Nationalizing Sacher-Masoch: A Curious Case of Cultural Reception
in Russia and Ukraine
Vitaly Chernetsky
Comparative Lite...
comparative literature studies, vol. 45, no. 4, 2008.
Copyright © 2008. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park...
472 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
realism,and therefore,as “truth.”Two such national cultures,th...
473N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
poster read, in Ukrainian, “The Masoch Foundation Presents Bill Clint...
474 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
Venus in Furs, it also contains several other texts set in Gal...
475N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
colonial oppression and reflect on the contradictory legacy of the firs...
476 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
a very powerful impression on the young Sacher-Masoch’s psyche...
477N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
both designations, “Kleinrussen” [Little Russians] and “Russen” [Russ...
478 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
and the all-Russian. Adherents of the Ukrainian orientation
479N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
Galicia’s East Slavic intellectual life. It should not therefore be s...
480 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
government provided financial and other support for the activit...
481N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
Sacher-Masoch portrayed them. So we too listened to this Polish
482 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
the French critics, following the trend launched by the influen...
483N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
reputation),dressed in all the obligatory vestments of expert discour...
484 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
partition of Poland and several other events Galicia was trans...
485N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
“Russian-speaking” woman; the writer’s ideology was a “Carpathian var...
486 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
for emulation,”and Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel,who “presents God...
487N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
Sacher-Masoch’s writing, and offers a fascinating reading of his work...
488 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
to topple her elegant argument about a nineteenth-century Aust...
489N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H
This mixture of Sacher-Masoch and Sisyphus, for him, means “a sweet a...
490 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S
sympoziumu (Kyiv:Brama Ltd.,1994),113.For more on Slovo,see ch...
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Nationalizing Sacher-Masoch: A Curious Case of Cultural Reception in Rus and Ukraine

Nationalizing Sacher-Masoch: A Curious Case of Cultural Reception in Russia and Ukraine Vitaly Chernetsky Comparative Literature Studies, Volume 45, Number 4, 2008, pp. 471-490 (Article) Published by Penn State University Press
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Education      Technology      

Transcripts - Nationalizing Sacher-Masoch: A Curious Case of Cultural Reception in Rus and Ukraine

