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Venus in Furs

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  9,675 ratings  ·  722 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 ...more
Paperback, New Edition, 160 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1870)
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A. Because the story explain about himself, the supersensualist. His story indeed seems uncover the truth that all of those vulnerable side of him he let…moreBecause the story explain about himself, the supersensualist. His story indeed seems uncover the truth that all of those vulnerable side of him he let himself as a man captivated by the charm of woman who soon enslave him into some kind of love slave.(less)

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PirateSteve
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
//www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK8ijrapwA8

Way back in 1869 Leopold wrote this book about some fun he was having.
Tis true. Leo gave the world a new label for these exploits... masochism.
What we've done with it since then is our own business.

Severin did get what he wanted.
So many people never do.
They never dare ask.
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
...more
Steven Godin
My initial fears with 'Venus in Furs' was would it sink into the darker depths of depravity similar with that of Donatien Alphonse François (the Marquis de Sade), but didn't need to worry, because I was pleasantly surprised by it's charming and playful nature. Predominantly only two characters take centre stage, with nobleman Severin von Kusiemski falling under the seductive spell of the flame haired Wanda von Dunajew, he loves her so much to the extent of wanting to be her slave, and encourages ...more
Alex
Apr 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Lizzy
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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
...more
Khashayar Mohammadi
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much it worries me.
Meredith
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novellas
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
Cheryl Kennedy
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The DSM-IV lists masochism as a derivation of sexual gratification from being subjected to physical pain or humiliation by oneself or another person. Pleasure is being abused or dominated. The psychiatric bible must have read Venus in Furs for its definitions. Even the word used for sexual pursuits comes from the author's name.

Sacher-Masoch was an Austrian writer of letters and a journalist. I stopped counting books attributed to him when it was greater than forty. He wrote Venus in Furs in 1870
...more
Greg
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Morgan
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After reading Fanny Hill and Marquis de Sade, it only made sense to read this novella.

For erotica, Venus in Furs is actually well thought out and written. Yes, this about whips and things that are kinky, but it’s also about the human psyche and mythology. There’s some great character development and conflict in this novella.

Each of the main characters represent something either dealing with the human mind or mythology. You have Wanda (the title character) that represents power and Venus and
...more
Jessica
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
...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 ...more
Tia Katrina Canlas
Sep 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.

The most intersting part of the book is its introduction, in which it is made known that the author lived out his own character's fantasies when a woman copied Wanda's letter and made Sacher-Masoch her slave. Hopefully, they weren't as boring
...more
Ina Cawl
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
what an weird and strange fetish Severin had
to feel ecstasy in pain and humiliation
Sandy
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-kindle
This book is much disadvantaged by being grouped with the books of the Marquis de Sade. It isn’t a masterpiece per se, and it does have that “unfinished draft” air, but it was interesting and grabbed my attention all through the plot, and I don’t think I felt bored or extremely disgusted while reading. What surprised me most was how the book in some parts was actually very emotional and soft in ways I couldn’t explain or comprehend.
Stinky Girl
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
full review later
nostalgebraist
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
...more
Book Wyrm
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-of-top-hats
Despite Sacher-Masoch being the inspiration for the term masochism, there's not really any pornography here, sorry.
What you do get is a short treatise on female equality and a surprisingly deep tale of mental BDSM, with our protagonist desperate to be servant and slave to an idealised image of fierce womanhood, but choosing an intrigued yet mostly unwilling dominant partner.
It's sad, more than anything else, with a warning against fantasy obscuring personality, assuming and demanding something
...more
Christina
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Shamus McCarty
Mar 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sexuality, literature
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
kaelan
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Rachel Louise Atkin
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Read extracts of this during third year of uni but have always wanted to read the full thing. Sacher-Masoch is who the term ‘masochism’ is named after for the themes of dom/sub sexual relationships in this book.

Venus in Furs is about a man who submits himself as a slave to a woman called Wanda as an act of his devotion to her. The story is so emotionally toiling as the mistress whips and tortures him to his pleasure and the relationship between the two becomes so complicated and messed up. I was
...more
Raphael Lysander
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's a bewildering thing how a man who imagine himself as women's slave and dog, and kneels under their feet still finds a way to talk in a sexism way and supercilious manner about women!
Still, this book is by far better than 50 Shades because it's not just short messages, teenage crush, or sexual descriptions. This book clearly shows the mentality behind such a desire, the passion, love-whether it exist in such case or not-, not merely a porn in text.
Suvi
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Elisha
3.5 stars.

Venus in Furs was absolutely not on my radar before it popped up on a university reading list, and it's a book that I'm fairly certain I never would have read without prompting. From the premise, I assumed that this would not be my kind of thing at all. Honestly, from the premise, I was kind of hesitant about reading it, but I had to and so I did. And it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Really, the thing to keep in mind here is that this novel was published in 1870, and what was
...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 ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Ok - I just wanted to read this book to understand where the term masochist came from - now I do - I think - or as much as I want to understand...
Bryn Hammond
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Classic. Underrated even in Decadent circles: I just consulted my old Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony, an inventory of Romantic and late-Romantic works on the theme of cruelty and the femme fatale -- Sacher-Masoch occurs twice in the index. What? There's how I let this one go by, when I was half the age I am and into late 19thC decadent fiction. From memory I read descriptions that put me off. I'm sad about that. On the other hand, I now discover an instant personal classic.

I think it's a
...more
Mishek
Jun 20, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
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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
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