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Venus in Furs (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 5 Oct 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (5 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140447814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140447811
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895) was born in the Galician city of Lemberg. A novelist and poet, he is also known for his 'Stories of the Russian Court'. Joachim Neugroschel has translated Hermann Hess's 'Siddhartha' and Thomas Mann's 'Death in Venice' for Penguin Classics. He has won three PEN translation awards and a French-American translation prize. Larry Wolff is Professor of History at Boston College.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Venus in Furs' is the story of Severin von Kusiemski, a young man who falls passionately in love (or lust?, you decide) with a flame-haired beauty called Wanda von Dunajew. Initially he wants Wanda to be his wife but says that, if she is unable to commit in this way, he will become her slave to do with as she will.

This is a story about sexual obsession, cruelty and humiliation, and although it was written in the late nineteenth century the psychological power of the novel is still pretty shocking. (Just as an aside, if you are reading this for its pornographic content, you might be better looking elsewhere!) It becomes even more fascinating when you read the introduction and find that much of the novel mirrors Sacher-Masoch's life!

An interesting and thought provoking read.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Chris Chalk on 25 July 2006
Format: Paperback
This 19th Century classic seems to be considered the beginning of sexual exploration within the mainstream, indeed it is considered that its author Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch gave his name to masochism (although not consciously).

The story is told through a journal of one man: Severin von Kusiemski, a man of good standing within the community but who harbours a deep routed desire to become the slave of a goddess wearing fur. His choice coining her the Venus in Furs is no coincidence for he worships at statues of Venus herself and when he stumbles upon Wanda von Dunajew he feels his search is at an end.

Wanda is for me the far more fascinating of the two characters and arguable would have been a far more interesting character to use as the point of view for this novel. She has depth through the need to explore a chilling dark side that before Severin she was unaware of but you get the feeling that whole time this dark side is a façade, a front that doesn't truly exist and in fact it is her submitting to Severin in her quest to make him happy. This paradox explodes wonderfully towards the end of the book and (for me) you truly see how unprepared Severin is for the path he has chosen, Wanda concocts one last punishment for Severin but again you can clearly see the great love that has gone into doing just that - a women unhappy in her role but seemingly unwilling not to continue for fear of losing the man she loves, until finally he pushes her too far.

I felt the pace of the book was off, we fall far too quickly into the depraved relationship without enough of the build up work, it's like passing your driving test and hoping into a Ferrari - no satisfaction if you can't prang the Metro first.
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Format: Paperback
For generations of readers and thinkers, Sacher-Masoch's novel (1870) has defined the archetype of masochism. Countless psychologists and philosophers have turned to this text in search of the quintessence of the 'perversion' that has taken his name. But is this equation helpful? In a way it may be profoundly misleading. Yes, the book contains a potent iconography of masochism: whips, furs, cruel dominant women, slavery. Sacher-Masoch certainly pressed the buttons that made the senses zing. But it is all embedded in very 19th century notions and assumptions about masculinity, marriage, contracts, and the way that power works in bourgeois society. This is not an exposition of universal erotic types. In fact we may need to free masochism from the turgid hand of Sacher-Masoch to understand masochism better. (More on this in a full review in my blog: colorsofpassion.net) Having said that, the book contains wonderful insights into certain profound yearnings and paradoxes of masochism. You have to dig hard and read carefully to grasp them because the book is stylistically tortuous and at times almost unreadable. The sexual episodes are rare and cloaked in euphemisms. As one critic put it: "No one has ever gone so far with so little offense to decency". It is more about the mind than the erotic body. Just one example. The novel illustrates a fundamental paradox of masochism. Sacher-Masoch desires to be the utterly powerless and abject slave of his mistress surrendering all rights and choice. But he ALSO wants to determine the outcome! He wants her to love him, be cruel to him, and spend time deliciously abusing him. ("Be a tyrant, be a despot, but be mine forever"...... "Do as you will with me, only never send me away!") He does NOT want her to say, "Thanks very much.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Caroline on 19 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm choosey about any erotica and had heard great things about this book. Whilst of interest to an erotica lover and interesting to dip into, I was disappointed and found the book didn't live up to my expectations although it was interesting and sensual. I'm still a bit undecided and think I might have to give it one or two more reads. If you're interested in sensuality through history this could be worthwhile to see how it's handled. Overall worth a go, but there are other's in the genre which stand out more. Sorry to be harsh.
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