Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

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Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch (January 27, 1836 - March 9, 1895), writer and journalist, was born in Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (now L'viv, Ukraine). He was the son of the police director in Lemberg and Charlotte von Masoch, a Ukrainian lady of noble birth. He started learning the German language at age 12.

He had planned to write a series of six novels under the collective title The Heritage of Cain: only the first two were ever completed, of which Venus in Furs (Venus im Pelz in the original German) is the most famous. This novel tells of a man, Severin, so besotted by a woman, Wanda, that he requests to be treated as her slave, and encourages her to treat him in progressively more degrading ways. Severin describes his feelings during these experiences as supersensuality.

The word masochism was coined by the 19th century psychiatrist Krafft-Ebing with Sacher-Masoch and his writings in mind.

He died in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.

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