Illustrated Delta Of Venus

ISBN: 0831721820
ISBN 13: 9780831721824
By: Bob Carlos Clarke

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About this book

In Delta of Venus Anaïs Nin penned a lush, magical world where the characters of her imagination possess the most universal of desires and exceptional of talents. Among these provocative stories, a Hungarian adventurer seduces wealthy women then vanishes with their money; a veiled woman selects strangers from a chic restaurant for private trysts; and a Parisian hatmaker named Mathilde leaves her husband for the opium dens of Peru. Delta of Venus is an extraordinarily rich and exotic collection from the master of erotic writing.

Reader's Thoughts


Probably the best book ever written about sex. Recently I brought up Delta of Venus on a drunken night out. All of my friends had read it, girl and boy, and all said it opened them up to sex from an early age. Erotica becomes cheese easily but Nin is so good at it that this never happens. She writes of sheer sensuality, of power play between genders, curves and wetness and moonlit nights, moments of real passion. Shots of semen on a woman's hands become waves lapping up on a beach. Nin also plays with incest, necrophilia, paedophilia, all kinds of taboos, and somehow it never feels exploitative or dirty. It's all in the name of exploration, to open her mind and yours, to make you think about what feels good to you and why. You'd be wise to take your time reading this one, as there's only so much of it you can handle in one session. I'm sure Nin would agree: It's best to take it slow.


this book is super hot. Didn't realize it was all erotica till i cracked it open on the plane ride home from France. Felt a little warm under the collar for the whole ride ;)Deals with some scandalous themes. Incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, rape, bestiality, voyeurism, exhibitionism, some low key BDSM, homosexuality, etc etc. Not quite the abundance of themes you might find on the interwebs, but markedly better written than most of what you'd find there. Even if the thing she is writing about would other wise be distasteful, she somehow manages to make it seem hot.

Idea Smith

The backstory of this book is as much a part of this book as its characters. Anais Nin and a group of her fellow writers were offered 100 dollars a month, by an anonymous collector to write erotic stories. For various personal reasons, the writers accepted this commission. The collector never revealed his identity or offered response except to urge them to 'concentrate on sex and leave out the poetry'. Anais Nin and the other writers were stifled by this condition but unable to let go of such a lucrative gig. In a twisted kind of revenge, Anais Nin began writing more and more outrageous things, making her stories as ugly and grotesque as she could make them. Still, the collector devoured them and demanded more. Delta of Venus is a collection of some of those stories. Anais Nin has mentioned how at the time erotica was primarily written by men and her attempts to push through her influences to emerge with her own writing voice, that of a woman's perspective to sex. This is within the framework of a client who demanded that the emotions be filtered out, all while she felt women tend to fuse emotions more with sex.Delta of Venus is not as beautiful as some of Anais Nin's other work but it is a lot less meandering, much more focused on the sex. This is not to say that the sexual depictions are necessarily fine. This is a woman attempting to push a male perspective while retaining a feminine voice, while writing about sex, which differs so much by individual, let alone gender. The effort shows. The stories feel abrupt and bizarre. Some stories wander about from one sexual encounter to another, switching protagonists too. On the other hand, the book offers a smorgasbord of sex writing, dealing as it does with bestiality, S&M, rape, paedophilia, voyeurism, exhibitionism, orgies and incest.The book in isolation is shocking rather than fine literature. But given the context of time and situation, this is probably a must-read for anybody interested in the erotica genre.


