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

Deepa Ranganathan

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


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"]>


No suelo leer muchos libros de relatos porque me fastidia que unos sean más largos que otros (por norma general me suelen gustar los cortos, los largos me dan pereza). Pero este libro me ha encantado. La mayoría de la "erótica" (no merece ni llamarse así) que yo he leído es "Cincuenta sombras de Grey" y sucedáneos con la misma "calidad" (mierdas machistas, por norma general). Este libro ha sido una bocanada de aire fresco en mi estantería. Aunque son relatos cortos, la psicología de los personajes está trabajada a través de su sexualidad (y/o sensualidad). El estilo de escritura es envolvente, con figuras literarias que enriquecen el texto y la imaginación del lector.El único pero que le encuentro es que algunos relatos se me hicieron excesivamente largos con su estructura de muñeca rusa, de "una historia dentro de una historia".

Susan Laine

This collection of short stories is hard to review. There's some stuff that in today's standards is considered obscene, unethical and illegal, like erotic scenes between adults and children, acts of violence toward a woman during sex, gang-rape of a pretty boy, and so forth.This was a challenging read, and I don't think Anaïs Nin would get her work published today-or she'd cause a scandal of epic proportions. What this book shows us is how erotica was seen before, and that's how these stories should be read. These are purely mental exercises of what might be seen as erotic. There's a lot of shock value here, and that's a value in itself in this day and age when we think we've seen and done everything imaginable.I pass no judgment here. I like her writing as it reveals an essence of a dark lust foreign to most people. Still, if you read this, be forewarned that there's a lot of set darkness here. Nin's grasp of erotica is worth the read-if only for the likelihood that censorship might soon take this away from the shelves.


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!


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.

Julie Rylie

Since a long time I wanted to read Anaïs Nin but seriously... this is not for me. I knew she wrote erotic stuff but I was totally looking for something else. I was reading this in portuguese and sometimes there was such cheesy terrible sex scenes that I was blessing myself for living in Germany and nobody could even sneak a pick on my book on the train and be able to read it (I would feel embarrassed - and believe me - that's hard!).Actually she wrote in the beginning they had this men paying for them to write this stories with no poetry or whatever just sex and that's it. Maybe if I would try another book I would feel more fulfilled.. I don't know. Maybe I'll give it a try someday. For now it was quite enough... After a while I was quite tired of the frigid women, the weird lesbian that also fucked with men, the prostitute with feelings and whatever the heck more.


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.

David Gillespie

Delta of Venus is a book of short stories by Anaïs Nin. Though the stories were largely written in the 1940s while Nin was writing erotica for a private collector, the book was first published posthumously in 1978. The effect of Nin's dreamy prose, the heightened tease of her language, and the titillation of the poetic images of lovers experiencing the joys of the flesh converge to become one of the best collections of erotica ever written. In Nin's hands, the clinical is transformed into beauty. The descriptions are often graphic, but never cross the line into abject pornography. Some readers may have a problem with distinguishing erotica with pornography, as such, this is not a book they need to read. For readers who know how to distinguish between literary erotica and the Penthouse Forum column, this is a must read. In regards to my own writing, I often have a problem with how sexual matters are portrayed in most modern American literature and film. I much prefer the sensibilities of Nin, and how she is able to explore the combinations of love, lust, and the mysteriousness of human sexuality. I aspire to successfully reach that level of writing.


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.

Chloe Thurlow

Tip treacle from a jar and you get a glowing golden stream that whirls into a pool you feel tempted to dive into. This is how Anaïs Nin writes, drawing us into her universe of pleasure and sensuality; poetry and surprise.I found a 1969 hardback edition of "Delta of Venus" at the World's End Bookshop in London's Kings Road, and have since marred the pages with yellow highlighter and pencil annotations. The value of the book is not to maintain its mint condition, but keeping it to read again and again."Delta of Venus" contains 15 short stories, a necklace of exquisite cut diamonds, each perfect, each capturing human sexuality in its many and varied facets, new affairs, affairs that have ended, lovers 'convulsed with excitement' and 'in the frenzy of orgasm.'The writing is fresh, moving, sensual and daring. In 'The Basque and Bijou' we follow two girls riding on a warm day; we smell the aroma of the horses, the feeling in their clenched bottoms gripped in tight jodhpurs, the sun and shade through the trees. They rest in a glade and are unable to stop themselves removing their clothes until, at the moment of greatest erotic tension, Leila takes a horsewhip to Bijou's buttocks and she climaxes under its blows. Later in the story, Bijou, naked still, is held down by two men who watch as a large dog, intoxicated by her smell of arousal, licks her private parts. 'The dog was beautiful, with a big tousled head, a clean tongue.''Pierre', in the story taking his name, makes love to a girl who has just drowned and, from that day, 'he could not hear rain without remembering how the water came out between her legs and out of her mouth, and how soft and smooth she was.'Erotica, in the wake of "Fifty Shades of Grey," is in vogue and readers, as well as writers, would do well to go back and read Miss Nin, Mistress of the Genre.


The negative reviews of this book on Goodreads crack me up. It's erotica. It's probably going to have moments that are weird & unpalatable to you. There is a teensy bit of pedophilia here, and a teensy bit of necrophilia. Both are only brief moments in the book, and I feel like they represent Nin's interest in exploring pretty much every type of sex act out there. Get past it, you'll be fine. Most of the book involves interactions between consenting adults. I quickly discovered I was unable to read this book on the bus without blushing, but for the most part I appreciated it for what it was - a woman writing graphically about sex from a woman's point of view, in the 1940's. The first half was more entertaining for me: short chapters that read like scripts out of porn movies - what slim plot existed was only there so the principle characters could have hot hot sexy times. Later in the book she tries to hold onto actual storylines, and I just grew impatient. This book is fabulous at descriptions of intimate sex acts, not so fabulous at describing the more bland day-to-day interactions between ladies and gents. Fortunately every story does end up involving some sort of (often hilarious) coupling. I don't often read steamy vintage erotica, but when I do, I read Anaïs Nin!

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.


dear reader,so, this week, i was thinking of changing things up, and doing something different instead of my regular "welcome!" thing. but hey, i think i got a good thing going with that. so...welcome! whew! haha, gotcha! yes, friend, welcome, one and all, to another week in "this week in books!" up to "bat" at this week's "game" is a solid "pitch hitter" who can really "pack" "heat": anais nin, and her great collection of fantastic fantasies, entitled "the delta of venus." haha, i guess that's where they go the joke, "women are from venus," because she's a woman, and that's hilarious, so it's a joke! ok, let's go!REVIEW:man/man, man/woman, woman/woman, man/man/woman, woman/man/woman, woman/woman/woman.drugs.pedophilia.pedophiliac rape.going to the


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.

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