Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs

Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs

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Overview

In his stunning essay Coldness and Cruelty Gilles Deleuze provides a rigorous and informed philosophical examination of the work of late nineteenth-century German novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Deleuze’s essay, certainly the most profound study yet produced on the relations between sadism and masochism, seeks to develop and explain Masoch’s “peculiar way of ‘desexualizing’ love while at the same time sexualizing the entire history of humanity.” He shows that masochism is something far more subtle and complex than the enjoyment of pain, that masochism has nothing to do with sadism: their worlds do not communicate, just as the genius of those who created them — Masoch and Sade — lie stylistically, philosophically, and politically poles apart.

Venus in Furs, the most famous of Masoch’s novels, belongs to an unfinished cycle of works that Masoch entitled The Heritage of Cain. The cycle was to treat a series of themes, including love, war, and death. The present work is about love. Although the entire constellation of symbols that has come to characterize the masochistic syndrome can be found here — fetishes, whips, disguises, fur-clad women, contracts, humiliations, punishment, and always the volatile presence of a terrible coldness — these received associations do not eclipse the truly singular and surprising power of Masoch’s eroticism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780942299557
Publisher: Zone Books
Publication date: 03/19/1991
Series: Zone Books
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 360,847
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author


Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII, Vincennes/Saint Denis. He published 25 books, including five in collaboration with Fé lix Guattari.

What People are Saying About This

Endorsement

This provocative work places von Sacher-Masoch's classic 1870 novel Venus in Furs next to Deleuze's essay arguing that popular assumptions beginning with Freud have effectively obscured the unique power of von Sacher-Masoch's eroticism as well as the true nature of what might be called a masochist 'order.'

Keith Thompson, Utne Reader

From the Publisher

"This provocative work places von Sacher-Masoch's classic 1870 novel Venus in Furs next to Deleuze's essay arguing that popular assumptions beginning with Freud have effectively obscured the unique power of von Sacher-Masoch's eroticism as well as the true nature of what might be called a masochist 'order.'" Keith Thompson , Utne Reader

Zone Books

Keith Thompson

This provocative work places von Sacher-Masoch's classic 1870 novel Venus in Furs next to Deleuze's essay arguing that popular assumptions beginning with Freud have effectively obscured the unique power of von Sacher-Masoch's eroticism as well as the true nature of what might be called a masochist 'order.'

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