One Hundred Years of Masochism: Literary Texts, Social and Cultural Contexts

Michael C. Finke (Editor), Carl Niekerk (Editor)

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


Just over a century has passed since the sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing coined the term “masochism” in a revised edition of his Psychopathia Sexualis (1890). Put into circulation as part of the fin-de-siècle process through which sexuality and sexual practices considered deviant became medicalized, this suspicious concept grew in significance and explanatory power in the expanding new context of psychoanalytic discourse. Today the study of masochism shows signs of becoming a discipline in its own right, the political, social, and cultural ramifications of which exceed and, indeed, render problematic, traditional psychoanalytic perspectives on the phenomenon. The essays in this volume demonstrate, however, that the concept of masochism still offers a point of entry into psychoanalytic theory that, while revealing a number of its most vexing insufficiencies and problematic constructions, evokes also a sometimes surprising illuminative potential and capacity to adapt to changing social realities. And as the volume's title is meant to suggest, the authors represented here tend to agree that the continued rich viability of psychoanalytic theory in cultural analysis is best appreciated and ensured through engaging the theory's own social-historical and cultural contexts.
The volume includes clinical perspectives on masochism, and articles on medieval romance, Goethe, Sacher-Masoch, Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Multatuli, Fassbinder, and masochism and postmodernism.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherBrill | Rodopi
Number of pages215
ISBN (Electronic)9789004502932
ISBN (Print)9789042006577
StatePublished - Jan 2000

Publication series

NamePsychoanalysis and Culture


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