SACHER MASOCH, WANDA (ANGELIKA AURORA RÜMELIN)

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SACHER MASOCH, WANDA (ANGELIKA AURORA RÜMELIN) - “Wanda with the Whip” from Venus in Furs, Makes Excuses for Her Husband, the Novel’s Author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
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SACHER MASOCH, WANDA (ANGELIKA AURORA RÜMELIN) - “Wanda with the Whip” from Venus in Furs, Makes Excuses for Her Husband, the Novel’s Author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

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“I would like to use the opportunity to express my hope, dear Madame, that you have already forgiven my husband, all the more so since you yourself are an artist and must understand the bad tricks the nerves can play on such people… the poor man was so excited”

 

SACHER MASOCH, WANDA (ANGELIKA AURORA RÜMELIN). (1845-1906?). Wife of erotic author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and the embodiment of his famous Venus in Furs. ALS. (“Wanda Sacher Masoch”). 2pp. 8vo. Passau, April 4, 1881. To the wife of a member of Germany’s Geheimrat, or Privy Council. In German with translation.

 

“I thank you for sending me the letter of Mrs. R… Sulzer. I would like to use the opportunity to express my hope, dear Madame, that you have already forgiven my husband, all the more so since you yourself are an artist and must understand the bad tricks the nerves can play on such people; and it really was only his nerves that treated you so badly; the poor man was so excited. You will be big-hearted, dear Madame, and not give up on a dear old friend forever because of such a small thing. Am I right? In any case, I will remain in gratitude your respectful…”

 

In 1869, Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895) published his scandalous and autobiographical erotic novel Venus in Furs, which opens with the narrator dreaming of a statue of Venus. He then meets and willingly becomes the slave of a woman named Wanda who dresses in furs and whips him. “Subsequent to its publication, a young woman named Aurora Rümelin wrote to him an impassioned letter that caught his imagination – perhaps not least because she had signed herself with the name of the beloved and cruel Mistress of the novel, Wanda von Dunajew – promising Sacher-Masoch the fulfilment of his desires. The two met and married, with Aurora Rümelin changing her name to that of Wanda von Dunajew and living out her side of the bargain, albeit increasingly reluctantly,” (Sex, Attachment and Couple Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytic Perspectives, ed. Clulow). Leopold supported Wanda and their children by writing prolifically, including authoring nearly 200 popular novels and novellas as Wanda fulfilled the role of whip-wielding slave mistress, detailed in her memoirMeine Lebensbeichte by Wanda v. Dunajew published in 1906 and, in French, as Confession de Ma Vie by Wanda von Sacher-Masoch, the following year. According to her book, Leopold, following a theme in Venus in Furs, repeatedly attempted to introduce a third party into their relationship so that he might experience the humiliation of being the cuckolded spouse.

 

In 1886, much to his dismay, the author’s name was immortalized when German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his Psychopathia Sexualis, coined the term masochism to describe people who received pleasure through humiliation and domination. In his late 50s, Leopold’s mental health declined, and he spent the last years of his life in an institution. In our intriguing letter, Wanda makes reference to Leopold’s nerves as well as a mysterious transgression he made with its recipient.

 

Penned in purple ink on recto and verso. Folded with some light creasing and wear. In very good condition. Unusual and rare.

 

 

Item #20222


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