Written in 1870, Venus in Furs is Sacher-Masoch's unavoidable masterpiece, which resulted in the birth of "Masochism". This is the first important book that focused on describing a relationship between man & woman where love becomes an approved slavery.
Severin, main character of the book, is a dilettante young man in love with a statue of Venus. His meeting with a neighbour who looks like this statue allows him to fulfill his fantasies, as this neighbour, Wanda, becoming his goddess. The relationship, at first normal, will soon turn into a Master & Servant relationship, Severin becoming Wanda's intentional slave. Wanda will totally fulfill her role, from lover to castrating mother, to instrument of pain (as a result of an Oedipeus complex, and other mechanisms studied by Freud & Nietzsche).
Ultimately, Severin will go to the limit of his game of love & pain, to learn a crucial lesson from his mistress.
One feels liberated at the end of this oppressive novel that is complementary in theme to Sade's work. As a footnote, it is interesting to know that Severin could represent Sacher-Masoch, who later in life married a woman who became his Wanda for many years.