Thursday, 10 April 2008

'Christianity, whose cruel emblem, the cross, has always had for me an element of the monstrous, brought something alien and hostile into nature and its innocent instincts...The battle of the spirit with the senses is the gospel of modern man. I do not care to have a share in it.'

'...furs have a stimulating effect on all highly organized natures. This is due both to general and natural laws. It is a physical stimulus which sets you tingling, and no one can wholly
escape it. Science has recently shown a certain relationship between electricity and warmth; at any rate, their effects upon the human organism are related. The torrid zone produces more passionate characters, a heated atmosphere stimulation. Likewise with electricity. This is the reason why the presence of cats exercises such a magic influence upon highly-organized men of intellect. This is why these long-tailed Graces of the animal kingdom, these adorable, scintillating electric batteries have been the favorite animal of a Mahommed, Cardinal Richelieu, Crebillon, Rousseau, Wieland.'

'...woman, as nature has created her and as man is at present educating her, is his enemy. She can only be his slave or his despot, but never his companion. This she can become only when she has the same rights as he, and is his equal in education and work.'

- Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, all from 'Venus In Furs'.

I'm not sure how aware Leo was of the implications of that last passage. Was he, or wasn't he, foreshadowing aspects of feminism? (It wouldn't precisely be a strict chronological foreshadowing, I realise that.)

(Yes, my plan to become preternaturally well-read proceeds apace.)

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