A broke Anais Nin wrote porn at a dollar a page for an unknown collector who kept telling her to write less literary crap, more of the in and out. Which infuriated her, because she thought he was destroying everything interesting about sex. Which is basically the same debate people are having today about internet porn.And she keeps punishing him for it. In one story a woman has an erotic opium experience, and it's pretty hot I guess, and then suddenly it's like (view spoiler)["And then the guy almost slashed her vagina up because he was a psycho! The end." (hide spoiler)] Which is basically just Nin saying "Ha ha, I killed your boner." In the first story, a dashing guy who's basically The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercials is bored by normal sex and starts seeking out increasingly perverse experiences. So the first bit, where there's this hot singer lady who goes around to the private booths after her act and blows guys, is - again - pretty hot; but by the end of the story, (view spoiler)[he's trying to shove his cock into his sleeping preteen son's mouth. (hide spoiler)]And that's also a debate that continues today: some anti-porn folks say that the ubiquity of porn encourages people to search out ever-more-extreme forms just to find something new. For what it's worth, anecdotally, this has not been my experience.In any case, I don't know why this guy kept paying Nin. She was pretty much just fucking with him.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


I truly didn't know what to expect but was impressed with her descriptions and her stories. And I have such a high regard for her as a sexual, female libertine in that time period. I didn't feel that any of the stories in Delta were perverse at all. They were all sexually charged people enjoying themselves. She did not delve into the world of any fetishes or anything super kinky so this is mainstream. She words things so eloquently but isn't too verbose. Her language is just perfect for eroticism. What I loved is how she phrased things. As a woman, I have seen the standard porns that are made for men of course. Watching a blow job where the guy typically just rams his dick in the chicks mouth, we see him get excited and her fake boobs bob, is quite frankly not very exciting. In her book, she describes fellatio as "he offered his penis to my mouth" and then goes on to describe how hot it is. Her descriptions are definitely more made for women. But they are also more just realistic of real life sex and real fantasies of sexually charges people. Another great example is the woman and her lover having sex by the window as people walk by. This is the stuff that a couple would really do and try to get away with. I liked it because to me it was somewhat realistic which made it totally hot. Expect to be aroused the entire time by Anais's vivid fantasies!


I was near ready to give up on Nin's erotica about halfway through, rife though it was with the sort of kink and taboo I can almost always get behind. Particularly expectation-shattering was the collection's opener, featuring the pedophiliac fantasies of a "Hungarian Adventurer." The story morphs into a sort of cautionary tale wherein the Hungarian is punished, but not before putting on its darker forms of titillation. Many of the stories are tongue-in-cheek, satirical, hot-but-not, and to her credit, Nin really does run the gamut of deviant sexuality: rape, incest, bondage, role playing, voyeurism, formicophilia... One story of the not-hot variety manages to incorporate both necrophilia and bestiality. Which is all well and good, except that Nin's lack of character and plot begins to strain at about the middle point, when you realize she's recycling her themes and heroines.Of the stories meant to be actually poetic and sensual, most involve a central female character who opens up in her sexuality, trips through opium dens, experiments with lesbianism, etc. I'm not terribly convinced that Nin was a great writer of fiction; I think her legacy is her diaries, but she does manage to get some nice purple prose cushioning a trace of the feminist impulse. Still... not terribly compelling,Except for the 40-page The Basque and Bijou, which is by far the best thing in Delta of Venus. It's a subtle masterclass in the origins and perpetuations, the eroticism and ultimate sadness of fetishism. It has a beginning, middle and end, it's sexy as hell, and it has a kicker of a punchline. It's better than the 70-page Elena (a muddle of characters and contrived set-pieces), despite reprising some of the same characters. It validated the collection for me.

Suki Michelle

Eh. I don't usually read erotica because I can't stand bad writing, and every sample I've ever read that was not suitable for children was badly written. This is a collection of short stories, each with a sexual theme. Anais Nin's writing is superb, but I gave this a 3 because the stories were all basically the same . . . beautiful sensitive damaged woman meets virile handsome devil and they spend a minimum of three days consorting, contorting, and sweating. While the characterization is richly textured, the story lines were shallow and gratuitous. Anais Nin wrote this to entertain a male benefactor, and I'm sure she succeeded in that account. Though it fell flat from a story standpoint, I was impressed with the intelligence and emotional range in the face of such a limited theme.

