Anaïs Nin on Why She Wrote The Delta of Venus (1976)

Delta Of Venus by Anais Nin 1976 cover

Following is an excerpt from the preface of The Delta of Venus  by Anaïs Nin, in which she discusses why she wrote this 1976 collection of erotica, mainly aimed at a female audience:

 “At the time (1941) we were all writing erotica at a dollar a page, I realized that for centuries we had only one model for this literary genre — the writing of man. I was already conscious of a difference between the masculine and feminine treatment of sexual experience.

I know that there was a great disparity between Henry Miller’s explicitness and my ambiguities — between his humorous, Rabelasian view of sex and my poetic descriptions of sexual relationships in the unpublished portions of the Diary.

As I wrote in Volume Three of the Diary,  I had a feeling that Pandora’s box contained the mysteries of women’s sensuality, so different from man’s and for which man’s language was inadequate.

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Anais Nin

 Anaïs Nin Quotes on Writing, Life, and Love
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Women, I thought, were more apt to fuse sex with emotion, with love, and to single out one man rather than be promiscuous.

This became apparent to me as I wrote the novels and the Diary, and I saw it even more clearly when I began to teach. But although women’s attitude towards sex was quite distinct form that of men, we had not yet learned how to write about it.

Here in the erotica I was writing to entertain, under pressure form a client who wanted me to “leave out the poetry.”

I believed that my style was derived from a reading of men’s works. For this reason I long felt that I had compromised my feminine self. I put the erotica aside.

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Little Birds by Anais Nin (1979)

Little Birds: Erotica by Anaïs Nin
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Rereading it these many years later I see that my own voice was not completely suppressed In numerous passages I was intuitively using a woman’s language, seeing sexual experience from a woman’s point of view.

I finally decided to release the erotica for publication because it shows the beginning efforts of a woman in a world that had been the domain of men.”

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The early diaries of Anais Nin

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