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Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

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Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895) was a writer and journalist. He is known for his romantic writings. The term masochism was named after him.

Leopold was born in Lemberg, the capital of the kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. His parents were Roman Catholic. His father was a police director and his mother came from Ukrainian nobility. He attended Graz University where he studied law. After graduation he worked as a college professor at Lemberg. Leopold von Sacher-MasochHis first writings were historical in nature. Soon after, he became writing stories that included the culture of his native land Galicia.

 

Sacher-Masoch's Short Stories

After leaving his professorship, he wrote several short story volumes including:

  • Jewish Short Stories
  • Polish Short Stories
  • Galician Short Stories
  • German Short Stories
  • Russian Short Stories

In 1869, Sacher-Masoch wrote a series of short stories entitled Legacy of Cain. His most famous piece of writing Venus in Furs came from these two volumes. He had originally intended for the series to include six volumes, but only two were completed. These short stories expressed his sexual fantasies and fetishes. Most of these included scenarios with dominant women who wore fur.

Sacher-Masoch liked to live out his fantasies. In 1869, he signed an agreement to become the slave to his mistress Baroness Fanny Pistor who in turn was required to wear fur as often as possible. They traveled to Italy together during this time acting out Venus in Furs. He pressured his wife to also participate in this type of role-play behavior.

Sacher-Masoch's Mental Illness

Sacher-Masoch started dealing with mental illness when he was in his fifties. He was placed under psychological care for his disorder. He later died in an asylum in Mannheim in 1905.

Psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing coined the term masochism after Sacher-Masoch. He named it such because of the fetishes and fantasies that were found within the writings of Sacher-Masoch.

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