This chapter is a comparative reading of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs, from which masochism is so named, and the Old Testament tale of Samson and Delilah in order to claims Samson as the actual “father” of masochism. Putting the two texts into conversation enables readers to understand that Samson willingly and pleasurably positions himself as subjected to Delilah—a conclusion made plausible by Severin, the protagonist of Venus in Furs. Chapter 1 argues that the long literary history of masochism begins not with Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, but with the mythical man his protagonist idolizes and the long erotic legacy of betraying women as a result.
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