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In his stunning essay, Coldness and Cruelty, Gilles Deleuze provides a rigorous and informed philosophical examination of the work of the late 19th-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 a part.Venus in Furs, the most famous of all of Masoch's novels was written in 1870 and 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 do not eclipse the singular power of Masoch's eroticism.

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Review: Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs

User Review  - David - Goodreads

I give up. It was just too boring. Read full review

Review: Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs

User Review  - Madelyn - Goodreads

i guess i'm not quite sure what to make of this book; it just doesn't seem like any of deleuze's other work. Read full review


The Language of Sade and Masoch
The Role of Descriptions
Are Sade and Masoch Complementary?

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About the author (1971)

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 Félix Guattari.

Jean McNeil is from Nova Scotia but has live in London since 1991. She works as a publisher and researcher at the Latin America Bureau in London and is also a co-author of the Rough Guide to Central America.

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895/1905) was an Austrian writer and editor who is best known for his erotic story Venus in Furs. Educated in law, history, and mathematics, Sacher-Masoch wrote primarily Galician folklore and later served as editor of Auf der H?he. Internationale Review (At the Pinnacle. International Review) where he focused on exposing anti-semitism and championing the emancipation of women. The prominence of fantasy and fetish in Sacher-Masoch's work, particularly in Venus in Furs, led to the coining of the term "masochism" by psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing in 1886. Sacher-Masoch spent the last years of his life under psychiatric care and is believed to have died between 1895 and 1905.

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