Venus in Furs

(Second Edition)
By Leopold von Sacher-Masoch | A new translation by Matthew Kaiser
Paperback, 134 pages
ISBN: 978-1-5165-0346-9 ©2017
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Venus in Furs

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    Based on Sacher-Masoch’s own erotic adventures in the late 1860s, Venus in Furs is a groundbreaking account of mistress-slave roleplay, fetishism, and mutual seduction. In a health resort in the Carpathian Mountains, bookish Severin falls in love with the rich and beautiful widow Wanda. He opens his heart to her, sharing the secret of his life: he yearns to be the slave of an abusive goddess wrapped in fur, to be beaten and cuckolded. Together they set out to make his fantasy a reality. They travel to Italy in the guise of a tyrannical mistress and her obedient servant. What begins as a game, however, soon turns deadly serious. The boundaries blur between their public and sexual personas. Wanda develops a taste for blood. Venus in Furs is Sacher-Masoch’s revolutionary attempt to imagine a world without male privilege.

    Leopold von Sacher-Masoch was born in 1836 in Lemberg in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A prolific novelist, playwright, and historian, he is best known for his erotic obsession with being flagellated and humiliated by powerful women. In addition to Venus in Furs (1870), Sacher-Masoch’s many works include Don Juan of Kolomea (1865), Female Sultan (1873), and Galician Stories (1875). He died in Lindheim, Germany in 1895.

    Matthew Kaiser is an associate professor and chair of English at the University of California, Merced. He is the author of The World in Play: Portraits of a Victorian Concept (Stanford University Press, 2012), the translator of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs (Cognella, 2017) and the editor of seven books, including Alan Dale’s A Marriage Below Zero (Cognella, 2011) and the forthcoming A Cultural History of Comedy in the Age of Empire (Bloomsbury, 2019).
    Other Cognella titles by Matthew Kaiser: