Masochism: Gilles Deleuze, Coldness and cruelty and Leo- pold von Sacher- Masoch, Venus in furs. Tr. Jean McNeil. New York: Zone Books, Pp. Accordingly Deleuze analyzes and psychoanalyzes Sacher-Masoch’s novel, Venus in Furs, which appears in a new translation as the second. Abstract. Both Freud’s and Deleuze’s understandings of masochism limit the transgressive and subversive forces of Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty, ed .

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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 codness way of ‘desexuali 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 cryelty 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. Venus in Furs, the most famous of all of Masoch’s novels was written in and belongs to an unfinished cycle of works that Masoch entitled The Heritage of Cain.

Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs by Gilles Deleuze

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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This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [who has pdf vertion of this book to send me? See 1 question about Masochism…. Lists with This Book.

Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs

Nov 17, peiman-mir5 rezakhani rated it really liked it Shelves: Jun 12, Oriana rated it really liked it Shelves: Aww, I’d forgotten all about this book. Many moons ago, I was going to write my senior thesis on, roughly, “Sadism and Masochism in the Stories of Franz Kafka,” with this book as one of my primary sources. I inhaled this book and several otherswrote about 30 pages, consulted with the ancient visiting Kafka scholar whose class I’d been taking, wrote another dozen pages, then realized I’d rather put out my own eyes than write any more on this vaguely creepy topic.

I did a creative thesis inste Aww, I’d forgotten all about this book. I did a creative thesis instead. Looking back, maybe I was kind of a wimp. May 27, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: I never realized masochism and politics go so well together.

Deleuze begins his march through this insensitive topic by drawing a distinction between it and sadism through the uses of humor: It is unrealistic because a genuine sadist could never tolerate a masochistic victim. Neither would the masochistic tolerate a truly sadistic torturer. It looks like ole Gilles is having some fun at the expense of the Left. Oh no, here comes Badiou and Zizek with their pitchforks!


Deleuze is making an argument for what perverse behavior and counter-intuitive thinking can tell us about our politics. How do you explain Kafka and friends overcome with laughter at Kafka’s reading of The Trial?

How come disciples of Socrates couldn’t contain themselves either at the death of their beloved teacher? Or put another way, why do we allow ourselves to be manipulated by the narrative conceits of crappy novelists?

Waiting, disavowal, suspense, fetishism, fantasy aren’t isolated, private phenomena. One needs to believe that one is not dreaming, even when one is.

Marquis de Sade’s Juliette advises two weeks of abstaining from lustful behavior. If you can manage that then lie down and imagine for yourself different wanton acts. One will move you more powerfully than the rest and it will become like an obsession – write it down!! Sounds like a cheap form of psychoanalysis. But this leads to the penultimate chapter, “Humor, Irony and the Law. The wrath of God is no more than the chorus of everyone’s disapproval we hear in our own language, which they have yet to address to us directly thus, nightmares and bad dreams.

Plato set up “The Good” as the basis of all law: Kant subverted this basis, changing it to “The Codness itself: What is “The Law”, really?

Who knows, since it’s ddeleuze unknowable as God. We in the West have simply replaced one inscrutable world system for another, even as atheists curelty convinced they have all the answers. This is the world described by Kafka. She was stopped dead in her tracks by Tartt quoting Nietzsche: Unlike Tartt quoting it optimistically the words actually come from a Nietzsche entry labeled Pessimism in Art.

This friend, brilliant as ever, describes for us drleuze masochism others receive from novel reading she is unwilling to allow herself, “The increasing delay in the plot: Aug 25, Khashayar Mohammadi rated it it was ok Shelves: Very Poor psychoanalysis mostly stemming from delruze assumptions and fallacies of the human sexuality. View all 5 coldneas.

Apr 09, Julian Mathews rated it really liked it Shelves: Sadism is essentially institutional, anarchic, apathetic, employing the quantitative power of coldnesz reason in an attempt to kill the mother and the ego in service of the superego, while Masochism is aesthetic, qualitative, cold, cruel, relies on the contract and employs suspense and disavowal to expel the superego and father in favor of a de- and re-sexualized ego, the new man under auspice of the Oral Mother.

Deleuze at his most overtly psychoanalytic, but perhaps most accessible since the subject is singular and focused. Feb 15, Adam rated it liked it.

I confess a preexisting lukewarmness toward Deleuze stemming from a battle with “Bergsonism” years ago: But I read Sade recently, and as of today I’m still married, so it was time to find out just how much of a Masochist I must be. Cuz we all must be, more or less, now that Sade’s prescription for universal prostitution has been enshrined as economic dogma and daily routine for both sexes. Furs and whips are optional.

The novel is more deleuzd a lugubr I confess a preexisting lukewarmness toward Deleuze stemming from a battle with “Bergsonism” years ago: The novel is more of a lugubrious melodrama than a racy romance. Radically distinguishing psychological from sensual masochism for a moment, the sad fatalism is summarized in tones echoing Dostoyevsky’s unforgettable “Make us your slaves, but give us bread! I shall rcuelty lost, I cannot live without you.


So adn you don’t have enough pain, sadness, impotent longing, failure, shame, and humiliation in your own miserable life, have some of Severin’s! Deleuze is at least correct that masochism and sadism must not be confined to the hackneyed shades of a “pleasure-in-pain” continuum. There is not, as he repeats and repeats and repeats, a single sadomasochistic complex. Yet his overweening effort to categorically separate what masochism IS from what sadism IS and ne’er shall the twain meet is unconvincing, forced and a bit sloppy.

He argues like one of the ancient Green rhetoricians who had to prove their skill by defending an obviously indefensible position, i. Deleuze’s account is less interesting than those of Freud or Lacan, whom he purports to be critiquing. However, the chapter “Humor, Irony and the Law” stands out as some of his best writing.

The question “Why do people hug their chains? The clinical riddle of masochism proper is not entirely separate from questions of mundane submissiveness and passivity, but they ought not be conflated. I can’t say that in future inquiries I’ll likely be adducing Masoch as a model of fulfilling intimacy or Deleuze as a satisfying theoretical touchstone.

Mar 14, Eyre rated it it was amazing. Everything I wanted out of a Deleuzian analysis of sadomachocism–eg. Deleuze analyzes sadism and masochism as separate literary entities, covering their delejze political agendas, aligning Sade with the Revolution of and Masoch with the Revolutions of The absurdity of laws, contracts and punishment are revealed.

I enjoy Deleuze’s literary approach to Freud and Masoch, though I do think coldhess his analysis is not Everything I wanted out of a Deleuzian analysis of sadomachocism–eg.

I enjoy Deleuze’s literary coldnrss to Freud and Masoch, though I do think that his analysis is not a replacement for case crueltyy.

It is useful, though, cruelfy a lens by which to view culture. A lot of objections to the text I have read online here and on blogs I feel miss the point of Deleuzian analysis entirely. If he can be criticized for anything it is superficiality–not that he does not ‘get’ the motivations of real life masochists.

The only thing I felt was lacking is this: Obviously, coldness is a theme of ‘Venus’, but if there is any ‘heart’ in masochistic fantasy, it is in transgressive irony and in the excessive sincerity which Wanda identifies in Masoch. It is only intense cruelgy which would lead Masoch to an obsessive fear directed towards the limits of the social contract.


Does he not simply desire, like the martyred ad, to push reverence to its absolute limit? Also, one might say, in a Deleuzian manner, that an obsession with coldness is actually an obsession with an absent warmness. All and all killer text, though, and a great edition to boot.

I love that Venus in Furs comes second and, of course, I really love that Dara Birnbaum did the cover.