Little Birds (short story collection)

Last updated
Little Birds
Little Birds Nin.jpg
First edition
Author Anaïs Nin
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Publication date
1979
Media typePrint (paperback)
ISBN 0-15-152761-X

Little Birds is Anaïs Nin's second published work of erotica, which appeared in 1979 two years after her death, [1] but was apparently written in the early 1940s when she was part of a group "writing pornography for a dollar a day." [2]

Contents

The book is a collection of thirteen short stories. The sexual topics covered are quite varied, ranging from pedophilia to lesbianism, but linked by an interest in female subjectivity [3] and in the dialectic of discourse and intercourse. [4] Many of the same characters that appear in Delta of Venus , her first published book of erotica, reappear here.

Title and themes

The 'little birds' of the title story refer both to the actual birds used by its exhibitionist protagonist to attract young schoolgirls to his attic, and (metaphorically) to the girls' flight when he finally exposes himself. [5]

In other stories, Nin calls into question the objectifying tendencies of the male gaze; both male and female complicity in masochism; and the pornographic genre itself through her subtle subversion. [6]

The contents of the book include a "Preface" and the thirteen short stories: "Little Birds", "The Woman on the Dune", "Lina", "Two Sisters", "Sirocco", "The Maja", "A Model", "The Queen", "Hilda and Rango", "The Chanchiquito", "Saffron", "Mandra", and "Runaway".

Conditions of writing

While writing her erotica, and organising that of her fellow writers such as George Barker, Nin referred to herself jokingly as the "madam of this snobbish literary house of prostitution" for a client who examined sexual activity "to the exclusion of aspects which are the fuel that ignites it. Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional." [7] In her 1976 preface to Delta of Venus she said "I had a feeling that Pandora's box contained the mysteries of woman's sensuality, so different from man's and for which man's language was inadequate.... Here in the erotica I was writing to entertain, under pressure from 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. 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." [7]

Susie Bright saw the results as forming part of a pioneering feminist erotica. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anaïs Nin</span> French-born American author (1903–1977)

Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell was a French-born American diarist, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories and erotica. Born to Cuban parents in France, Nin was the daughter of the composer Joaquín Nin and the classically trained singer Rosa Culmell. Nin spent her early years in Spain and Cuba, about sixteen years in Paris (1924–1940), and the remaining half of her life in the United States, where she became an established author.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Erotica</span> Category of sexually stimulating media

Erotica is any literary or artistic work that deals substantively with subject matter that is erotic, sexually stimulating or sexually arousing but is not generally considered to be pornographic. Erotic art may use any artistic form to depict erotic content, including painting, sculpture, drama, film or music. Erotic literature and erotic photography have become genres in their own right.

The role of sadism and masochism in fiction has attracted serious scholarly attention. Anthony Storr has commented that the volume of sadomasochist pornography shows that sadomasochistic interest is widespread in Western society; John Kucich has noted the importance of masochism in late-19th-century British colonial fiction. This article presents appearances of sadomasochism in literature and works of fiction in the various media.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Erotic literature</span> Literary genre

Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories and accounts of eros intended to arouse similar feelings in readers. This contrasts erotica, which focuses more specifically on sexual feelings. Other common elements are satire and social criticism. Much erotic literature features erotic art, illustrating the text.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Susie Bright</span> American writer and feminist

Susannah Bright is an American feminist, author, journalist, critic, editor, publisher, producer, fine print editor, and performer, often on the subject of politics and sexuality.

<i>Delta of Venus</i> 1977 short story collection by Anaïs Nin

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lesbian erotica</span> Visual art depiction of female-to-female sexuality

Lesbian erotica deals with depictions in the visual arts of lesbianism, which is the expression of female-on-female sexuality. Lesbianism has been a theme in erotic art since at least the time of ancient Rome, and many regard depictions of lesbianism to be erotic.

<i>House of Incest</i>

House of Incest is a slim volume of 72 pages written by Anaïs Nin. Originally published in 1936, it is Anaïs Nin's first work of fiction. But unlike her diaries and erotica, House of Incest does not detail the author's relationships with famous lovers like Henry Miller, nor does it contain graphic depiction of sex. Rather, House of Incest is a surrealistic look within the narrator's subconscious mind as she attempts to escape from a dream in which she is trapped, or in Nin's words, as she attempts to escape from "the woman's season in hell."

<i>The Diary of Anaïs Nin</i> Book by Anaïs Nin

The Diary of Anaïs Nin is the published version of Anaïs Nin's own private manuscript diary, which she began at age 11 in 1914 during a trip from Europe to New York with her mother and two brothers. Nin would later say she had begun the diary as a letter to her father, Cuban composer Joaquín Nin, who had abandoned the family a few years earlier.

