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Venus in Furs [Hardcover]

Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 23 2010
This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

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About the Author

Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch was an Austrian writer of fiction and short stories, who inspired the clinical category of ‘masochism’. His complex sexual fantasies, involving the love of pain and submission, ignited a once secretive pursuit into that of a recognised fetish. His masterpiece inspired a famous song of the same name by The Velvet Underground, and continues to be referred to as a defining work within the realm of erotic literature.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Artfully and tastefully done. Dec 18 2001
By MungoB
A well thought out erotic tale.
Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch's 'Venus In Furs', is interesting though eccentric, and perverse though compelling. Besieged in wonder and suspense, the love affair between characters: Severin von Kusiemski and Wanda von Dunajew, becomes a roller coaster ride of desire and emotion.
The obsessive fantasy to be enslaved and brutalized by the woman he loves becomes a cruel reality for poor old Severin. As beautiful Wanda slowly becomes thrilled and captivated by the notion of fulfilling her role in his fantasy, a role that previously made her shrug and laugh, she eventually transforms herself into the controlling dominatrix of Severin's dreams--by becoming more ideal at the sadomasochistic lifestyle than he had ever dreamed was possible. As Severin becomes the ever so content and happy slave, this tug-of-war between self-esteem and power begins to twist and turn with the innocent and deadly psychological games played out between the two.
Written more than a hundred years ago, this psychodrama of love, bound by the perverted desires of one and the demon lying dormant within the other, was tastefully and artfully done.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 19th Century Pornography? No. Sept. 6 2001
One thing is for certain: you won't read very many books that tackle a topic such as this one. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch ended up lending his name to the sexual fetish known as S&M, due mainly to this book. "Venus in Furs" is a fictionalized account of Sacher-Masoch's own sexual peccadilloes. What is surprising about this book is when it was written. It was penned in the late 19th century, although the subject matter would seem more appropriate in our own decadent age.
The book introduces us to Severin, who has an unusual sexual proclivity. He likes to be dominated by women. He wants to be an "anvil" to a woman's "hammer". This fetish involves becoming a slave to a woman, a process that is actually consummated by a written contract. Severin meets a young, gorgeous woman by the name of Wanda von Dunajew. Dunajew is a wealthy widow who quickly becomes attracted to Severin's intellectual abilities, and the two strike up a relationship. Severin immediately tries to get Wanda to indulge his fantasy, and most of the book details the evolution of this relationship. Severin becomes Wanda's servant, even taking the name Gregor at Wanda's insistence. Severin is forced to dress as a servant, and must take care of Wanda's needs at all times. Interspersed with Severin's hardships are episodes of kicking and whippings, as well as sexual relations. Severin can think of nothing more pleasurable than to be tortured by Wanda, not only physically, but mentally as well. When Wanda strikes up relationships with other men, Severin is thrust into the pits of despair/pleasure, as he is afraid of losing Wanda to somebody else. I won't spoil the ending for you, but it does involve some twists and turns that are somewhat interesting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars derivation of the term "masochism" July 25 1997
By A Customer
_Venus in Furs, a Novel: Letters of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Emilie Mataja_ by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch contains the both the story "Venus in Furs" and a selection of letters between Sacher-Masoch and budding writer, Emilie Mataja.

"Venus in Furs" is about a man who is obsessed with having his new mistress treat him like a slave. In particular, he wants her to become his ideal "venus in furs" and begs her to don furs and wield a whip against him. His desire to be treated as such is tested when she convinces him to sign an agreement to be her slave. The story is well-written, and one becomes drawn into the misery experienced by the man as his mistress becomes progressively more cruel.

The letters between Sacher- Masoch and Mataja show Sacher-Masoch's inability at times to separate his fiction from his real life. Sacher-Masoch speaks of his married life and encourages Mataja in her writing, but his
professional encouragement is shot through with requests to meet Mataja so that he can be whipped by her while she is wearing fur.

Although there are certainly more graphically erotic examples present in current fiction, this book is a must read for those wanting to know why Sacher-Masoch's writings inspired Krafft-Ebing to create the term "masochism."
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Deeply Spiritual Book June 23 2001
Venus in Furs is one of the most spritual works of erotica I've ever read. Much has been made of its "perversity", to the extent that the name of its author is also the name of a psycho-sexual disfunction. However, I feel that this is a grossly unfair way to treat a book that deals so beautifully with the descent and return of a man through his psyche.
Sevrin's tale is one of submission, slavery, and redemption. It is through the experience of being a woman's slave that he realizes his own worth. To treat this as an epic of laciviousness is puritanism of the lowest kind.
Venus in Furs also reminds us that the difference between hammer and anvil may not be so clear cut. It is Severin who brings out the whip in his lover. He then reaps the whirlwind, and can only ride it out.
This book is recommended for people who can see though the drivel that has been dripped upon it since its creation.
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