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Ordinary MasochismsAgency and Desire in Victorian and Modernist Fiction$
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Jennifer Mitchell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066677

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066677.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Murderous Masochism in The Torture Garden

Murderous Masochism in The Torture Garden

(p.82) Interlude Murderous Masochism in The Torture Garden
Ordinary Masochisms

Jennifer Mitchell

University Press of Florida

This interlude contextualizes the shift in public consciousness regarding sex and gender through a literary case study of Octave Mirbeau’s The Torture Garden (tr. 1903; Les jardins des supplices, 1899). The narrator embarks on a fictional, albeit typical journey from west to east, wherein he witnesses both the elaborate, public torture of Chinese prisoners punishments and his lover’s erotic pleasure in them. The novella plays with both sexological discourses of deviance and aesthetic concerns about art and literature, inviting readers to explore the connection between masochism, sadism, and reading. An ideal representation of decadent literature, The Torture Garden, by performing a model of masochistic reading, invites readers to consider their own relationship to violence and the erotic.

Keywords:   sadism, deviance, The Torture Garden

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