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77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uninhibited, poetic and sensual
"Delta of Venus" remains a very special work of erotic fiction. There is a glut of erotica on the marketplace these days, much of which far more obviously sexy than "Delta of Venus" - but, more often than not, the reader ends up laughing at the creaky writing and over-the-top sex scenes.
Anais Nin's book is very different. Her prose is perfurmed, intoxicating,...
Published on 29 Jun 2004

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In at the deep end
By page 2 of this book you're well into steamy sex; no literary foreplay here other than a fascinating brief introduction about how the book came to be written for a "collector". I've not read 50 Shades of Grey and wonder what the fuss is about but I did manage the first 40 pages of a copy left lying around and frankly not a lot happened. You can't say that for Anais...
Published 21 months ago by Dr. P. J. Nickson


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77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uninhibited, poetic and sensual, 29 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
"Delta of Venus" remains a very special work of erotic fiction. There is a glut of erotica on the marketplace these days, much of which far more obviously sexy than "Delta of Venus" - but, more often than not, the reader ends up laughing at the creaky writing and over-the-top sex scenes.
Anais Nin's book is very different. Her prose is perfurmed, intoxicating, rather than blatant, and she allows the realm of emotion to inform her stories. Although this may not sound expecially sexy in these "in your face" days, in fact Nin's work is profoundly erotic and deeply affecting. The writing is as subtle and powerful as a Debussy prelude. A feast for the senses.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An erotic feast for the senses, 22 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Delta of Venus is a spellbinding collection of short stories, each detailing a specific erotic encounter. Some of the themes are shocking; dealing with taboos that are rarely written about, but Nin writes with such sensitivity and flair that you are swept along with the adventure willingly. The images are vividly sensual and her passion for detail ensures that the reader is always captivated and involved. Nin writes from a feminine persective that will excite and intruige male readers and amaze women with her understanding of the female pysche. The characters are well-defined and herein lies her success: their personalities are the catalyst for the action. She brings them, and the situations that they find themselves in, vibrantly to life. There is something for everyone here. This is a book that will appeal to those who are looking for something more than a mindless romp: it is a beautifully written, thoughtful and most of all dazzlingly erotic book that will keep you thinking long after you have turned the last page. Nin is perhaps best known for her diaries, and Incest, the unexpurgated diary of 1932-34 is highly recommended if you are interested in getting to know the creator of Delta of Venus. The second volume in the "Journal of Love" series, Henry and June is also captivating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In at the deep end, 21 Nov 2012
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Dr. P. J. Nickson (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
By page 2 of this book you're well into steamy sex; no literary foreplay here other than a fascinating brief introduction about how the book came to be written for a "collector". I've not read 50 Shades of Grey and wonder what the fuss is about but I did manage the first 40 pages of a copy left lying around and frankly not a lot happened. You can't say that for Anais Nin's romp through all manner of sexual adventures reduced into action packed vignettes of straight, gay, bi-, oral, anal, group and more. I almost got the feeling that she had a tick list of what hadn't been included - "oh yes, necrophilia - haven't done that yet, lets get a voluptuous fresh corpse dragged out of the harbour". There is a story thread of sorts running through the book. The time setting is in what sounds like the early 1900s with many layers of petticoats requiring removal and visits to whorehouses in Paris where syphilis and pregnancy are occupational hazards. But the question is not "what happens next?" but "how?" and "with whom?".

In today's culture more serious questions arise such as the difference, if any, between erotica and pornography,issues of misogyny, exploitation and child abuse - when a sexual romp between a man and his two hitherto estranged teenage daughters - makes one wonder how acceptable this genre is today.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insights into women's erotic fiction and writing, 20 Aug 2009
By 
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I'm really surprised by some of the reviews and its really why I'm bothering to write one, there are a couple of good reviews by other reviewers of this book here and I'd encourage anyone browsing to read them all. I dont know how anyone could find it perverse, boring or a waste of time however and they must have missed the point altogether.

This is erotic fiction but its not a blacklace or ace or any of those other publications, Nin was commissioned to write a series of erotic pieces by a subscriber and the preface/introduction explains the scenario, being constantly encouraged to be more and more explicit and being encouraged to go into almost medical textbook detail when writing sex scenes.

Reading the book with this in mind transforms the text, its not simply amusing or entertaining in the way that other great works of erotic fiction are, like for instance Fanny Hill, or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Classics) but I believe provides an insight into the feminine psyche. Despite the demands of the subscriber/commissioner there are still tender moments, reflections or recollections handled in a thought provoking way, some nice twists in some of the shorter pieces like guys meeting in a bar to boastfully relating their amourous adventures and discovering they have been unwittingly involved in a greater game.

I was pleased by some of the sensitivity in style and characterisation which I would attribute to Nin as an author and a women of her time, although this could be a consequence of reading her non-erotic writing too which I was encouraged by reading this to look into. The pace I thought was good, although it is different from one tale to the other, perhaps as a consequence of the demands of the writing or genre or subscriber/commissioner like I mentioned already.

