Click the artwork to buy the book. Seriously, your Mistress would want you to. Special thanks to Skin Two and Sardax for the promotional image.
I’m going to give you the bad news first. This is not what I would call typical stroker material. Femdom porn fans expecting CBT, forced oral and hardcore sex will be disappointed. While some sex is actually implied, aside from the nudity, bondage and flagellation, the most erotic action described is kissing. For harder material by Sardax, I suggest you subscribe to his membership site, Sardax.com. The good news is, this is truly an arousing Femdom love story worthy of an R rating and at home on the shelf of most book stores. I’m very impressed.
The book itself is a nicely bound hardcover, with an illustrated jacket featuring Sardax’s fetish art, a description on the back and sleeves. The book’s hard cover is black fabric with silver type. Having an engraving by Sardax on the cover would be a nice touch, but the simple cover allowed for me to leave the jacket at home and read the contents inconspicuously in some public locations.
Sardax did not just do the art, but also translated this from Leopold Sacher-Masoch‘s original German. This is my first reading of Venus in Furs but I know vaguely of the story. Not having read other versions, I can’t vouch for the translation. I can definitely say the story flows well, and Sardax’s vocabulary provides me with a feel for the period and delivers the emotions quite well. There are beautiful descriptions of travel across Europe and you can feel the love of the author for art, literature, and nature.
I’m glad to have this opportunity to read Sardax’s translation. If you’re not familiar with the story, it is a cautionary tale to young men by a former submissive named Severin. Personally, I can’t call Severin our hero. While he is our protagonist, I have to say our hero is Wanda, a wealthy widow, Severin’s love interest — and the antagonist. Severin considers himself to be a romantic, supra-sensualist and his greatest desire is to be the slave of Wanda. He is truly the “I’ll do anything” subbie. There’s just two problems. Wanda is not a Domme. Being a widow, Wanda also wants to experience hedonistic freedom before marrying again.
Severin is a house guest in Wanda’s mansion. She is completely smitten with his romantic notions, and appreciates his love for literature and classic hedonistic art. Wanda enjoys experimenting with Severin’s love of bondage, pain and servitude, but she has no interest in being tied down in a relationship. Severin is a very needy, unemployed, middle-class, wuss, making such a commitment unattractive. So she makes a pact with Severin: If he can endure being her slave for a year, she’ll marry him.
I’ll elaborate further, sans spoilers in a moment, but let’s go over Sardax’s artwork. While many of these pieces are watercolor, his work in Venus in Furs mostly is either sepia tone or grayscale. This is fitting to such a period piece. His artwork is excellent and a good introduction for the vanilla reader. While there are panels depicting foot worship, whipping and submission, the most nudity you’ll see is Severin’s behind. As erotica, these pieces would fit quite comfortably in a mainstream gallery. Sardax’s art is true to the story. If any liberty is taken with the story, it lay with the use of boots and corsets, which still fit in perfectly with the period.
Speaking of period, this is truly a story ahead of its time. Severin and Wanda attempt to forge their erotic relationship of Dominance and submission in the 1860′s. They have no peers or counseling to advise them on how to proceed. This is why Venus in Furs is such a cautionary tale.
As a slave, Severin may not even retain his name. He is stripped of luxury, and must dine and congregate with foreign servant classes without joy. Wanda disciplines him as a slave or servant would be cruelly disciplined at the time. For a middle-class man, this does not establish empathy for the lower classes, but instead fuels his ire and breeds his contempt. She toys with his arousal, and then repeatedly shuts him down cold. Wanda’s relationship with other men fans her slave’s rage even further, causing his emotions to spiral deeper. Wanda then acts on these emotions, setting traps for him, further placing their emotions and relationship in jeopardy. Unable to control himself, he teeters on the brink of suicide, as he neither live with her, nor without her.
Sardax’s translation of Venus in Furs makes an excellent gift for either Domme or sub. I honestly feel all new submissives should read this before entering into either a relationship or contract, and I emphasize Severin’s plight must be considered when a couple negotiates their expectations. I’ll also take a leap here and say that with such classical illustration and lack of explicit sex, this book could also serve a safe gift to a person outside the lifestyle. While arousing, the piece is much less explicit than books such as 50 Shades of Grey, or the “Beauty” series by Anne Rice.
I’m very happy with this edition and recommend it to both the perverted and the curious. You can purchase Sardax’s edition of Venus in Furs, published by Stiletto books, through Skin Two’s marketplace at http://www.kfsmedia.com/fetish-books/venus-in-furs/prod_138.html. The site features many of the lovely illustrations and gives additional details. They’ve priced the book at 15 British pounds, which comes out to about 25 US dollars, not including shipping and handling.
Adult stores should certainly carry at least a few copies of this book, but it deserves a prominent display near your high end fetish and BDSM gear. I can’t find contact info for Stiletto Books and I suggest retailers go through Sardax.com, or KFS Media.