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Originally published January 14, 2014.

“I saw sensuality as sacred, indeed the only sacredness, I saw woman and her beauty as divine since her calling is the most important task of existence: the propagation of the species. I saw woman as the personification of nature, as Isis, and man as her priest, her slave; and I pictured her treating him as cruelly as Nature, who, when she no longer needs something that has served her, tosses it away, while her abuses, indeed her killing it, are its lascivious bliss.”

………………………………

“A beautiful woman with a radiant smile upon her face, with abundant hair tied into a classical knot, on which white powder lay like a soft hoarfrost, was resting on an ottoman, supported on her left arm. She was nude in her dark furs. Her right hand played with a lash, while her bare foot rested carelessly on a man, lying before her like a slave, like a dog. In the sharply outlined, but well-formed linaments of this man lay brooding melancholy and passionate devotion; he looked up to her with the ecstatic burning eye of a martyr. This man, the footstool for her feet, was Severin, but beardless, and, it seemed, some ten years younger.

“Venus in Furs_,” I cried, pointing to the picture. “That is the way I saw her in my dream.”

“I, too,” said Severin, “only I dreamed my dream with open eyes.”

—Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs

Lichen by Aphex Twin