Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Book

Because David Ives's Venus in Fur is playing in Washington,  Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs  is the book for our next club meeting.

It's short. Still,
  1. Evelyn Waugh writes "Nothing is more ludicrous than the posturing of a Svengali who fails to put his Trilby under." I suppose that the man who likes a good dry beating would find the book stimulating almost beyond bearing. For the man of simpler tastes it falls flat. One starts glancing at the page numbers somewhere in the 30s.
  2. I am in no way prepared to dispute on antiquity with someone who came up through the Central European gymnasium system (even if he's a century and a quarter dead). Yet is the Venus of antiquity such a terrifying figure as Sacher-Masoch imagines? My impression of the Romans is that they were about about as romantic as the Wall Street Journal stock listings. And doesn't Homer treat Aphrodite with scant respect?
  3. Sacher-Masoch's name survives in "masochism", a coinage of Kraft-Ebbing's. Once in the fiction section of  the now closed White Flint Borders I noticed in the Ds a notice saying "Works by de Sade are shelved under S". I doubt they had any such notice for Sacher-Masoch in the Ms; at least, without looking for it,  I do notice de Sade's work now and then, but never Sacher-Masoch's. Commercially it seems better to be hammer than anvil.

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