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In his stunning essay, Coldness and Cruelty, Gilles Deleuze provides arigorous and informed philosophical examination of the work of the late 19th-centuryGerman novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Deleuze's essay, certainly the mostprofound study yet produced on the relations between sadism and masochism, seeks todevelop and explain Masoch's "peculiar way of 'desexualizing' love while at the sametime sexualizing the entire history of humanity." He shows that masochism issomething far more subtle and complex than the enjoyment of pain, that masochism hasnothing to do with sadism; their worlds do not communicate, just as the genius ofthose who created them - Masoch and Sade - lie stylistically, philosophically, andpolitically poles a part.Venus in Furs, the most famous of all of Masoch's novelswas written in 1870 and belongs to an unfinished cycle of works that Masoch entitledThe 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 ofsymbols that has come to characterize the masochistic syndrome can be found here -fetishes, whips, disguises, fur-clad women, contracts, humiliations, punishment, andalways the volatile presence of a terrible coldness - these do not eclipse thesingular power of Masoch's eroticism.

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