The Illustrated Delta Of Venus

ISBN: 0491027737
ISBN 13: 9780491027731
By: Anaïs Nin

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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


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.

Taylor K.

The first erotica I read, and probably the last, because I can't imagine liking anything else as much I liked this. Well, except maybe more Anais Nin.I read it one summer during high school after discovering it in our guestroom closet. I hid the book in my pillowcase so that my mother wouldn't see me reading it. I went through it in about 3 days, and continually revisit it when I'm feeling particularly saucy.It's basically a series of short stories focusing around sexual perversions and explorations, women discovering lesbianism, men with pervy affinities for young girls and/or boys, women drawn to the wrong kind of man, people looking for love and finding it in unexpected places. A lot of the desires and questions are fairly universal, and those that aren't will certainly intrigue.Of course, I probably have this book to blame for any of my unrealistic expectations of pleasure. Thanks, Anais Nin.

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.

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.


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.

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.


AUTHOR WEBCAM!!- Hi there… my name’s Anais, what’s yours?- Oh, er… hi Anais! My name’s Pau---- Manny. My name is Manny.- Hi Manny. How are you tonight?- Oh I'm fine thank you. Er.... you have a great laptop there.- Why thank you! It’s a Lenovo Ideapad. Do you think it looks cute?- Oh…yes.- You should see the things I can do with it.- Mm hmmm.- What would you like to see me do Manny? Would you like to see me … type? Or…correct a manuscript? Do you want me to call my publisher? I can complain about royalty payments if you want – I complain really well. You know - if you have a publisher we could complain together.- Could you… could you compose some erotica right now?- Of course I could, Manny! Now, would you like that to be in long luxurious leisurely sentences with metaphors clustered like grapes hanging from a vine turning golden pale in the Tuscany sun? Or would you like it to be urgent, short, sharp, like a James Ellroy sex doll, no word over four letters?- Please… just do what you feel you’re into, Anais.- Why thank you Manny, you’re a gentleman. All right. Let's see now...


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.


Aside from some very painfully obvious political incorrectness that comes with the time (these stories were originally written in the 1940s), it was a fun read. Not all of it is something you'd actually want to read in an erotica, in fact a lot of it is strange (e.g. incest, necrophilia) but I found it still interesting to read during this, because as Nin states in the intro, often she was trolling her erotica commissioner to see how far she could push her limits. One major thing I didn't care for though in this book was the long story in the middle called Elena. It just went on and on and the Pierre character was just atrociously annoying (point proven when he, later in his own story called Pierre, has sex with a washed up corpse). Ah well. To me this is more interesting to read from a literature standpoint, though I suppose there's still pleasure to be had within some of the stories from an actual erotic standpoint. The other volume, Little Birds, is probably better for that kind of thing since it's a much more 'short and sweet' collection of stories than this particular one.


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.

Ironman Ninetytwo

Some of the stories were somewhat interesting - although the most interesting stories really strained credibility. Perhaps I'm a prude, or perhaps modern times are somewhat different than the 70-odd years ago these stories were written - but surprise endings of pedophelia and incest really put me off and pedophelia, at least, I think should not be a subject for pornography, any more than snuff porn. The introduction says these stories were written for a patron with very specific requirements, and so perhaps there was some subversion, an attempt to provide exactly what was requested but still defy control.On the other hand, erotica written by a women from the pre-war "dark ages", when things were much more secret, and much more patriarchal, should be recognized.


Over a period of years, I tried to find what I could appreciate about Nin's writing. Sure, it was groundbreaking at the time it was written and critically, I guess that's important. It's pretty silly. I imagine college girls trying to copy Dita Von Teese's style read this in a dressing gown, drinking wine on some Urban Outfitters' silk bedspread before going out. That is enough to make me dislike it.


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.

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.

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