Masochism: an Interpretation of Coldness and Cruelty by Gilles Deleuze

By Gilles Deleuze

In his beautiful essay, Coldness and Cruelty, Gilles Deleuze presents a rigorous and educated philosophical exam of the paintings of the past due 19th-century German novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Deleuze's essay, definitely the main profound learn but produced at the kin among sadism and masochism, seeks to increase and clarify Masoch's "peculiar method of 'desexualizing' love whereas whilst sexualizing the complete background of humanity." He exhibits that masochism is anything way more refined and complicated than the joy of ache, that masochism has not anything to do with sadism; their worlds don't converse, simply because the genius of these who created them - Masoch and Sade - lie stylistically, philosophically, and politically poles a part.Venus in Furs, the main recognized of all of Masoch's novels used to be written in 1870 and belongs to an unfinished cycle of works that Masoch entitled The historical past of Cain. The cycle was once to regard a sequence of topics together with love, battle, and loss of life. the current paintings is ready love. even if the complete constellation of symbols that has come to signify the masochistic syndrome are available right here - fetishes, whips, disguises, fur-clad girls, contracts, humiliations, punishment, and regularly the risky presence of a negative coldness - those don't eclipse the singular energy of Masoch's eroticism.

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Extra info for Masochism: an Interpretation of Coldness and Cruelty

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The fact that two organs are analogous need not mean that there is an evolutionary link between them . We should avoid falling into " evolutionism" by aligning in a single chain results which are approximately continuous but which imply irreducible and het­ erogeneous formations . An eye, for example , could be produced in several independent ways , as the outcome of different se­ quences, the analogous product of completely different mecha­ nisms. I suggest that this is also true of sadism and masochism and of the pl easure-pain complex as their allegedly common organ .

Asks Masoch in The Divorced Woman. What we need to do is to "put on wings" and escape into the world of dreams. He does not believe in negat­ ing or destroying the world nor in i dealizing it: what he does is to disavow and thus to suspend it, in order to secure an ideal TH E R OL E O F D E S C R I P TI O N S which is itself suspended in fantasy. He questions the validity of existing reality in order to create a pure ideal reality, an operation which is perfectly in line with the j udicial spirit of masochism.

This leads us to another aspect of Masoch's art: he is a master of the atmospheric novel and the art of suggestion. The settings in Sade, the castles inhab­ ited by his heroes are subj ect to the brutal laws of darkness and light that accelerate the gestures of their cruel occupants . The settings in Masoch , with their heavy tapestries, their cluttered intimacy, their boudoirs and closets , create a chiaroscuro where the only things that emerge are suspended gestures and suspended suffering. Both in their art and in their language Masoch and Sade are totally different.

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