Not forgetting your first: 'The Emissary' by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Not forgetting your first: 'The Emissary' by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Many of you reading this blog will be familiar with Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, after whom "masochism" was coined. (By Kraft-Ebing in Psychopathia Sexualis.)
Sacher-Masoch is best well known for his novella Venus in Furs (in German 'Venus Im Pelz'), which was published in 1870. The book has been translated and reproduced a number of times.



Venus in Furs inspired the song by the same name by the Velvet Underground in 1967 which much later became a cult classic. (Youtube clip: ) The novella and its themes were also adapted into a modern play, which I had the privilege of seeing in New York in around 2011. 
Amongst the English book versions I particularly recommend to my students are the suitably academic edition which combines an essay by Deleuze with Venus in Furs in Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty / Venus in Furs by Sacher-Masoch; and the other charming edition worth having is the illustrated hardcover edition of Venus in Furs by UK FemDom artist Sardax. (The Sardax illustrated hardcover of Venus in Furs is only available in the UK from by emailing him as instructed on that page, or from Joanna Lark or DirtySexyWords or e-book kindle version from Amazon.) Which to get? Both! I have 2 of each, in order to be able to lend out to my Mistress students taking my courses, although I believe one of each book is currently not returned - cane strokes! (I'll have to run a book amnesty at some point for my naughty students to return borrowed books.)




One of the reasons Venus in Furs is so well-read, aside from "masochism" being named after Masoch, is because it is a tale of "Female Domination" with themes familiar to BDSM-ers, in which Wanda dominates the character of Severin (who has much in common with the author himself). 


However this was not Sacher-Masoch's first time exploring this subject.


The Emissary

In a piece of writing titled  "A childhood memory and reflections on the novel", he writes:
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch referenced the significance of 'The Emissary':
"...strange scenes, other figures, in regal ermine, in bourgeois rabbit fur or in rustic lamb's fleece, produced new sensations on me; until one day this particular type of woman became crystallised in my mind, and took definite shape for the first time in the heroine of The Emissary'.
(From Sacher-Masoch, "Chose Vecues" Revue Bleue, 1888, cited in Masochism: Coldness & Cruelty / Venus in Furs by Gilles Deleuze and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch p.276)


Sacher-Masoch makes it clear that The Emissary (Der Emissär in German language) is the first of his writing to explore this theme of the Dominant woman. And yet where is it in English language? It was published in German in 1863, seven years before Venus in Furs. A library search bears no fruit. Nor does a search of Abe Books, or any other avenue.


It appears that it was never translated into English. Yes you heard that correct. The first piece of Masoch's writing to explore the theme of the Dominant Woman, written in 1863 - seven years prior to 'Venus in Furs', is not available anywhere in English.


So the time has come - we must not forget Masoch's first. I have begun a crowd-funding campaign to have the publication sponsored into existence in English translation. People can sponsor 1 page of translation (US $40), or a Double-spread (US $80), and their names and an inscription to their Mistress will be immortalised at the back of the translation. (So there will be a list of the pages and who sponsored them, with inscriptions.)
Original copy of German Der Emissär (The Emissary) originally published in 1863, by  Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. 


The original German of  Der Emissär (1863) was published in a historic cursive print, which will make it just that little bit extra laborious to clean up and translate. I commissioned several expert German translators to translate a sample of the first two pages so I could compare styles and approaches, and will be "Green-lighting" one of these tomorrow 16 September 2021 to begin work on the full translation. 


Meanwhile, I am writing a piece of writing on masochism, from my research and getting out all my thoughts on the subject. And they will be delivered together to sponsors in time for Christmas 2021 by ebook and pdf before anyone in the world has seen it.  And will make a lovely present and honour their Mistress, or themselves, and receive updates on the progress between now-and-then to keep them entertained.


For anyone who would like to support this important project for US $40 or US $80, to bring The Emissary to an English translation, and have your name immortalised as a sponsor with inscription, please go to:


To manage expectations, I don't expect this to be Masoch's best work; what is significant is that it was the FIRST and as such I expect it will be sketching out the ideas and figure prototype that would occupy Masoch for much of his life. And the fact we do we not already have this piece in our collective knowledge is a travesty. So please support this cause.

For any queries, email me at:


With spanks and thanks, 


Anne O Nomis


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