The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky


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Product ID: 362500

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Description

Vaslav Nijinsky spent the final six weeks before his permanent consignment to an insane asylum as something a madman in
the attic. With his family--wife, young daughters and occasionally, mother-in-law--and household staff downstairs, the
legendary dancer retreated to his room in a remote Swiss villa to tangle with his burgeoning psychosis. Fearful that his
wife would (as she ultimately did) commit him, and highly suspicious of the physician-cum-amateur psychiatrist who daily
came by to examine him, Nijinsky perceived the diary as the only safe haven for the rambling thoughts that were
overtaking him. Throughout, the anxiety and anguish are palpable, as Nijinsky writes about his disillusionment with his
mentor and lover, Ballets Russes director Serge Diaghilev; his alienation from and distrust of his closest family
members; and his fear of insanity and its consequential confinement. His writing becomes more obscure as the weeks
progress and he examines his relationship to God, writing "I am God" at one point, and later: "God said to me, 'Go home
and tell your wife that you are mad.'" As his schizophrenia evolves, the pace and style of Nijinsky's prose changes
radically--toward the end he writes in abstract verse--but he remains, with a dancer's sensibility, attuned to the
cadences of his environment. The noises of the household, the ringing of the phone, footsteps down the hall, smatterings
of conversations overheard are all registered as a sort of accompaniment to his dance with madness and function perhaps
as a final tether to reality.

Nijinsky's wife stumbled upon the diary in a locked trunk some years after her husband disappeared into the abyss of
madness and soon released it for publication to feed public interest in her famous mate--but not before she sanitized
the manuscript to such a degree (removing references to his homosexuality, overblown ego, bizarre paranoia, and various
obsessions with bodily functions and sex acts) that its essence was obscured. Now 80 years after it was written, 20
years after its renegade editor died, and six years after the copyright that Nijinsky's daughters held expired, the
unexpurgated version of the diaries faithfully restores the fascinating record of a great artist's struggle for his
life.

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