Dan Keating

It's difficult to figure out where to begin discussing Anais Nin's masterful piece of overblown erotica, "Delta of Venus."Perhaps the best place is to begin by saying that this is not erotica that one would expect to find today. I've admittedly only read a small sampling of "modern" erotica, but what I have read there was extremely tame and inoffensive in comparison. This feels as though it comes from Nin's deep-seated desire to explore sexuality rather than just titillate. There's plenty of titillation too, don't get me wrong - but interspersed you'll find pedophilia, genital mutilation, necrophilia, and a whole ton of rape, almost all of which occurs without negative consequence. Indeed, many of these things are shown in a vacuum - a character loved fucking a fresh corpse and never suffered any repercussion afterward, save that his enjoyment of the experience left him yearning for a similar one from a still-living companion. The moral vacuum aside, there were several times throughout reading "Delta of Venus" that I actually found myself wishing that I'd read it in high school - or even that it was required reading in high school. So many people from my generation learned about sex through shoddy American pornography and even shoddier American pop culture. There's very little room in either of those mediums for an exploration of sensuality, of the ability to slow down while simultaneously becoming more heated, to see that sex isn't just a series of acts which are selected from a menu like one selects items at a fast food restaurant. Probably the greatest thing about "Delta of Venus" is its utter lack of shame, especially in its discovery of itself. That's a lesson more people should learn, as quickly as possible.And hey, a chick has an orgasm while kneeling in front of a priest and confessing, and in order to disguise it she falls forward and pretends to be weeping. That's just inspired."Delta of Venus" is, admittedly, over-the-top. The characters within are almost entirely ribald in their feelings, and many of them discuss in a terribly forthright manner exactly what is on their minds, in situations where it's difficult to believe that they wouldn't show a little more restraint. That, plus the exquisitely ridiculous character of some of the sexual encounters (which never become tacky), give the novel a kind of hyper-realistic quality. These are the real thoughts and feelings and actions of people who cannot possibly be real in the most literal of senses, but absolutely have to be real in the most metaphorical of senses. They represent some of the most extreme drives and desires which most of the time we keep hidden.I'd heavily recommend "Delta of Venus." It's definitely going to offend some people - okay, a lot of people - and I figure there would be some resistance to my feeling that teenagers, who are just beginning to develop their sexual identities, would be better off getting this perspective too than to just learn what sex is from rap music videos. All that aside, it's worth seeing another side to sexuality.

Deepa Ranganathan

Fascinating stories, powerful imagery, impact story-telling. Nin's personal life, however, seems more interesting than the stories she weaves.

Astrid Reza

I had to make this book one of my must-have-list-of-book. So far it’s the best erotica literary writings I ever read. It literally makes you wet yourself. What really intriguing is what Anais explain in her preface (which adapted from her diaries). Doing it for a dollar a page, which apparently create one of her best collections of erotic stories. She needed the money to pay her and her friends living expenses, which she described that “Everyone around me irresponsible, unconscious of the shipwreck”. How necessities create wonders to writers:POut of the fifteen stories, Anais had her best in writing “The Hungarian Adventure”, “Marianne”, “Elena” and “The Basque and the Bijou”. I like her way in making erotica, which portray women awakening sexuality. Following what D.H. Lawrence did in his writings about sexuality and the complexity in man and woman relationships. Anais made it more gripping with the use of language entirely beautiful in creating her description. She did invented the language of sex that so different from her predecessors (which are dominated by man)I’m entering my second reading in my second summer with Anais, which make one of the best parts of summer holiday reading.


