Delta of Venus

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]

Delta of Venus
First edition cover art
AuthorAnaïs Nin
Cover artistMilton Glaser
Richard Merkin (photo)
CountryUnited States
GenreShort stories, erotica
PublisherHarcourt Brace Jovanovich
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Pages250 pp (first edition)

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] His identity has since been revealed as Roy M. Johnson (1881–1960), a wealthy American businessman from Ardmore, Oklahoma, who had discovered the Healdton Oil Pool.[4]

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".[5]

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.[6] Although at times she scorned her erotica, and feared for their impact on her literary reputation,[7] they have subsequently been seen by sex-positive feminists as pioneering work.[8]

Short storiesEdit

The short stories which Delta of Venus anthologizes are these:

  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

The book, unlike the later Little Birds, contains no poetry as such. Its introductory preface contains entries from her Diary, which expressed her hope that its unexpurgated version would one day be published.

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ Paul Herron, Anaïs Nin:A Book of Mirrors (Sky Blue Press, 1996), p.427
  5. ^ * Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus & Little Birds (1996), p. 16
  6. ^ Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus & Little Birds (1996), pp. 15 & 19
  7. ^ Anne T. Salvatore, Anaïs Nin's Narratives, University Press of Florida (2001) ISBN 0-8130-2113-8, p. 17
  8. ^ Susie Bright, Totally Heterotica (1995), p. 2

Further readingEdit