<i>Henry and June</i> 1986 book excerpted from diaries of Anaïs Nin

Henry and June: From the Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin is a 1986 book that is based upon material excerpted from the unpublished diaries of Anaïs Nin. It corresponds temporally to the first volume of Nin's published diaries, written between October 1931 and October 1932, yet is radically different, in that that book begins with a description of the landscape of and around her home and never mentions her husband, whereas Henry and June begins with discussion of Nin's sex life and is full of her struggles and passionate relationship with husband Hugo, and then, as the novel/memoir progresses, other lovers.

Venus in the Cloister or The Nun in her Smock, known in the original French as Vénus dans le cloître, ou la Religieuse en chemise (1683) is a work of erotic fiction by the Abbé du Prat, which is a pseudonym for an unknown author. Candidates for whom this might be include Jean Barrin and François de Chavigny de La Bretonnière.

<i>The Four-Chambered Heart</i>

The Four-Chambered Heart is a 1950 autobiographical novel by French-born writer Anaïs Nin, part of her Cities of the Interior sequence. It is about a woman named Djuna, her love, her thoughts, her emotions, her doubts, her decisions, and her sacrifices. It is not considered one of Nin's most noteworthy novels, yet it continues to be referenced in various studies and discussions regarding Nin and her body of work.

Women's erotica is any erotic material that caters specifically to women target-demographic of various sexual preferences. When erotica is specifically directed at lesbians, it is referred to as lesbian erotica. Women's erotica is available from a variety of media including video games, websites, books, comics, short stories, films, photography, magazines, audio, anime and manga. The content may cover many aspects of sexuality, from relationships to fetishes; the main idea being to convey sex-positivism from a woman's perspective, or to feature female empowerment and sexual fantasies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steven Reigns</span> American poet, artist and activist (born 1975)

Steven Reigns is an American poet, artist and activist known for his poetry publications, his work as West Hollywood's first City Poet, his participatory art projects, his LGBT activism, and his scholarly work on Anaïs Nin.

<i>Delta of Venus</i> (film) 1994 American film that was released in 1995

Delta of Venus is a 1994 American erotic drama film directed by Zalman King and starring Audie England, Costas Mandylor, and Marek Vašut. It is inspired by the posthumously published 1977 short story collection Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin. NC-17 and R-rated versions of the film exist; the NC-17 rating is due to explicit sex. The DVD release contains both versions of the film. The film was released in June 1995 in the United States.

Feminist views on pornography range from condemnation of all of it as a form of violence against women, to an embracing of some forms as a medium of feminist expression. This debate reflects larger concerns surrounding feminist views on sexuality, and is closely related to those on prostitution, on BDSM, and other issues. Pornography has been one of the most divisive issues in feminism, particularly in anglophone (English-speaking) countries. This deep division was exemplified in the feminist sex wars of the 1980s, which pitted anti-pornography activists against pro-pornography ones.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Convent pornography</span> Pornography within the catholic convent between nuns

Convent pornography, convent erotica, friar erotica, priest erotica, monk erotica, or clergy erotica includes paintings, sculpture, photographs, dramatic arts, music and writings that show scenes of erotic or sexual nature involving clergy.

Feminist pornography is a genre of film developed by or for those dedicated to gender equality. It was created for the purpose of encouraging people in their pursuit of freedom through sexuality, equality, and pleasure.

Shosha Pearl is the pseudonym of an anonymous Orthodox Jewish writer, known for her erotic fiction that is set in the Orthodox community and adheres to Orthodox halacha. She has self-published two books, the anthology I Will Watch You (2015) and a novella entitled Her Neighbor's Pleasure (2016), in addition to several short stories. She has also been published by the websites Hevria and Jewrotica.

References

  1. London: W. H. Allen, 1979 ISBN   0491022182--London: Penguin, 1990 ISBN   0-14-014663-6 (also in Twentieth Century Classics, 1991)
  2. Ian Sansom (2002-03-02). "Master of the red Martini, a review of "The Chameleon Poet: A Life of George Barker" by Robert Fraser". The Guardian .
  3. A. T. Salvatore ed., Anaïs Nin's Narratives (2004) p. 27
  4. P. Jason, The Critical Response to Anaïs Nin (1996) p. 102
  5. Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus & Little Birds (1996) pp. 294–297
  6. A. T. Salvatore ed., Anaïs Nin's Narratives (2004) pp. x, 18, 33
  7. 1 2 Anaïs Nin (September 1976). "Preface". Delta of Venus . Archived from the original on October 25, 2009.
  8. Susie Bright ed, Totally Heterotica (1995) p. 2 and p. 150

Further reading