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Sadism and masochism in fiction

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For further information, see: Sadism and masochism

The role of Sadism and masochism in fiction has attracted serious scholarly attention. John Kucich has noted the importance of masochism in late-nineteenth century British colonial fiction.[1] This article provides a list of appearances of Sadism and masochism in not just literature, but various works of fiction in multiple forms of media.[2][3][4]

Novels Edit

Titles are sorted in chronological order.

  • Anti-Justine (1793) by Nicolas-Edme Rétif A response to de Sade's works, using a very similar style to describe a directly opposite political point of view.
  • Venus in Furs (1870) by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch - Is essentially one long masochistic fantasy, where the male principal character encourages his mistress to mistreat him. Many of Sacher-Masoch's other works include themes of sadomasochism and female dominance.
  • Les Onze mille verges (The eleven thousand rods) by Guillaume Apollinaire - written around 1906-1907 (the publication is neither signed nor dated).
  • The Story of O (1954) by Pauline Réage - Another classic masochistic novel, this time written by a woman. In this novel, the female principal character is kept in a chateau and mistreated by a group of men, one of them her official lover. Later, she resumes her normal life while secretly becoming the property of one specific man, a friend of her lover's.[6]
  • Je... Ils... (1969) by Arthur Adamov _ With stories like Fin Août. The author revolves around Masochism, which he regarded as "immunisation against death", but does not aim erotic arousal.

Specialist publishers of S/M fictionEdit

Mainstream films Edit

Consensual BDSM is not generally depicted accurately or sympathetically in mainstream films, to say the least; however, film-makers often find some way to incorporate BDSM imagery into many films. The following films feature BDSM as a major plot point, not just as an exploitative add-on.[8]

Sado-masochism is featured as a central plot element in the following mainstream drama films:

Art movies:



Television Edit


Drama Edit

  • Thomas Shadwell's play The Virtuoso (1676) includes an old libertine named Snarl who entreats a prostitute, Mrs Figgup, to bring out the birch rods. It is unclear if he is to flog her or be flogged.
  • In Thomas Otway's play Venice Preserved (1682), Act III, Scene i, an old senator, Antonio, visits the house of Aquilina, a Greek courtesan. Antonio pretends to be a bull, then a frog, begging her to spit on him, and then a dog, biting her legs. She whips him, then throws him out and tells her footmen to keep him out.
  • Jean Genet's play The Maids (1947) concerns two maids who play out dominant and submissive roles.
  • Genet's play The Balcony (1959) is set in a brothel where clients and staff perform various fetishized roles while a revolution brews outside.
  • The play Oh! Calcutta! includes at least two segments with sadomasochistic themes. One of them, set in a fantasy of an English girls public school, invites the audience to vote on which of four "girls" is beaten at the end.




  1. Imperial Masochism: British Fiction, Fantasy, and Social Class by John Kucich (Princeton University Press, 2006)
  2. An esthetics of masochism? The author wonders if the curators of an Austrian exhibition on masochism in art erred in taking an overly literal approach to their subject From Art in America (4/1/2004) by Barry Schwabsky
  3. Barbara Steele's Ephemeral Skin: Feminism, Fetishism and Film by Lecturer Patricia MacCormack of Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge
  4. Sadism, Masochism, Food and Television
  5. Template:Harv "The term sadism derives from the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), a French nobleman imprisoned for his libertinism and for writing fantastic novels such as Justine and Juliette (both 1797) that equated sexual pleasure with the inflicting of pain, humiliation, and cruelty."
  6. Template:Harv "Pauline Reage's The Story of O (1954) made a great impact on lesbian erotic writing..."
  7. Template:Harv
  8. Sadism and masochism in mainstream film
  9. FILM REVIEW; Masochists Always Hurt The Ones They Love By A. O. SCOTT (November 22, 2000)
  10. Parents Television Council Presents: Worst TV Show of the Week - The Inside on Fox By Caroline Schulenburg
  11. "Lady Heather (Melinda Clarke), a dominatrix"
  12. Family Guy 'Nighttime' Peter and Lois
  13. "Cherry says other deleted "Housewives" content that could grace a DVD include an S&M sequence featuring Sharon Lawrence and Steven Culp, who plays Bree Van De Kamp's husband, Rex"


Wood, Robert, Sadomasochistic Literature,, New England Publishing Associates, <>. Retrieved on 14 December 2007 

External links Edit

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