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Defining masochism as 'literary perversion', this book probes the productivity of masochistic aesthetics in the literature of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and contemporary queer films, analysing radical accounts of desire, gender, and sexuality.
'In her superb investigation of 'masochistic aesthetics,' Mennel returns to the constitutive texts of Sacher-Masoch and Krafft-Ebing, to engage with more recent debates in feminist, queer, and postcolonial theory concerning masochism's triangulation of power, fantasy, and history. Parting ways with theoretical emphases on white masculinity and celebrations of performative subversion, Mennel argues that masochistic aesthetics ultimately fails to convert symbolic submission into social power for those traditionally positioned as fetishized Others in the fantasies of white male masochists: women, queers, disenfranchised ethnic groups. She challenges us to read the symptoms of two historic breakdowns of egalitarian ideologies and integrative state systems staged in literary and cinematic fantasies at the last two fins-de-siècle.' - Katrin Sieg, Associate Professor of German, Georgetown University'Mennel trains a keen bifocal lens reciprocally to illuminate the late nineteenth-century works of Krafft-Ebing and Sacher-Masoch and the late twentieth-century films of Treut and Ataman. She carefully retraces and finely nuances the interplay between such coordinates as masquerade and fetishism, queer and feminist theories, and psychoanalysis and politics. These juxtapositions result in a work as analytically rigorous as it is perceptive and daring.' - Alice Kuzniar, Professor of German, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The Literary Perversion: The Invention of Masochism at the Fin-de-Siecle The Gendered Fantasy of Masochistic Aesthetics: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs Lesbian Sadomasochism Rewrites Venus in Furs: Monika Treut and Elfi Mikesch's Seduction: The Cruel Woman Cross-Dressing for Platonic Love: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's The Love of PlutoMale Femininity as Sacrificial Corpse: Kutlug Ataman's Lola and Billy the Kid
BARBARA MENNEL is Assistant Professor of German Studies and Cinema Studies in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and the Department of English at the University of Florida, USA.