Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Venus in Furs
  • Venus in Furs

  • 'Venus in Furs' describes the obsessions of Severin von Kusiemski, a European nobleman who desires to be enslaved to a woman. Severin finds his ideal of voluptuous cruelty in the merciless Wanda von Dunajew. This is a passionate and powerful portrayal of one man's struggle to enlighten and instruct himself and others in the realm of desire. Published in 1870, the novel gained notoriety and a degree of immortality for its author when the word "masochism" - derived from his name - entered the vocabulary of psychiatry. This remains a classic literary statement on sexual submission and control.

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895) was born in the Galician city of Lemberg. A novelist and poet, he is also known for his 'Stories of the Russian Court'. Joachim Neugroschel has translated Hermann Hess's 'Siddhartha' and Thomas Mann's 'Death in Venice' for Penguin Classics. He has won three PEN translation awards and a French-American translation prize. Larry Wolff is Professor of History at Boston College.