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Delta of Venus by Anais Nin

Delta of Venus (original 1977; edition 2004)

by Anais Nin

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Title:Delta of Venus
Authors:Anais Nin
Info:Harvest Books (2004), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin (1977)

1001 (25) 1001 books (20) 20th century (47) American literature (19) Anais Nin (24) classic (26) classics (17) erotic (53) erotic fiction (15) erotic literature (11) erotica (601) eroticism (13) Erotik (22) fiction (498) France (23) French (44) French literature (38) literature (52) novel (19) own (21) Paris (12) read (43) sex (66) sexuality (60) short stories (247) smut (12) stories (32) to-read (44) unread (20) women (22)



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English (24)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Sensual and sultry, I feel that I need to read some French feminists and then give this book a second close reading. It's amazing erotica, but I suspect there's so much more to it... ( )
  50MinuteMermaid | Nov 14, 2013 |
Starting this 'review' by saying, that I will not rate this book, despite that I read it. Why not? Well, for this reason: it wouldn't be fair.
I took it home with me from a BookCrossing meeting, only because it is on the 1001 BTRBYD-list and I wanted to tick one off again. I dislike romance books, let alone erotica like this.
I do not have any book to compare it to, can't 'judge' if it is good or bad, just say that I did not like it and I was not really interested in what I was reading. To be fair to the book, I'll leave it at that.
I just hope it'll be travelling on soon.
  BoekenTrol71 | Oct 1, 2013 |
I haven’t read Anais Nin before and thought as she is an important literary voice of the 20th century, that I ought to familiarise myself with her work. But I’m not sure I can continue reading these stories, they are a desolate landscape; utterly bleak, completely brutal, I’m just not coping. If I read any more I may actually need therapy. I thought Anais Nin might perhaps be a modern risqué version of Colette or a female DH Lawrence, but I find instead the most horrific, sad, terrible material.

So far, Nin has written about incest, gang rape, pedophilia and mutilation in almost clinical prose. I’m glad I read her preface where she explains that she wrote these stories under financial duress for an anonymous client who specifically requested stories about sex with no love and no poetry. She thinks however that in spite of that, the stories do contain a feminine voice buried within them. I believe that to be true and perhaps Nin is subversively (within this context of commissioned stories) highlighting the terrible things that can happen to the human psyche when you remove love, attachment and poetry from desire. Whilst I respect Nin as a writer, I just don’t want to spend any more time in this disturbing world.

This book is not for the faint-hearted or the overly sensitive and is definitely not for me. But for those who are more robust and curious…well, sure…see what you think. It has a kind of beautiful darkness. ( )
1 vote Sophiejf | Aug 22, 2013 |
An undercurrent of darkness runs through these stories. Despite the copious amounts of outrageous sex being had (it *is* erotica after all), every one of the characters seems to be fundamentally unfulfilled, indulging in sexual exploits in a desperately doomed attempt to ease some deep-seated suffering or neurosis. It's less about sex than about power, and for every beautiful description of wild adventure between mutually-consenting adults, there are several that are squicky and/or triggering (featuring various sorts of rape, emotional abuse, pedophilia, incest, bestiality, etc.) and many more borderline cases of subtle manipulation. Any and all of which might be your thing, and that's cool, but it doesn't do a lot for me.

I love it for that strangeness and for its astonishingly nuanced portrayal of human relationships, but for me, that undercurrent makes it function poorly as erotica... while the stories don't have enough narrative solidity to function well as anything else. ( )
  wirehead | Jul 9, 2013 |
Let's get one thing straight. This is erotica. Erotica erotica erotica erotica erotica. You know that phenomenon when you say something so many times that it temporarily loses its meaning? Firstly, it's a psychological phenomenon known as semantic satiation. Secondly, that's what I'm trying to do here with the word 'erotica'. Erotica erotica erotica erotica erotica. Run through that a few more times if you haven't sufficiently stripped yourself of assumptions, contextual peripheries, and all other sorts of ideological clutter. Also, don't even think of the word 'porn'. This isn't one-two-hup-hup-hup gratification on the simplest level of human biological stimulation. This is literature.

Feeling free of all that? Good. Because the theme that I'm working through in this review is this: erotica is a genre of wasted potential.

You heard me. Wasted potential. Just look at its current representative in the popular media. Not only is it a ripoff of a fanfiction of Twilight, a book that is an advocate of both poor writing and abusive relationships, it manages to compound both of those qualities to even more horrendous levels. Thanks to that book, the misconceptions regarding the more eclectic sexual activities have never been more horrible or widespread. I'm not even going to try to discuss the writing.

Now, let's return to the book at hand. Delta of Venus was published in 1977, thirty-four years before 50SoG. Had the erotica genre been taken seriously at any time since then, it could have been a game changer. Perhaps not for the quality of writing, which comes nowhere close to the masters, but not only does it cover a wide variety of sexual situations in unflinching physical detail without the slightest hint of judgment, it also touches on a huge number of issues that are present in how society treats sexual matters today (Yes, once again I am deconstructing societal issues. If you don't like it, shoo. You have the rest of the Internet. This place is mine.)

These issues include: varieties of sexuality, sociocultural gender constraints, patriarchal oppression, proper conductance of BDSM, fetishes ranging from pedophilia to necrophilia to gerontophilia to myriad objects, scents, textures, you name it, Nin's probably mentioned it. While her writing isn't the most prettily poetic thing under the sun, what it does accomplish is show exactly what is running through the participants' minds without once fetishizing abusive or bigoted aspects of sexuality, as well as get the reader comfortable with parts of the anatomy that society for whatever reason has an attitude both puritanical and childish towards. When you can't use the word 'vagina' when discussing abortion issues in governmental procedures, you know something's extremely wrong with the world.

I know there is literature out there that deals with the more uneasy aspects of sexual issues, even some like Lolita that are widely praised by the literary community. That doesn't change the fact that the genre of erotica is largely met with titters and contempt when it isn't banned outright, and the majority of its literature is filled with connotations of unrealistic sexual dynamics, borderline abusive situations, and frankly just a lot of bad writing.

When it comes to sociocultural progress, I see no catalyst more powerful than that of literature, especially literature that survives and thrives for centuries well into present times. Out of every genre of literature, the least likely to be taught in classrooms is that of erotica. Maybe you'll get a book that involves rape, or one that hints at homosexual liaisons, or perhaps relationships deemed illicit by reason of race, class, or culture. It is highly unlikely that a book that details sexual relations both healthy and unrestricted by stereotypes will ever make its way into the classroom without being met by childish behavior by both the students and their parents. Not while sexual education ignores the ramifications of rape culture, the realities of relationships fluid in both gender and sexual preferences, and the harmful effects of the ideologically constraining concepts of masculinity and femininity. No representation in classrooms leads to infantile reactions to it in reality leads to barely any incentive for writers to try their hand at it. It's a vicious cycle.

So, next time you see someone with 50SoG, inform them that there is a much better book out there called Delta of Venus that is not only erotica, but classic erotica. They probably won't blindly enjoy it as much as the former, but one hopes it will get them thinking. A much better end result, in my mind. ( )
2 vote Korrick | Jun 28, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anaïs Ninprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Commengé, BéatriceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lokka, PirkkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mörling, MikaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156029030, Paperback)

An extraordinarily rich and exotic collection from the mistress of erotic writing


In Delta of Venus, Anais Nin pens 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:27 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In Delta of Venus Anais 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. This is an extraordinarily rich and exotic collection from the master of erotic writing.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182849, 014103730X

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