In his stunning essay, Coldness and Cruelty, Gilles Deleuze provides a rigorous andinformed philosophical examination of the work of the late 19th-century German novelist Leopold vonSacher-Masoch. Deleuze's essay, certainly the most profound study yet produced on the relationsbetween sadism and masochism, seeks to develop and explain Masoch's "peculiar way of 'desexualizing'love while at the same time sexualizing the entire history of humanity." He shows that masochism issomething far more subtle and complex than the enjoyment of pain, that masochism has nothing to dowith sadism; their worlds do not communicate, just as the genius of those who created them - Masochand Sade - lie stylistically, philosophically, and politically poles a part.Venus in Furs, the mostfamous of all of Masoch's novels was written in 1870 and belongs to an unfinished cycle of worksthat Masoch entitled The Heritage of Cain. The cycle was to treat a series of themes including love,war, and death. The present work is about love. Although the entire constellation of symbols thathas come to characterize the masochistic syndrome can be found here - fetishes, whips, disguises,fur-clad women, contracts, humiliations, punishment, and always the volatile presence of a terriblecoldness - these do not eclipse the singular power of Masoch's eroticism.