on February 16, 2001
When I first read "Delta of Venus", I was but a 20-something, as yet uneducated in the ways of love and the world. But I wasn't too young to feel the effect of Nin's dreamy prose, the heightened tease of her language, the titillation of the poetic images of lovers of every variety and combination, all experiencing the joys of the flesh. I never knew descriptions of heretofore "clinical" bodyparts could seem so ... beautiful.
Now that I'm older, and can more fully appreciate the various twists and turns of sexuality and desire, Nin's stories are even more arousing, if for no other reason than the fact that I myself am more experienced in these matters. All combinations of love - man/woman, woman/woman, three women together, and more - are exposed here and brought to life with a passionate detachment, if such a thing is possible. There is no guilt within these pages; a reader must be willing to bathe, suspended, in the heated waters of love, taking what comes and accepting it on its own terms without judgment.
Yes, it's graphic. I disagree with the idea that "pornography" cannot be an art. I prefer to think of good erotic literature as just that: an art form often attempted but rarely achieved in the purest sense of the word. "Penthouse Forum" is porn - "Delta of Venus" (as well as "Little Birds" and "Spy In The House of Love") is the best example of literary erotica, the combinations of love and the mystery of orgasm and sensuality.
on August 9, 2000
Delta of Venus joyously explores the art of human sexuality. Anais Nin's writing style is at once lyrical and straightforward. While she leaves no doubt in the reader's mind just what is going on, her countless love scenes are imbued with so much warmth and dignity that one could scarcely find them offensive. But most importantly, Anais understood that sex is nothing without emotion, and it's the emotions of her myriad characters that cause the reader to turn happily florid with every page. She understood that while sex is not to be taken lightly, it's certainly not something to be restrained, either. Lastly, of all the locales depicted in this collection of stories, she lends a special affection to Paris. I suspect that of all of Anais' lovers, the City of Light was the dearest to her heart, to wit: "At five I always felt shivers of sensuality, shared with the sensual Paris. As soon as the light faded, it seemed to me that every woman I saw was running to meet her lover, that every man was running to meet his mistress." and "But we were enjoying an orgasm, as couples do in doorways and under bridges at night all over Paris."
on June 3, 2001
Nowadays, we use the terms "erotica" and "pornography" interchangeably, with "erotica" having a slightly more positive connotation. It is interesting to note that "erotica" is derived from the name of the Greek god of love, Eros, while "pornography" is derived from a Greek word "pornos" that means "on the slave market" or "sold on the slave market." Hence, the higher quality, more artistic, more noble works of titillation are described as erotic. This book, Delta of Venus, defines erotic. There are some passgaes in it that read like music, others that are so subtle, and yet they all arouse the senses and cast an erotic veil around the reader. This book is a feast for the senses. If you want to be turned on, buy this book. If you are seeking the blow-by-blow of Penthouse Letters, go somewhere else.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2002
Despite the fact that Anais Nin has departed from the world her prose remains to testify to the fact that not only can she spin a tale of infinite quality and cohesiveness, she knows how to write geniune erotica that appeals to a wide range of palettes. Her words are eloquent and yet not wordy. The short stories are developed so that they follow the previous offering in such a way that you believe yourself to be a third party and the only person capable of appreciating where you think she is going with the book. Just when you think you might know the ending, Nin adds another delicious twist and you are once again caught off guard. Nin should be the standard for modern erotica. There is nothing prissy or insulting in her writing. It is simply what erotica was always meant to be whatever your sexual persona may be. Enjoy...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2004
"Delta of Venus" is an absolute pleasure to read. Each short story here flows seamlessly into the next, making it read like a never-ending hallucination. Anais simultaneously shocked and aroused me with her stories. Her writing is startlingly beautiful, like that of an (eroticised) angel. While her style is conspicuously feminine, Anais Nin doesn't shy away from more hardcore territory, as she confidently explores the taboos of sex: incest, bisexuality, paedophilia (The Boarding School), bestiality and even genital mutilation. Anais's decadent world is rich with exotic imagery and opulence. This is no "Mills and Boon" - this is a literary delight I'd recommend to anyone seeking an all-out retreat from reality. The sheer majesty of Anais's talent for writing is just as seductive as the erotic content within the book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2002
I was a little worried when the first story featured a pedophile, but the rest of the stories were hot. I guess what turned people on back then can still turn them on now. I liked the lives of the French painters and the women who loved them.
on July 18, 2002
I read this book in 1998. I thought it was amazing! The stories seemed very erotic and well written. It was hard not to be impressed by how much passion and beauty that Nin captured in each one of the erotic encounters! Sadly, with erotica, it is the passion that is lost first, and Thank God Nin was a woman who could rise above the rest!
I am sad to say though, that I normally re-read everything eventually, and in this case, I am unable to enjoy the book a second time. The emotion seems to be gone and to me that seems to be an indication that the plot was carrying my attention and not the writing itself.
Not her best work, but I still highly recommend!
on August 15, 2001
_Delta of Venus_ is one of the few books in my smut library that I reread. If you're attracted to the world she writes in (Paris in the early 40s, everyone smokes opium and lounges about wearing silk chiffon), it is a voluptuous dream and a serious turn on. If you're not, then you will be bored by the long descriptions of lips and thighs and smells and head trips. Some of the sex is scary-freaky, but you're so stoned by the prose you can't get too worried. I love making a little gift of this to lovers, with a sexy, nasty note in the flyleaf. Which is entirely in the spirit of the book. Spray it with some of your perfume first.
on June 16, 2000
"He did not know that when the erotic and the tender aremixed in a woman, they form a powerful bond, almost a fixation,"and contrary to Pierre, one of her characters, Anaïs Nin can write a full doctoral dissertation on the matter. Teeming superlative eroticism and sensuality, Delta of Venus is the pre-eminent anthology of luxury from a feminine panorama, wherein each and every one of the rich though not-necessarily-explicit details are contemplated to the extreme. Prolific with lascivious, quixotic imagination, the fanciful and mystical substance of Nin's writings prove unfailing to delight the most passionless of readers.
on June 3, 2001
Anais Nin may have pushed back some boundaries in her day, but in the 21st century her writing holds little of value. Reading through the stories in Delta of Venus, I was bored by the repetitiveness, and the undeveloping one-dimensionality of her storylines and characters; her language is powerful and descriptive, but dishonest. It seemed a little sad that the stories' characters were so bound by the limitations of their sexuality. As a writer, she should have brought her characters more to life. The fact that these stories arose out of commissioned porn - if what Nin claims is true - is apparent.