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Venus in Furs
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2001
Those interested in abnormal psychology will find this a "must" book. It is a tribute to the open-mindedness of modern publishing that such an extreme text which was for so long out of print and unavailable in English, is here offered to the reader at a knock-down price. Even the most casual reader cannot avoid being at once fascinated and repelled by the graphic descriptions of morbid yearnings never satisfied despite beatings, humiliations and tortures to soul and body. The painting about which Sacher-Masoch dreamed so vividly and to which frequent reference is made throughout the text is officially titled "Venus with a Mirror" by Titian, and perhaps it would have been preferable if the front cover image more nearly reflected this source of the author's inspiration. Might I suggest that the prospective book-buyer would be well advised to read in addition or instead, the arguably more accomplished books by Madame de Morville, titled La Dominatrice, Slaves of Isis, and The Chateau, to name but three.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 1997
_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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2010
Its difficult to truly describe a book such as this. I originally wanted to read it after learning that we get the word masochism from the author's name, being a creature of research I also purchased the complete works of the Marquis de Sade but that's a review for another time. I fell in love with this book, when early on I came upon this quote,

"Love knows no virtue, no profit; it loves and forgives and suffers everything, because it must. It is not our judgment that leads us; it is neither the advantages nor the faults which we discover that make us abandon ourselves or that repel us.
It is a sweet, soft, enigmatic power that drives us on. We cease to think, to feel, to will; we let ourselves be carried away by it, and ask not whither."

Utterly beautifully put. The main character Severin (heavily influenced from the authors own life) can become annoying with his devotion at time, but I look upon him with the eyes of a Mistress and not as someone that feels his plight. I also recommend listening to "Venus in Furs" by The Velvet Underground, also Dave Navarro does a great cover version.
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on 30 January 2014
When you enter into the world of Venus in Furs you must try and place yourself within the time of the novel's original publication. In 1870 this was revolutionary, just as Lady Chatterley's Lover was for its time, and the term Sadomasochism was borne from Sacher-Masoch and his work. It took a dear friend reminding me this for the content of the book to have any impact as, of course, by modern, sexually liberated, standards this is fairly tame.

However what really gripped me concerning this novella was the writing style, which I found both honest and lyrical. There is a real grasp of the English language there, turning something of which I have little to no knowledge into something entrancing to read about, simply by use of words, flowing into one another, painting an intricate, excruciatingly detailed picture.

Overall I'd say this is far more satisfying a read than Chatterley, and well worth your time, whether interested in the world of Sadomasochism or not. For the prose alone I can recommend. Sacher-Masoch could have taught E.L James a lesson or two in the art of ink and pen, that's for sure.
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on 16 July 2015
Filled with typos and misprints. Barely resembles the original texts there are so many errors. Whole paragraphs have just been chopped off the end of a page midway through a sentence.
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on 21 November 2013
This is a really great publication. It is well-written and remains a classic of its genre. It is definitely worth reading.
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on 31 October 2014
classic inspiration for BDSM enthusiasts
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