated the human psyche in a manner that distrubed even JG Ballard.

The World Within Fiction Illuminating Neuroses Of Our Time

book,

with an introduction and analyses by Frederic Wertham, M.D. Included are selections from E.T.A. Hoffman, Dostoevsky, Chekov, Henry James, Proust, Kafka, Aiken, E.B. White, Anna Kavan, Truman Capote, Edita Morris, Coates, James Still, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner

The Case of Anna Kavan’ by David Callard

magazineArticle, 25/02/1993

During the war Anna Kavan worked for nearly two years at the offices of Horizon. ‘Understandably, Connolly was never comfortable with Kavan,’ Michael Sheldon wrote in Friends of Promise, his book about Connolly.

Anna Kavan

journalArticle,

It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

Neige, d’Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/11/2013

La britannique Anna Kavan fait partie des écrivains qui se sont forgé un personnage, un masque, une façade qui est devenue partie intégrante de leur œuvre – ce n’est pas pour rien si en 1939 elle fait rayer de l’État civil son nom de baptême pour adopter l’identité de l’un de ses personnages.

Anna Kavan: The Best Kept Secret Of English Modernism

blogPost, 01/02/2014

We have dedicated this section of the website to the passing on of the good word of short story collections that we feel have been either been missed or forgotten about, for one reason or another, but that deserve and need to be read. The first one I’ve selected is Julia and the Bazooka by Anna Kavan. Anna who? Exactly.

Portrait of the Artist as the Books He’s Loved

blogPost, 11/10/2011

My first encounter with Anna Kavan came via an image found trawling through a friend’s flicker page. There is a lovely group of really wonderful women I have met online via my obsession with the 60s & 70s films of the fantastique, and “Oola” is one acquaintance I was particularly bewitched by. She seemed to have impeccable taste and a wonderfully exciting life (from what I could see of it online), so the combination of my experience with the owner of the book and the cover of the book itself, I immediately requested the book from inter-library-loan (at the time, Kavan’s Julia and the Bazooka was out of print).

The Strange Case of AK

blogPost, 03/07/2007

The first blog entry I ever wrote had something to do with Anna Kavan; I think I was reading her book "Let Me Alone" at the time. I've just finished George Saunder's "In Persuasion Nation" -- funny, cynical, nasty, and ultimately touching -- and tonight, waiting anxiously for a thunderstorm that is taking its own sweet time arriving, I'm following it up with Kavan's "Mercury."

Anna Kavan, 'Julia and the Bazooka': a critique

blogPost, 15/12/2013

Writers such as Brian Aldiss and J.G. Ballard have praised the writings of Anna Kavan, but I find her work uneven – I couldn’t get beyond the first few pages of self-indulgent, rambling dream visions in Sleep Has His House, first published in 1948. Julia and the Bazooka is also uneven, but serves as a good introduction to the qualities (and weaknesses) of Kavan’s fiction.

Sunday Caught My Interest

blogPost, 03/04/2011

The latter happened when I read John Self’s review of Anna Kravan’s Ice. I was intrigued by Anna’s story (physiological issues, heroin addiction, renaming herself after one of her own character’s, etc.) but the book itself didn’t seem like my thing. And then I clicked on a book John mentions in the review and found his review of Christopher Priest’s The Affirmation.

Anna Kavan, Asylum piece, 1940

blogPost, 16/09/2009

A l’origine, la photo d’une femme au visage serein, souriant… Derrière laquelle se cache un monde asilaire, une femme glaciaire, lointaine, un écrivain hors du commun.

Anna Kavan - De Quincey's heir, Kafka's sister

blogPost, 07/12/2009

Anna Kavan (April 10, 1901—1968; born Helen Emily Woods) was a British novelist, short story writer and painter.

Anna Kavan, Asylum piece, 1940

blogPost, 16/09/2009

A l’origine, la photo d’une femme au visage serein, souriant… Derrière laquelle se cache un monde asilaire, une femme glaciaire, lointaine, un écrivain hors du commun.