Venus in Furs. Appendix by Martine Besse and Paul Hessel

Cover venusOur passion project goes on. We have so many new stories, works and projects for you. Now, we like to start with this text accompanied by an extensive appendix:: “Leopold’s mind instinctively rejected both the indifferent
and the scornful attitude to life. He remained all his days
an enthusiast, a builder of utopias.”

James Cleugh, Sacher-Masoch’s biographer

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch was born in Lviv, Western Ukraine, in 1836. His father, Leopold Sacher, was an Austrian of Spanish descent, director of police in Lviv. His mother was Charlotte von Masoch, a Ukrainian lady of noble birth, daughter of the president of the Lviv University. The novelist, the eldest son of this union, was not born until after nine years of marriage, and in infancy was so delicate that he was not expected to survive. He began to improve, however, when his mother gave him to be suckled to a robust Ukrainian peasant woman, Handzya from the village of Vynnyky, from whom, he said later, he gained not only health, but “his soul”; it was from her that he “learned all the strange and melancholy legends of her people and a love of the Ukrainians” which never left him. Leopold actually lived in the village for some time, and the impressions of the rural life in the Land of Halychyna, the songs, the lullabies, the fairy tales stayed in his memory and were a continuous source of inspiration for his writings in his later life. “Music and singing have a magic effect on us, Ukrainians; in our folk songs we hear the voices of our ancestors who lie buried in the tall barrows; the spirits of the forest, the air and the water talk to us in these folk songs and folk tales,” wrote Sacher-Masoch in one of his short stories. As a short-story writer, he was compared by the nineteenth-century literary critics to such masters as Maupassant and Turgenev. ( it continues here )

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Venus in Furs. Velvet Underground



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