“Venus in Furs” is a novella written by Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch during the emergence of modernist literature in the late 19th century. The novella is infamous for its depiction of sadomasochism and female dominance yet it contains no explicit sexual content. Why was Venus in Furs considered particularly offensive and thus publically rejected upon its initial publication in 1870? Numerous scholars have attempted to answer this question by looking at sexual transgression in the novella. (put footnote here) However, an aspect of the novella that often gets overlooked is the rhetorical way in which these themes are portrayed, more specifically, Sacher-Masoch’s use of Freud’s concept of the uncanny. One scholar who has explored this phenomenon is Benjamin Jacob, the first to explore the significance of the uncanny in Sacher-Masoch’s book . I will draw on Jacob’s findings throughout this essay to dissect the following excerpt:
“The meadow shone smooth as a mirror, as the ice covering a pond.
Sublime and radiant was the statue of Venus.
Yet—what was that?
A huge, dark fur streamed from the marble shoulders of the Goddess down to the soles of her feet—I stood rigid, gaping at her, and again I was seized by that indescribable anxiety and I fled.”
“…there, in front of me, on a stone bench, sat Venus,…show more content… The “Double” can assume various forms – Sacher-Masoch effectively uses reflections and portraits to arouse feelings of eerie discomfort in the reader. “The Double” or doppelganger is considered a paradigmatic feature of the uncanny due to its representation of a psychic ‘nodal point’. The motif contains various meanings and implications representing good vs. evil, beauty vs. ugliness, reason vs. instinct. Freud believed one was capable of extending oneself through the “Double”. The following excerpt exemplifies the idea of the ‘nodal