Hammer Presents readings by Anais Nin - Feb. 12By Rena KosnettAnais Nin would have been 105 this year, and if all the hype is anywhere near accurate, she probably would still be fucking. Every time I overhear or participate in discussions involving Nin, the conversation inevitably turns smutty. Granted, she did submit herself as a cultural galvanizer of female sexual liberation at a time in Europe when there was very little female-authored erotica available; but I've always believed that those diary entries concerning coital relations between her and her father were at best a metaphor inspired by her studies of Freudian psychology, and at most a pretty lucrative insurance policy for keeping her legacy eternally sensationalized. Rumors gold or pyrite, Nin was a powerful and courageous literary figure who happened to make many younger friends during her aging years in Silver Lake. Read the rest of Kosnett's pick at LA Weekly's website.Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tues., Feb. 12, 7 p.m. (310) 443-7000.


The people I follow on tumblr seem to absolutely adore Anais Nin and they have reblogged or posted some very choice quotes and excerpts from her writing that made me give into curiosity and borrow some of her works from the library. A few other times when I’ve tried erotic fiction I end up laughing because the writing is just so cheesy and phrases are so overused; but I don’t think I once laughed in ridiculousness when I read this book. My cheeks flushed regularly going through the book though, for sure! At one point I bought it into class to read during the break and what should have been a quiet 10 minute reading session for me turned into a whole class discussion about erotica (my teacher included) when a male classmate read the blurb, saw Anais Nin's name and started pelting me with questions.There were definitely some of the stories where I just thought, ‘ok that’s not really right’ but I remembered quickly that whether I thought the actions carried out in the book were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ that it wasn’t the point of the book, and I think if you read the book in terms of your own morals, Anais Nin’s book will fall completely flat in trying to convince and help you appreciate that there are all types of love, whether we think it right or wrong. This book is all about exploring human sexuality, and no matter how shocking/erotic some of the descriptions can be, I thought Nin wrote about it in the most beautiful and engaging way.

Regina Andreassen

Erotica is one thing that I appreciate and enjoy, but necrophilia, pedophilia, sadism (you don't burn someone's is NOT OK), and so forth, is a different thing. I don't think the book is beautifully written either, and it is not creative at all. Clearly, Anais Nin tried to be original and perhaps that is why she felt the need to go that far; well, perhaps that should have been expected if we remember that she had an incestuous relationship with her dad, and was married to two guys at the same time. The characters, as portrayed in the different stories, were ridiculous caricatures, and evidently, she had not idea what she was talking about. Apart from the 'erotica' there was so much nonsense: Opium in Peru and alpacas in Brazil! Just to mention a few 'inaccuracies'. I know it was just fantasy, but that doesn't justify idiocy and ignorance. Nin never felt proud of this work. She wrote it mainly to make some money that she needed desperately, that is why the different stories were not meant to be published but read by a private 'buyer' with a special taste for sex... hte one who has paying her and other authors to do that.Overall, a terrible book...I threw it where it belonged: to the rubbish.Oh, and please, don't try to convince me- or the others who agree with me- that I am wrong..simply because in this particular case I am sure I am not... ;)BTW, we can call Anais Nin a diarist, but she was not really a novelist! She has to be one of the most overrated writers ever! I am not saying this because I am a prude, because I think I am the opposite, quite liberal. Yet, I have read thousands of books since the age of 4 (it is totally true), perhaps that is the reason why these days I don't find many books that I consider good literature. I may be called a snob, and perhaps I am a snob; but I have to be loyal to myself and Anais Nin doesn't do anything for me.


These erotic short stories, published after Anais Nin's death, were the first by a woman to deal with frank sexuality in an open and celebratory way.Neither pornographic or exploitative, yet explicit at the same time, Nin brings imagination and insight to a subject usually lacking in both.Inventive, elegant, and sophisticated, this collection makes the everyday seem both unique and magical.

John Doe

This book of porn could not have been written by a man. There is too much caressing with hands, lesbian kissing orgies, and breathing on naked bodies in opium dens. Don't get me wrong, Nin is my kind of woman, but she is very feminine...and not always in a sexy way. For example, a man would never call a woman's sex 'that wound that never heals' completely. Seriously, someone has issues with her body! However, she writes well and most of it is pretty hot. I would recomend this book to drug adicts and lonely women.

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