Leopold von

In Furs


BOOKS' 1991



Sade.8-dc19 88-20823 CIP The Role of Descriptions III IV V Are Sade and Masoch Complementary? The Three Women in Masoch Father and lVIother The Art of iVlasoch 57 69 81 47 VI VII VIII Humor. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press) without written permission from the publisher. 1989.S. 2. microfilming. r. Ritter von. Cambridge. by permission of George Braziller. 3. Originally published: New York: G. Publishers. Inc. English. Sacher-Masoch. Ritter von. ISBN 1-942299-55-8 (pbk. Leopold. Braziller. 2006 No part of this book may be reproduced. Irony and the Law From Contract to Ritual The Death Instinct 111 91 103 IX X Psychoanalysis and the Problem of iYlasochism Sadistic Superego and Masochistic Ego 123 XI VENUS IN FURS 143 Complete Text Appendices: A Childhood Memory and Reflections on the Novel 273 II III Two Contracts of Masoch The Adventure 277 281 with LudWig II .. including electronic. or otherwise (other than that permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U. New York 11218 Contents All rights reserved. [PT2461. and Faber. 1835-1895. marquis de.Criticism and interpretation. 4. Includes bibliographical references. Contents: Coldness and cruelty I by Gilles Deleuze Venus in furs I by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Reprinted COLDNESS AND CRUELTY © 1971 Faber Foreword 9 15 37 25 The Language of Sade and iV[asoch II Printed in the United States of America. Ltd. 1971. Venus irn Pelz. and London. Sadism in literature. England Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Masochism I translated by Jean McNeil. Reprint. Gilles.) 1. Sacher-Masoch. 1226 Prospect Avenue Brooklyn. Originally published in France under the title "Le Froid et le Cruel" in Presentation de Sncher-Masoch © 1967 Editions de Minuit. stored in a retrieval system. under the title SacherjJlasoch. 1835-1895 Criticism and interpretation. recording. Presentation de Sacher-Masoch. 1740-1814 . or transmitted in any form or by any means. P: em. Ie froid et le cruel. English. 1989. First Paperback Edition Seventh printing. Masochism in literature.83Z86 1989] 833'. Leopold. Massachusetts.© 1989 Urzone. II. mechanical. photocopying. Deleuze. Distributed by The MIT Press.

But this may well be a misstatement of the problem. Galicia. He often describes the organization of agricultural communes and the struggle of the peasants against the Austrian administration and especially against the landowners. besides Goethe. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch was born in 1835 in Lemberg. Wanda's book is excellent. 9 . His ancestors held official positions in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. but it was severely judged by subsequent biographers. His work is deeply influenced by the problems of nationEmpire. Confessions of Ny Life). Nasochismus) on the life of Sacher-Masoch comes to Schlichtegroll (Sacher-iVIasoch und der and from his first wife. The men he admired. and they assumed her to be a sadist. Spanish and Bohemian descent. who often merely present us with subjective impressions of the work. Wanda (Wanda von Sacher-Masoch. He became involved in the Panslavic movement. since Masoch was a masochist. His effect in the father was Chief of Police of Lemberg. Hungarian. In their opinion. Prussian tales.Foreword Most of the information us from his secretary. etc. and as a child he witnessed prison scenes and riots which were to have a profound alities. hence his Galician. Jewish. who took the name of the heroine of Venus in Furs. He was of Slav. the image she offers of herself is too innocent. minority groups and revolutionary movements on him.

1870) is one of Masoch's most famous suffered not only from unjust neglect but also from an unfair assumption of complementarity As soon as we read Masoch we become aware that his universe has nothing to do with that of Sade. Sade is becoming more thoroughly known. but quite the. we are questioning the very concept of an entity known as sadomasochism. This may indeed be the reason why people who are interested in Sade show no particular interest in Masoch. embodying the Venus in Furs (Venus im Pelz. The present version is a translation from the French of a subsequent translation by Aude Willm. A translation by the economist R. this is God). Even the best writings on Masoch. Masoch has been treated unjustly. but it was extremely inaccurate. It is not valid to object that psychoanalysis has long shown the possibility and the reality of transformations sadism and masochism. no fatherland. who dies of his own willing. no property. the coldness of the stern mother is in reality a transmutation of cruelty from which the new man emerges. 12 The second con- . and vice versa. and their problems. followed by an account of a scene from his childhood. no cause. reverse. Ledos de Beaufort appeared simultaneously in French and in English in 1902. Medicine distinguishes between 13 novels. " The work of Masoch draws on all the forces of German Romanticism. In our opinion. Although we occasionally find books increasingly rare. the one about masochism and the other about sadism. Their techniques differ. The novel is followed by three appendices: the first is a general statement by Masoch on the novel. clinical studies of sadism are considerably enriched by literary studies of the work of Sade. of the icy image of the Mother wherein Cain discovers his own destiny. What is the meaning of the term "heritage of Cain"? It is intended first to express the burden of crime and suffering inherited by humanity. passed into current usage. Cain and Christ bear the same mark. The third appendix is Wanda Sacher-Masoch's account of the adventure with Ludwig II. this apparent cruelty conceals the of the steppe. The theme of the unity of sadism and masochism and the concept of a sadomasochistic entity have done great harm to Masoch. idea of humanity . He has and dialectical unity with Sade. The second reason why Masoch's fate is unjust is that in clinical terms he is considered complementary to Sade. no other writer has used to such effect the resources of fantasy and suspense.. It forms part of the first volume of The Heritape of Cain. however. which deals with the subject oflove.. show a surprising ignorance of his work.COLDNESS AND CRUELTY FOREWORD form secondary cycles. more secret theme of the coldness of Nature. Sade and Masoch are not merely cases among others. they include in particular two somber novels dealing with mystical sects in Galicia which rank among the best of Masoch's works and reach heights of anguish and tension rarely equaled elsewhere (The Fisher of Souls and The lit/other of sists of the "love contracts" that Masoch signed with Fanny von pistor and Wanda. their concerns and their intentions are entirely between dissimilar. It is too readily assumed that the symptoms only have to be transposed and the instincts reversed for Masoch to be turned into Sade. according to the principle of the unity of opposites. no work.. they both have something essential to teach us. The "mark" of Cain indicates how the "heritage" is to be used. which leads to the crucifixion of Man "who knows no sexual love. because his work fell into neglect written on Sade that show no knowledge whereas his name of his work. not because his name was unfairly given to the perversion of masochism. however. He has a particular way of "desexualizing" love and at the same time sexualizing the entire history of humanity.

Parkinson's disease. What are the uses of literature? The names of Sade and Masoch have been used to denote two basic perversions. and a syndrome the meeting-place of manifestations within variable contexts. and as such they are outstanding examples of the efficiency of literature. we must take an entirely different approach. and therefore Doestoevsky. The first is the history of illnesses.. etc. a symptom being the specific sign of an illness. Intertwined with this history is the history of symptomatology.COLDNESS AND CRUELTY syndromes and symptoms. become less frequent. The history of medicine can therefore be regarded under at least two aspects. since it is from literature that stem the original definitions of sadism and masochism. The doctor does not invent the illness. renamed and regrouped in various ways. It is no accident that the names of two writers were used as labels for these two perversions. and links up others that were dissociated. precedes and sometimes which sometimes Symptomatology is always a question of art. reappear or alter their form according to the state of the society and the development of therapeutic methods." follows changes in therapy or in the nature of diseases: symp. In short he builds up a profoundly original clinical picture. We need to go back to the beginning and read Sade and Masoch.. Progress from this point of view generally means 15 . which may disappear. or crossing-point issuing from very different origins and arising We would like to suggest that sado- CHAPTER I The Language of Sade and Masoch masochism is a syndrome that ought to be split up into irreducible causal chains. The critical (in the Iiterary sense) and the clinical (in the medical sense) may be destined to enter into a new relationship of mutual learning. we should aim for a critical and clinical appraisal able to reveal the truly differential mechanisms as well as the artistic originalities.). he dissociates symptoms that were previously grouped together. the clinical specificities of sadism and masochism are not separable from the literary values peculiar to Sade and Masoch. "It is too idealistic . the literary approach. In place of a dialectic which all too readily perceives the link between opposites.toms are named. Because the judgment of the clinician is prejudiced. The Insulted and Injured cruel. Illnesses are sometimes named after typical patients. but more often it is the doctor's name that is given to the disease (Roger's disease. It has been stated so often that sadism and masochism are found in the same person that we have come to believe it. The principles behind this labeling deserve closer analysis.

but in a rudimenor by despotic woman. tary fashion. do that) followed by obscene Violence and eroticism do meet. inasmuch as a proper name is linked to a given group of signs. oth16 tions as well as the nature of their obscenity are strikingly different in the two authors). or speaks but little. with all the hypocrisy of the torturer? What is known as pornographic descriptions. but in terms of something more fundamental connected with bondage and humiliation (there are limiting cases of masochism without algolagnia and even algolagnia wi thout masochism ). of the type whose work of man." What is the meaning of the meeting of violence and sexuality in such excessive and abundant language as that of Sade and Masoch? How are we to account for the violent language linked with eroticism? In a text that ought to invalidate all theories relating Sade to Nazism. In coining the term masochism. Sexual modesty cannot be related to biological fear. and indicates a refinement of symptomatology. they are also great anthropologists. Imperatives abound in the work of Sade and Masoch. Sade and Masoch present unparalleled configurations of symptoms and signs.. they are also great artists in that they discovered new forms of expression. leprosy and Parkinson's disease. the torturer necessarily uses the hypocritical language of established order and power. In any or clinicians or both. that is.) Great clinicians are the greatest doctors: when a doctor gives his name to an illness this is a major linguistic and semiological step. new ways of thinking and feeling and an entirely original language. but he attributes his own attitude to people who in real life could only have been silent and uses them to make self-contradictory statements to other people. (Thus the plague and leprosy were more common in the past not only for historical and social reasons but because one tended to group under these headings various types of diseases now classified separately.. When Sade writes he refuses to cheat. "As a general rule the torturer does not use the language of the violence exerted by him in the name of an established authority.COLDNESS AND CRUELTY THE LANGUAGE OF SADE AND MASOCH a tendency toward greater specificity. the word disease is clearly inappropriate. Should we therefore class Sade and Masoch among the great clinicians? It is difficult to treat sadism and masochism on a level with the plague.. Georges Bataille explains that the language of Sade is paradoxical because it is essentially that of a victim. The violent man is willing to keep quiet and connives at cheating .. violence is something that does not speak. In principle. It would appear that both for Sade and for Masoch language reaches its full significance when it acts directly on the senses. Thus Sade's attitude is diametrically opposed to that of the torturer..1 Another question we should ask is that is more between whether Masoch does not present a symptomatology ervvise it would not be formulated being touched as it is: "I am less afraid of and even of being seen than of being put into words. Nevertheless. they are issued by the cruel libertine Descriptions also abound (although the function of the descrip- refined than Sade's in that it enables us to discriminate case whether Sade and Masoch are "patients" disturbances which were previously regarded as identical. Only the victim can describe torture. a proper name is made to connote Signs."? Ought we to conclude that the language of Masoch is equally paradoxical in this instance because the victim speaks the language of the torturer he is to himself. Sade's The One Hundred and Twenty Days of 17 . literature is a literature reduced to a few imperatives (do this. he uses the language of the authority .. while sexuality is something that is little spoken about. culture and succeeds in embracing a whole conception nature. Krafft-Ebing was giving Masoch credit for having redefined a clinical entity not merely in terms of the link between pain and sexual pleasure.

the sadistic stands in contrast to the masochistic "educator. in short to educate. each libertine. namely to demonstrate that reasoning itself is a form of violence." Now if it is true that this language is the supreme realization of a demonstrative function to be found in the relation between violence and eroticism. for nothing is in fact more alien to the sadist than the wish to convince. He is interested in something quite different. Words are at their most powerful by the ear are the most when they compel the body to repeat the movements they suggest. it merits the more exalted title of "pornology" because its erotic language cannot be reduced to the elementary functions of ordering and describing. while engaged in reasoning. With Sade we witness an astonishing demonstrative description. it directs and describes the personal violence of the sadist as well as his individual tastes. Demonstration as a higher funcsequences to perform a demonstration related essentially to the solitude and of its author. the language of imperatives and descriptions. The first. steeped in the demonstrative element. One of the libertines severe pamphlet. constitution. The point of the exercise is to show that the demonstration is identical to violence. It follows that the reasoning does not have to be shared by the person to whom it is addressed any more than pleasure is meant to be shared by the object from which it is derived. the second and higher factor represents the impersonal element in sad19 . "let us now put it to the test of practice. They must be regulated by contracts that formalize and verbalize the behavior of the partners. to convince is merely apparent. announced and carefully described before being accomplished. However." In Masoch's life as well as in his fiction. where each of the heroine's torturers uses her as a listener and confidante. The acts of violence inflicted on the victims are a mere reflection of a higher form of violence to which the demonstration testifies." says Noirceuil. by the use of pseudonyms or by advertisements in newspapers." and in principle the heroes may not take any initiative in anticipation of these tales. "instructor" In every respect. again. particularly in Justine. as it were. but niclers. promised. appears in a new light. tion of language makes its appearance while the libertines development of the of use of language. Bataille says of Sade: "It is a language which repudiates any relationship between speaker and audience. to persuade. Whether he is among his accomplices or among his victims. then the other aspect. he may even proselytize and gain new recruits (as in Philosophy in the Bedroom). He is not even attempting omnipotence to prove anything to anyone. but in an the attitudes of the bodentirely dependent role. love affairs are always set in motion by anonymous letters. Everything must be stated. between are resting. and "the sensations communicated enjoyable and have the keenest impact.COLDNESS AND CRUELTY THE LANGUAGE OF SADE AND MASOCH Sodom hinges on tales told to the libertines by "women chro- be. or expound inexhaustible Alternatively he may agree to hold a conversation or a discussion with his victim. Such moments are frequent. The descriptions. is the same for all as we shall see. It still remains. or in the interval will read out a theories. floating in it. similarly the imperatives uttered by the libertines are like the statements of problems referring back to the more fundamental chain of sadistic theorems: "I have demonstrated We have therefore to distinguish it theoretia cally. and that he is on the side of violence." Here. the imperative factor. or draft a between two commands." two factors constituting and descriptive dual language. are merely living diagrams illustrating the abominable descriptions. The libertine may put on an act of But the intention trying to convince and persuade.even if the argumentation the libertines. the work of Sade and Masoch cannot be regarded as pornography. is caught in the hermetic circle of his own solitude and uniqueness . however calm and logical he may 18 represents the personal element. ies.

woman can only be contemplated as is the case in Venus. a woman like Catherine the Great. I am willing to try. This is why are part of the language of masochism while they have no place in true sadism. " In Venus. desires for the first time to see his mistress naked. and why the masochist draws up contracts while the sadist abominates and destroys them.a naturalistic and mechanistic approach imbued with the mathematical spirit." in conformity with theological where Sinn- lichkeit denotes the flesh. my beloved. While in most individuals of this type the feelings of power are in relation to specific persons.. It is essential the masochist that he should fashion the woman into a despot. But in We are no longer in and unpersuaded. we are dealing here with a pronounced form of sadism operating to a great extent in geographical and mathematical patterns. The Divorced Woman is subtitled The Calvary of an Idealist. where the hero. the second from a pact of alliance. under the disturbing influence of a friend. the masochist in . Wanda says: "I am afraid of not being capable of it.. "super- a little girl can lead thee by the nose. The sadist is in need of institutions. but for you." but finds that he is overcome by a religious feeling "without anything 21 between two types of commerce with the devil: the first resulted from possession." The educational undertaking of Masoch's heroes.." tradition.. In all Masoch's novels. their subthey undergo. The sadist thinks in terms of institutionalized 20 possession. the woman." Or again: "Beware. Julian. This accounts for the endless repetitions. He begins by invoking a "need" to "observe. the masochist of contractual with considerable relations. the hero of Venus.COLDNESS AND CRUELTY THE LANGUAGE OF SADE AND MASOCH ism and identifies the impersonal violence with an Idea of pure reason. takes as a motto for his doctrine Mephistopheles of "supersensualism" the words of to Faust: "Thou sensual. In The Divorced Woman. the heroine complains: "Julian's ideal was a cruel woman." (Ubersinnlich in Goethe's text does not mean "supersensitive" carnal. It is therefore not surprising that masochism should seek historical and cultural confirmation in mystical or idealistic initiation rites. but "supersensual. We the presence of a torturer seizing upon a victim and enjoying her are dealing instead with a victim in search of a torturer and who an alliance with the torturer in order to realize the strangest of schemes. the reiterated quantitative process of multiplying illustrations and adding victim upon victim. either by overplaying or by falling short of expectations. that he should persuade her to cooperate and get her to "sign. sensualitas). I might grow to enjoy it. Possession is the sadist's particular form of madness just as the pact is the masochist's. supersensuallibertine."3 In the work of Masoch there is a similar transcendence this case it is all persuasion and education. as though she were afraid: she is forced to commit herself to a role to which she may prove inadequate. This fact is illustrated more clearly still in The Divorced Woman. but alas. the torments Spinoza . Krafft-Ebing sensed the essential nature of such a process: "In certain cases the personal element is almost entirely absent. but the purely impersonal element experienced of his perversion is much more in evidence . again and again retracing the thousand circles of an irreducibly solitary argument. with a terrifying demonstration the first element. are so many mission to a woman. although persuaded. Severin.. The subject gets sexual enjoyment from beating boys and girls." He is essentially an educator and thus runs the risk inherent in educational undertakings. is still basically doubting. The middle ages distinguished insight steps in their climb toward the Ideal. advertisements persuade and conclude of the imperative and the descriptive toward a higher function. all the more because she is unconsenting needs to educate.. capable of subordinating In Sade we discover a surprising affinity with terms of contracted to alliance. The naked body of a in a mystical frame of mind. I was cowardly and weak .

Sade the imperative and descriptive adventure with Ludwig II. Pornologicalliterature is aimed above all at confronting language with its own limits. Plato showed that Socrates appeared to be the lover but that fundamentally he was the loved one. but he is prepared for anything. they are twin ways in which the monstrous know during the episode what part his wife will play.COLDNESS AND CRUELTY THE LANGUAGE OF SADE AND MASOCH sensual about it" (we have here the two basic stages of fetishism). the spirit of Mephistopheles and that of Plato in one.4 Masoch's relation to Plato is evidenced not only by the ascent to the realm of the intelligible. These two transcendent exhibits itselfin reflection. The ascent from the human body to the work of art and from the work of art to the Idea must take place under the shadow of the whip. Likewise the masochistic hero appears to be educated and fashioned by the authoritarian woman whereas basically it is he who forms her. the personal element turning by reflection upon itself into the impersonal. mythical and persuasive funcfunctions essentially characterize the two perversions. tion. Similarly when Masoch invokes the dialectical spirit. he is not tion. and in Masoch toward a dialectical. with what is in a sense a "nonlanguage" (violence that does not speak. but by the whole technique of dialectical reversal. nor does he scends itself toward a pure demonstrative. However this task can only be accomplished by an internal split22 . One of Masoch's The Love of Plato and was at the origin of his ting of language: the imperative and descriptive function must transcend itself toward a higher function. While Sade is spinozistic and employs demonstrative stories is entitled reason. In the adventure with Ludwig II Masoch does not know at first whether his correspondent sure at the end whether he is one or two people. this must not merely be taken as proof of his romanticism. Masoch is animated by a dialectical spirit. When Sade invokes a universal analytical Reason to explain that which is most particular in desire. a true dialectician who knows the opportune moment and seizes it. we must not merely take this as evidence that he is a man of the eighteenth century. In Venus the story is set in motion by a dream that occurs during an interrupted reading of Hegel. Dialectic does not simply mean the free interchange of discourse. eroticism that remains unspoken). But the primary influence is that of Plato. without sparing himself. It is the victim who speaks through the mouth of his torturer. here too particularity isseen reflectively in the impersonal Ideal of the dialectical spirit. but implies transpositions or displacements of this kind. particularity and the corresponding delusion must also represent an Idea of pure reason. resulting in a scene being enacted simultaneously on several levels with reversals and reduplications in the allocation of roles and discourse. dresses her for the part and prompts the harsh words she addresses to him. In function of language traninstituting function. disguise and reduplicais a man or a woman. Masoch is platonic and proceeds by dialectical imagination.

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