On the other hand its fair to say that the tender content suffers a bit from the need to return constantly to sex scenes, it didnt spoil it for me but it could for another reader if that's their focus. Both the writing style and I think the sexual content is in sharp contrast to that of Henry Miller, seriously so, I loved Nin's books, including her other erotic writing Little Birds (Penguin Modern Classics) but loathed Miller's books Tropic of Capricorn (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) and Tropic of Cancer (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) (even if Orwell felt they where ultimately life affirming and vervatious).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fires the imagination, explores the uncharted sensuality., 21 Jan 2001
By 
mas459@aol.com (Southern England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Delta of Venus (Paperback)
I saw the film first, then bought the book. It is an educational, shocking, facinating and stimulating read. Take it on holiday. Read it during the day on the beach, enact it during the night. It explores the physical in such painstaking detail as to leave no sexual stone unturned. There is "run of the mill" sex, then there is subtle, carefully thought out, mind blowing fantasy that is so far away from the normal that one is left breathlessly aware of being naive. A must for anyone with any kind of sex life and those seeking new life and excitement.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The forgotten beauty of the short story, 29 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Sometimes, just sometimes a writer is able to use the short story to give us a glimpse of a world where the characters are real, where you know they have had a past and will have a future, where the moments that we have them for, are taken from a real life. Whatever we know about Anais Nin, the bigamy, the Henry Miller affair, dosn't dilute from the fact that she was a storyteller, a storyteller of passion and great ability, and Delta of Venus is where she excelled in putting her understanding of the erotic on the page.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a sensual treat, 1 Aug 2001
By 
This review is from: Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Do not be put off by the poor film of the same name and loosly based on the this book. If you want a sensual erotic journey I can think of no better place to begin or end..enjoy!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, a first , imaginative,original and femmine, 28 Oct 1999
By A Customer
A series of short stories supposedly written for 'a collector'. Wickedly imaginative with a femmine slant on sexual fantasy and desires. Written in Paris during the depression, friend and lover of both Henry Miller and his wife June. Some of the stories are supposed to be personal experiences, some are re-told versions of accounts from fellow impoverised authors and artists. A snapshot of being poor in Paris in the thirties with the dreams of fine clothes, food and sexual adventures.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars don't believe the blurb, 17 May 2013
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This review is from: Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This book is billed as an insight into female sexuality, but from the introduction onwards it is clear that it is a collection of abusive sexual fantasies, which it seems also were never intended for publication.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening Tales With More To Say Than Meets The Eye Initially, 26 May 2010
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
As Anas Nin states herself in the preface of `Delta of Venus' this collection was never really intended to be published, in fact when these tales were originally written they were simply created for someone she names only as `The Collector' in order to bring in the money. What she did want to do with the erotic tales she wrote was create more of a story and flavour of literature rather than just the mechanical act itself. In fact reading these now, I imagine they were quite steamy stuff in the 1940's, it's the beautiful prose and the underlying themes that make Nin's collection so interesting to read.

Yes ok so there is a lot, and I mean a lot, of sex in these stories but it's not of the `wham bam thank you man variety', well actually sometimes it is but behind each act there is a story and occasionally almost a moral to the whole tale. Reading these I was actually reminded of fables and folklore on more occasion, especially in tales such as `The Ring' which takes place in Peru and looks at the madness love can create, the opening tale `The Hungarian Adventurer' seems to have a moral twist looking at promiscuity and the responsibilities you have with it.

Through this collection of fifteen works Nin not only deals with differing kinds of sex from true love and true lust to acts of sadomasochism, she also looks at other things in life. Sexuality is naturally a big theme in a collection, there is a tale set in a Brazilian boarding school which deals with homosexuality on several levels and bisexuality is a recurrent theme but she also looks at people's circumstances, lifestyles and their psychological states. This can lead to the darker side of life in fact in the collection there are some rather tragic tales. `Mathilde' is the tale of a hat maker who men simply cannot resist, which starts of rather hilariously, yet soon she falls into the world of opium leading to harder drugs and dangerous and frightening circumstances for the heroine.

There are also moments of hilarity, in the aforementioned `Mathilde' the way she gets propositioned by some `suitors' is utterly hilarious. I won't share for fear of not getting my review processed, let's just say it's comical and happens here there and everywhere. `Lilith' which I think was one of my favourite stories (there was one or two that left me a little nonchalant, but only one or two) has me laughing out loud. Lilith doesn't really like sex and so her husband swaps her sweetener for the almost Viagra like Spanish fly drug and tells her after. Her response being "what a trick to play on me. And I promised Mabel that we'd go to the movies together. I can't disappoint her. She's been shut in at home for a week. Suppose it begins to affect me at the movies." Imagining that conversation over tea in the 1940's really tickled me. This is a beautifully written collection of eye opening tales which if you look past the sex have so much more to say, if only `The Collector' had known!
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Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics)
Delta of Venus (Penguin Modern Classics) by Anais Nin (Paperback - 30 Mar 2000)
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