5. Venus in Furs - Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch
"There is a deep joy in wrapping a beautiful woman into her furs, and in seeing and feeling how her neck and magnificent limbs nestle in the precious soft furs, and to lift her flowing hair over her collar. When she throws it off, a soft warmth and a faint fragrance of her body still cling to the ends of the sable hair. It is enough to drive one mad."
First Publishing: 1870
this is a love story for those not faint of heart, but rather for those curious in the torment of love and the fusion of pleasure and pain. and for the rare romantics whose idealistic view of love is defined in the submissive gesture of giving one's self away entirely for that of another. this is dark erotica as its best; passion wrapped in suffering.
the first half of the novel is made up entirely of letters, sent from the author himself back and forth to an adoring fan. the letters, sent from New Years Eve 1874 until Christmas 1875, reveal the truth in the fiction; the real Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and his fantastical mistress. shortly after Venus in Furs was published, a young Emilie Mataja looked to her idol for encouragement as a budding author and found herself in a twisted literary fantasy. a fantasy that is strangely similar to the fictional novella it proceeds. and although never actually fulfilling their desires, it is the single difference between the two. when Sacher-Masoch's eerily familiar characterization of himself, Severin von Kusiemski, meets his own Venus in Furs, Wanda von Dunajew, it spawns a year long affair, and takes the aberrant couple away from their little Carpathian health resort to a sparkling Vienna. where, all along an adoring Severin is meant to play the role of Wanda's obeisant slave. until the whips and binds become too much, and Wanda becomes an icy Venus brought to life and gives herself away to another man, breaking a love sick Severin in two. and what a beautiful lesson in the torment of love it was! I leave you with a glimpse into the sinister novella and with a favourite excerpt, when Severin first catches eye of his stony goddess, a Venus in Furs: