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Venus in Furs

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  5,739 ratings  ·  416 reviews
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 gaine ...more
Paperback, New Edition, 160 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1870)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Umm, okay...

The first portion of this book is wonderful. The forced lasciviousness of the female protagonist, the pathetic attempts at seeming like a banshee, a Siren, all draped in furs and spouting some bullshit about Paganism. I have met this girl before, and this boy, I have watched their pitiful dance of apathy, their ham-handed fears of monotony and monogamy, the (in my opinion) bullshit notion that caring in the romantic sense for one chosen and well-suited person with whom you specifical
...more
Elizabeth
"To be the slave of a woman, a beautiful woman, whom I love, whom I worship - !"
"And who mistreats you for it," Wanda broke in, laughing.
"Yes, who ties me up and whips me, who kicks me when she belong to another man."


If submission and bondage is your thing, then you will probably like this book. In a nutshell, Severin likes women. Severin likes women who are filthy rich. Severin likes women who are filthy rich and treat him like shit. Wanda is that woman. That is pretty much what Venus in Furs i
...more
Alex
Mar 16, 2015 Alex rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who wear fancy gloves to Renaissance Faires
"You interest me. Most men are very commonplace, without verve or poetry. In you there is a certain depth and capacity for enthusiasm and a deep seriousness, which delight me. I might learn to love you." (20)

This line really jumped out at me, because it's just what I imagine a lot of nerds imagine some lady will say to them some day. And they'll be like yeah! I have a depth and capacity for enthusiasm! I was just waiting for someone to notice! I bet nerds really like this book, which was written
...more
Sunday
This book is a hike up Giggle Mountain, with a Joan Crawford-esque heroine in yummy furs. It's hard to dislike a book with so much kink and melodrama.

This book is the height of fun sex stuff and strange, twisted relationships. It's a pure exploration of "feels and fantasy." It fits nicely beside other books I place beside it, such as "The Story of the Eye," "The Sheik," and maybe a little bit of "Madame Bovary." I disagree with many reviewers who believe that this text has impacted society, and
...more
Greg
How I caused irreparable harm to our entire country because of a relationship gone sour with the author of Anti-Oedipus"

Confession time. I didn't really read this book, but I'm going to rate it anyway. I did read the Deleuze book Cruelty, which is him writing about Venus in Furs, and then the book itself. I remember really liking the Deleuze part, but at that point in my life I was so in love with Deleuze that he could have written anything and I would have ejaculated all over it. It was a bad t
...more
Meredith
Haven't reviewed on goodreads in a while, but was googling this work's translation dates and came across the negative reviews here. Thought I should contribute my defence.

What Makes Venus in Furs a groundbreaking and thoroughly enjoyable work?

1)Literary tradition

The finely-rendered frame structure follows the German novella tradition's strong, almost proscriptive, tradition of narrative framing (think Goethe, Storm, Hoffmann). Accordingly, it created a sensation among early readers by presenting
...more
Tia Katrina Canlas
The vocabulary in this book mirrored its repetitive plot. It was as if Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch's translator was assigned to use the words "dilettante", "suprasensual", and "ermine" as many times as humanly possible in the course of 100 pages-- to lazily tell a story about a man who wants to be his lover's slave. Wanda's character tortures her readers more than she does Severin by boring us to tears.

When Sacher-Masoch did finally catch my attention for once, I was left disappointed, filling in
...more
Jessica
Dec 13, 2007 Jessica rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kids who are just getting into the velvet underground
If I remember correctly, this book was stupid. It also seems to have contributed to a lot of ridiculous behavior, and has led indirectly to many horrendous cultural products such as "people taking their silly sex hang-ups waaaaay too seriously," "fetish nights," "vinyl outfits," and "that irritating kid in your freshman dorm who walked around with a leash around his neck."

BUT, on the PLUS side, having read it made me feel way more knowledgeable about the VU song on the banana album, which I gues
...more
Evan
I wanted to write an in-depth review, quoting favorite passages from the book, but for now let's just say that this was the right read for me at the right time. I was expecting it to be titillating and dirty but instead encountered something rather lovely: a concentrated tale of obsession and longing and risky role playing that turns a woman emulating a simple ancient Grecian hedonism into a enthusiastic wielder of capricious physical and mental cruelty -- rendered to the sadomasochistic male lo ...more
Shamus McCarty
So I finally picked this back up and I remembered why I stopped reading it. This guy is just such a PUSSY! Nothing against Leopold, (or pussy, one of the most powerful things on Earth) he wrote a pretty progressive book for his time. But JeeeZeus!

Anyways, I doubt my 1 star will hurt the ratings of this masterpiece. And I really do respect it as a masterpiece, due to the era in which it was written. But the Mona Lisa is also a masterpiece that’s not very impressive 600 years later.
hypothermya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
kaelan
I often find that I will initially be enthralled by a new book; but, as I read on, my attention will begin to flag, and my interest wane. Venus in Furs, however, was different. Yes, I was hooked from the very first pages. And yes, I began to get—not ‘bored,’ per se, but apprehensive about halfway through. Apprehensive, as in: maybe this isn’t really as good as I thought; maybe my expectations were too high....

But upon reaching the conclusion of the novel—an ending which, I must admit, I did not
...more
Christina
This book is great, short as it is. And I was hankering to try another book on the topic of female domination after reading "Permanent Obscurity" by Richard Perez, which I truly enjoyed. "Venus in Furs" starts out a little stiffly but ups the ante as Severin gets himself into more trouble than he bargained for. Yeah, my word of caution to all you would-be male slaves out there: Be careful what you wish for! If your dream is be debased, be prepared when it happens! Come to think of it, it reads l ...more
Rob
One of the goofiest things I’ve ever read. So many reversals on top of reversals! Such impassioned torrid writing!

And yet it’s all basically about a guy and his specific fetishes and how he can’t distinguish “an approximation of a fantasy, instantiated in reality” from “the fantasy itself.” He keeps asking his lover to do the stuff he fantasizes about, but then when the situation starts to involve her free will and she doesn’t do exactly what her fantasy equivalent would, he’s like “what the hel
...more
Max Nemtsov
Сентиментально-романтическая белиберда, томная и наивная — вот что есть эта повесть, из которой раздули культ. Даже с поправкой на время. Незрелость чувств, эмоциональная нестабильность, самолюбование — все эти штаны на лямках австро-германо-польско-русской молодежи побуждали ее прилипать к неодушевленным объектам (с ними-то проще, чем с живыми людьми, в отношениях с которыми думать надо, чувствовать, а тут — еби туфлю на здоровье, она тебе слова в ответ не скажет). Ну в общем (я по необходимост ...more
Rebecca
What larks. Got all political at the end, apparently us women are tyrannous in love on account of social oppression.

*threatens theory with whip* ;)

Suvi
A guy glanced at me suspiciously at the uni cafeteria when he saw what I was reading. I had an extremely hard time keeping a straight face :P

Krhm, anyway, I pretty much loved this. Well... As in I am not into kinkyness but I liked the flickering dream atmosphere where art had an important role. The beginning especially was gorgeous and the themes of savageness, dreaming, love, cruelty and wearing fur were very interesting. I just wish Severin had more guts to actually take everything he got from
...more
Jaybird Rex
Reading through the other reviews it looks like many folks just blow this off as dullish Victorian erotica (maybe better than De Sade, maybe not), and not altogether deep. I have to disagree, mainly because I think sex is only one facet of what's going on here. Venus in Furs deals with THE fundamental dilemmas we humans face in being something between angels and bloodthirsty apes. The dream at the beginning of the book is a beautiful start to a bold work -- not bold in that it's racy or kinky, b ...more
Rachel
This book is a fascinating, if a bit unsettling, exploration of the more aberrant relationships that can exist between the sexes. I've always been somewhat surprised that so few people seem to have read it; they may have heard of it, or know vague details as to the plot, which is still infamous even by today's standards, but it does tend to get overlooked as one of the great books of its time period. Personally, I'd recommend it highly, if for no other reason than to experience the subversive lo ...more
Kelly
I really liked this book. I guess because masochism is something hard for me to grasp and understand, it made it all the more intriguing to read about, especially when it was written so long ago.
DC
This book is not exactly pornographic in nature, but I could say that it may be classified as erotica. It also has a dash of intellect, although I felt as if the entire BDSM thing was brushed off as a deviance in the end.

Because yes, this is a book about bondage / discipline / dominance / submission / sadism / masochism.

This book was written by (what I'd imagine to be) a smart man, using a rather intellectual way of writing. Sure, it's about a rather known-to-be-deviant subject, but he does it
...more
Becky
Venus in furs is essentially a short story told as a warning against allowing yourself to become the slave of beauty. Severin, the chief protagonist, dreams of being dominated by a goddess in furs, but finds that the actual experience cures him of these desires. The central premise is that one can choose to either be the hammer or the anvil within a relationship. Neither of these situations are seen as being desirable. The novel itself contains a very modern final note, the disparity in relation ...more
Juushika
Severin von Kusiemski is a European nobleman who has always fantasized about and found pleasure in pain and submission, a condition that he terms suprasensuality. In his memoir he recounts an affair with Wanda von Dunajew, a woman of voluptuous, cruel sexuality. He asks to become her slave and submits to increasingly degrading treatmentuntil Wanda meet a man to whom she wishes to submit. A classic text, Venus in Furs has a writing style that may not appeal to all readers: the narratives delves d ...more
Ben
If you've ever had doubts about the inherent transgressive qualities of fiction, Dr. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's philosophical treatise disguised as an erotic novella is sure to dispell them. Forever memoralized by the word coined from the author's name, "masochist," you don't have to loath yourself to love Venus in Furs. I found the prose--even in translation--simply stunning. Further, it is amazing that with such a simple premise, Sacher-Masoch continues to reinvent the story, spicing the tale ...more
Mishek
Surprising lack-luster action given the nature of the read. Where are the beatings, the humiliations, the pain!? Not here. It's like this guy's girlfriend yells at him and he thinks "Hey, I like that - yell at me some more!" Anytime the action seems to be heating up, it quickly peters out (forgive the pun). That being said, you'll be hard pressed to find a text with such intense pining for pain as this offers.
Laura
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Saransh Chhabra
!! Spoiler Alert !!

How do you sum up a story that arouse disgust and unpleasant surprise due to the inability to understand the urges of the protagonist, Severin. And then as one keeps reading and starts to feel that he may have grasped a hint of the psychiatry of the morbid desires, the story leaves one dumbfounded with the extent to which Severin goes to live his dreary musings and the way in which they fail to leave him, in-spite of all the cruelty he is made to endure.

'Venus in Furs' is a st
...more
Fernanda
Bello más no excepcional. Parece ser que muchos esperaban una clase de novela erótica-pornográfica-sensualona, pero se vieron decepcionados al ver que sólo es un bello trozo de literatura (un tanto sensual) que simplemente muestra una relación enfermiza entre una hermosa mujer que juega un papel de cruel ante un hombre que básicamente le suplicó que lo maltratara como a los peores.

La historia comienza con un interesante sueño de alguien ajeno a la historia, fue una conversación entre este hombre
...more
Luisa
Io non credo che il tema principale di questo libro sia l'amore.
Non lo dico perché tutta la violenza presente mi porta a dire che "tutto può essere tranne che amore", ma perché ritengo veramente che il tema nascosto sia la valutazione della donna e la sua importanza nella società. Insomma è più un libro di denuncia sociale che erotico. O comunque, io preferisco pensarla così. Proprio nell'ultima pagina c'è scritto "Ma la morale?" "Che la donna, a tutt'oggi, quale la natura l'ha creata e nei suo
...more
Marina
Потрясающая книга!
Я впервые думала о том, что 1,5 часа до работы это слишком мало.
Повествование затягивает, не вызывает отвращения и даже наоборот - становится жутко любопытно - почему, зачем и чем все это кончится?

Да, мне нравятся книги о больных людях. Они обладают какой-то волшебной притягательностью мира, о котором я ничего не знаю.
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77556
Austrian writer and journalist, who gained renown for his romantic stories of Galician life. The term masochism is derived from his name.

During his lifetime, Sacher-Masoch was well known as a man of letters, a utopian thinker who espoused socialist and humanist ideals in his fiction and non-fiction. Most of his works remain untranslated into English. The novel Venus in Furs is his only book common
...more
More about Leopold von Sacher-Masoch...
Σκληροί έρωτες Master Masochist: Tales of a Sadistic Mistress El Amor de Platon Don Juan Von Kolomea: Galizische Geschichten Love: The Legacy of Cain

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“You have corrupted my imagination and inflamed my blood...” 169 likes
“Love knows no virtue, no merit; it loves and forgives and tolerates everything because it must. We are not guided by reason...” 62 likes
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