Recently, I was re-reading Anais Nin’s Delta Of Venus. I also happened to have Kate Bush’s The Sensual World on repeat, which, god bless her, is one of my favourite records from Ms Kate herself. Kate’s breathy, whispered “Mmmmmm” and “Stepping out of the page/ into the sensual world” fit the description of Elena perfectly in Delta Of Venus (the Elena chapter), where her blooming sensuality is aroused fervently by her lover. It takes on a ferociousness that threatens to consume herself – but she discovers herself in the process.
This set me thinking: Are there any books out there that demand the perfect music to be read to? So…ta-da! I present thee: two books and two records with very similar themes!
Bonus points: Listen to the records while reading the books, AND let me know what you think.
Anais Nin’s Delta Of Venus and Kate Bush’s The Sensual World (specifically the title track)
Anais Nin’s beautiful ability to set the imagination ablaze is perfect for her erotica books. Wait – before you turn away in disgust, let me stress that her erotica CAN be appreciated as literature, and rightly so! Obviously, sex happens – but Delta Of Venus is written in such a way that doesn’t explicitly state the obvious. She invests emotions in her characters – through sex their femininity, and thus their understanding of themselves grow. The Sensual World has Kate singing about the same subject matter. However she never gives the game away, but merely hints at it (To where the water and the earth caress/and the down of a peach says “Mmm, yes”). It was inspired by Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in James Joyce’s Ulysses. I haven’t read Ulysses but I don’t think it has the same subject matter as Delta Of Venus!
Yukio Mishima’s Confessions Of A Mask and Momus’s Tender Pervert (specifically The Homosexual and Bishonen)
Momus is a Yukio Mishima admirer and a Japanese culture fan, and I’ve always thought that The Homosexual was written with Confessions Of A Mask in mind (or vice versa?). Kochan, the titular character in Confessions Of A Mask, struggles with his burgeoning homosexuality but strives to keep it under wraps by pretending that he is a straight male. Some people have postulated that Confessions Of A Mask was semi-autobiographical due to the apparent similarities between Kochan and Mishima, but we’ll never know the truth, eh? The Homosexual also rotates around this self-denial, but the character exacts revenge on all his name-callers by sleeping with their wives, and savouring the delight he brings to their women (nasty!).
Momus’s Bishonen explores the desire of a young man, considered effeminate by his peers, to die young in a glorious death as wished by his stepfather. Incidentally, this “death in glory” ideal is presented in Runaway Horses.
So…do you have any recommendations for similar books and literature in this vein? Let me know!