Say what you will about the New York Times, but its obit writers know how to take the sting out of death.

Yesterday’s edition carried the delicious obituary of Rupert Pole, 87, “one of the two simultaneous — and simultaneously unwitting — husbands of the novelist, erotic adventurer and copiously confessional diarist Anaïs Nin,” the Times reported.

Nin, of course, was the author of a series of smutty diaries that, as the Times put it:

chronicled her affairs with an international cast of luminaries, including the novelist Henry Miller; the critic Edmund Wilson; the psychologist Otto Rank, who happened to be her therapist; and the Spanish composer Joaquín Nin, who happened to be her father.


Note the Red Bank connection: Wilson was born and raised in the borough.

The obit informs us that Pole (who died July 15) was married to Nin for 11 years, from 1955 to 1966, and

For all that time, Nin was married to her first husband, Hugh Guiler, whom she wed in 1923. (A banker, Guiler later became an experimental filmmaker under the pseudonym Ian Hugo.) For years, she performed a precarious balancing act, dividing her time between Mr. Pole’s spartan cabin in the Sierra Madre and Guiler’s opulent apartment in New York.

If Mr. Pole knew of Nin’s double life — and for years he apparently did not — he did not object much.

How could he not have known?

“He was sort of a great cipher,” Deirdre Bair, the author of “Anaïs Nin: A Biography” (Putnam’s, 1995), said in a telephone interview on Friday. “He was stunningly handsome. Incredibly shy. Not really very bright. And just incredibly self-effacing. She was his star: everything radiated around her, and he loved being in her background.”

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