Delta of Venus

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For the film adaptation, see Delta of Venus (film)
Delta of Venus
First edition cover art
Author Anaïs Nin
Cover artist Milton Glaser
Richard Merkin (photo)
Country United States
Language English
Genre Short stories, erotica
Publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 250 pp (first edition)
ISBN 0-15-124656-4

Delta of Venus is a book of fifteen short stories by Anaïs Nin published posthumously in 1977[1] — though largely written in the 1940s as erotica for a private collector.[2]

In 1994 a film inspired by the book was directed by Zalman King.


The collection of short stories that makes up this anthology was written during the 1940s for a private client known simply as "Collector". This "Collector" commissioned Nin, along with other now well-known writers (including Henry Miller and the poet George Barker), to produce erotic fiction for his private consumption.[3]

Despite being told to leave poetic language aside and concentrate on graphic, sexually explicit scenarios, Nin was able to give these stories a literary flourish and a layer of images and ideas beyond the pornographic. In her Diary (Oct. 1941), she jokingly referred to herself as "the madam of this snobbish literary house of prostitution, from which vulgarity was excluded".[4]

While using the Kama Sutra and other writings such as those of Krafft-Ebing as models, Nin was very conscious that the languages of male and female sexuality were distinct.[5] Although at times she scorned her erotica, and feared for their impact on her literary reputation,[6] they have subsequently been seen by sex-positive feminists as pioneering work.[7]


In Delta of Venus Anaïs Nin conjures up a glittering cascade of sexual encounters. Creating her own 'language of the senses', she explores an area that was previously the domain of male writers and brings to it her own unique perceptions. Her vibrant and impassioned prose evokes the thematic concerns of the essence of female sexuality in a world where only love has meaning. Within Delta of Venus, Nin explores what constitutes masculinity, patriarchal dominance, homosexual desire, sexual restraint, pedophilia, and incest.

Short stories[edit]

1. The Hungarian Adventurer / 2. Mathilde / 3. The Boarding School / 4. The Ring / 5. Mallorca / 6. Artists and Models / 7. Lilith / 8. Marianne / 9. The Veiled Woman / 10. Elena / 11. The Basque and Bijou / 12. Pierre / 13. Manuel / 14. Linda / 15. Marcel

See also[edit]


  1. ^ I. Ousby, ed., The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (1995) p. 683
  2. ^ Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus & Little Birds (1996), pp. 13–16
  3. ^ Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus & Little Birds (1996), pp. 13–16
  4. ^ * Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus & Little Birds (1996), p. 16
  5. ^ Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus & Little Birds (1996), pp. 15 & 19
  6. ^ Anne T. Salvatore, Anaïs Nin's Narratives, University Press of Florida (2001) ISBN 0-8130-2113-8, p. 17
  7. ^ Susie Bright, Totally Heterotica (1995), p. 2

Further reading[edit]