Dec 272007

Finke, Michael C. and Carl Niekirk. One Hundred Years of Masochism: Literary Texts, Social and Cultural Contexts Rodopi, 2000

Noyes, John K. The Mastery of Submission: Inventions of Masochism Cornell University Press, 1997

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch needs better literary representation, even though he’s been dead for more than 100 years.

I still have yet to find any of his books that have been translated into English, other than Venus in Furs. There’s a whole shelf of books on Sade, both biographical and critical, but comparatively little on Sacher-Masoch. (Granted, Sade’s life was very well documented and also tied intimately to the history of the French revolution.) Here’s a guy who, in his life, was the next big thing in German literature, the successor to Goethe (who had his own penchant for self-orchestrated suffering, incidentally.)

And then Richard von Krafft-Ebing was rude enough to coin the term masochism, while Sacher-Masoch was still alive. Romanticism collided with science; science won. Whatever Sacher-Masoch’s literary accomplishments, all were forgotten, and he would be known to future generations as merely a lunatic and a sexual deviant. His ex-wife published her memoirs in 1907, further stamping him as a wife abuser.

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Feb 212006

I finally got a hold of James Cleugh’s The First Masochist, a biography of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, author of Venus in Furs and the inspiration of the term “masochism”. For some reason, there’s plenty of biographical material on the Marquis de Sade, but much less material on von Sacher-Masoch.

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