  • 1. Nationalizing Sacher-Masoch: A Curious Case of Cultural Reception in Russia and Ukraine Vitaly Chernetsky Comparative Literature Studies, Volume 45, Number 4, 2008, pp. 471-490 (Article) Published by Penn State University Press For additional information about this article Access provided by University of Kansas Libraries (25 Apr 2014 17:18 GMT)
  • 2. comparative literature studies, vol. 45, no. 4, 2008. Copyright © 2008. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. 471 nationalizing sacher-masoch: a curious case of cultural reception in russia and ukraine Vitaly Chernetsky Few writers can rival Leopold von Sacher-Masoch in the degree of notoriety that has accompanied his name.To an even greater degree than the Marquis de Sade,Sacher-Masoch’s legacy is inextricably bound with the psychosexual condition that has received a designation derived from his surname.For more than a century now, the overwhelming majority of Sacher-Masoch’s read- ers, especially in the West, have been primarily attracted to the depiction of unorthodox sexual practices that frequently appear on the pages of his texts. As Fernanda Savage noted in the introduction to her 1921 English transla- tion of what is probably the writer’s best-known work, Venus im Pelz (1870) [Venus in Furs],“Sacher-Masoch was the poet of the anomaly now generally known as masochism. By this is meant the desire on the part of the individual affected of desiring himself completely and unconditionally subject to the will of [another] person . . . and being treated by this person as by a master, to be humiliated, abused, and tormented, even to the verge of death.This motive is treated in all its innumerable variations.”1 The readers who associate the writer’s name exclusively with the themes of erotic gratification linked to the experience of submission to the will of another person, and even those who are more attracted to the non-psychoanalytic view of the writing of Sade and Sacher-Masoch as part of a discourse of political freedom and slavery in which philosophy and sexually explicit narrative frequently overlap,might be surprised to learn that there were historical periods and national cultures that saw Sacher-Masoch very differently—as a realist-leaning author notable first and foremost for bringing little-known ethnographic facts to the broader reading public.2 Moreover, this approach to the writer’s work at times made it possible for readers to accept these very psychosexual practices featured in Sacher-Masoch’s writings as an essential part of the project of ethnographic CLS 45.4_03.indd 471CLS 45.4_03.indd 471 11/7/08 4:02:52 PM11/7/08 4:02:52 PM
  • 3. 472 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S realism,and therefore,as “truth.”Two such national cultures,those of Russia and Ukraine, offer a fascinating cautionary tale of spirited attempts to claim Sacher-Masoch and his characters as “real” and “their own.” In the opening lines of his 1967 study Coldness and Cruelty that has been widely credited with restarting academic interest in the literary legacy of Sacher-Masoch,Gilles Deleuze asks,“What are the uses of literature?”3 How- ever, for all the insights contained in Deleuze’s book, this particular question remains a rhetorical one in his text.In this essay I offer an attempt to investigate an answer to this question—specifically, as it addresses the work and legacy of Sacher-Masoch—in Russia and Ukraine,two countries that have in recent years witnessed an unprecedented resurgence of attention to,and a proliferation of uses of, Sacher-Masoch’s legacy as a writer and public figure. The interest in Sacher-Masoch in Ukraine would appear more logical: after all, L'viv (a.k.a. Lwów, a.k.a. Lemberg), the city where he was born in 1836, and Eastern Galicia, the area surrounding his home city where most of his texts are set, are now part of Ukraine. However uncomfortable the associations most people have with his name, Sacher-Masoch is among Galicia’s best known sons. As I hope to demonstrate below, in Ukraine, the projects drawing on the legacy of Sacher-Masoch, ranging from scholarly to subversive, can be characterized as creative and critically informed, even if consistently generating controversy. In contrast, the twists and turns of the interest in Sacher-Masoch in Russia, with extremely few exceptions, have taken an increasingly bizarre trajectory,producing a peculiar amalgam of aggressive imperialist mythmak- ing, along with a blindness to and disavowal of a wide range of features of his work that is staggering and might indeed be labeled “perverse.” In the guise of scholarly “expert discourse,” his texts have been frequently put to a highly selective and manipulative use that, to paraphrase Deleuze, might require both critical and clinical attention.4 Naturally, it would be well-nigh impossible to work through the various Russian syndromes and neuroses associated with Sacher-Masoch’s name within the limited space of this essay; therefore,what I attempt below is more of an outline of several known facts or symptoms. I hope that this essay will generate responses that will contribute to the diagnostic project. At the same time, I hope in the pages below to give due acknowledgment to the more sober-minded and critically informed readings of Sacher-Masoch that have also begun to appear in Russia. I will begin my narrative by way of an anecdote. On June 4, 2000, the entire city of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, was papered with posters depicting US President William Jefferson Clinton playing a saxophone. The text of the CLS 45.4_03.indd 472CLS 45.4_03.indd 472 11/7/08 4:02:53 PM11/7/08 4:02:53 PM
  • 4. 473N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H poster read, in Ukrainian, “The Masoch Foundation Presents Bill Clinton’s Final Performance in Ukraine.” Indeed, Clinton did arrive the next day for his final visit to Kyiv in his capacity as the head of state. I do not know if he noticed the posters or understood the caption, but the Kyivites and visi- tors to the city were impressed. In a clever move, the posters were glued to billboards exceedingly well, thus frustrating policemen’s efforts to tear them down for several weeks. This papering of downtown Kyiv was possibly the most successful proj- ect to date of Fond Mazokha [The Masoch Foundation].The brainchild of the L'viv-based conceptualist artists Ihor Podol'chak and Ihor Diurych, the “Foundation” has been the vehicle for a wide range of ironically subversive projects. This time, the posters served as a prelude for the lavish opening, on June 8, 2000, of the installation Podol'chak organized at a dank cave- like underground bunker inside a hill in Kyiv’s main park. For the installa- tion, another famous son of L'viv, the theater director Roman Viktiuk, was brought in from Moscow, where he has been working for the past twenty years, to design a stage show. Several extremely corpulent models acted in semi- and full dishabille, while a circus troupe of midgets was hired to serve drinks and snacks to the bemused local beau monde, whose attention was torn between the show, Podol'chak’s installation, and the free food and drink.In a fitting turn of events,the midgets later joined the women onstage and pelted the audience with pieces of raw meat, sausage, and vegetables. Afterwards, the guests were invited to recover from this traumatic experi- ence at a rooftop restaurant reportedly run by one of the country’s regional criminal clans. To a degree, the use of Sacher-Masoch’s name on Podol'chak and Diurych’s part is but a public relations ploy, albeit a very successful one. However, they do take the commemoration of Sacher-Masoch seriously, organizing a campaign (unsuccessful so far) to rename a street in his home city in the writer’s honor and getting involved in other projects aimed at promoting Sacher-Masoch’s work. In this endeavor, their aspirations have been shared by other L'vivites, as evident, for example, from the 1994 production at the L'viv Opera and Ballet Theatre of the ballet Don Juan of Kolomyia by the Kolomyia-born composer Oleksandr Kozarenko, based upon the eponymous 1866 story by Sacher-Masoch, from the unveiling of a statue of Sacher-Masoch in downtown L'viv in March 2008, and from the 1999 release of a lavishly produced volume of Sacher-Masoch’s selected writings in Ukrainian translation by one of the city’s publishing houses.The content of that volume is indicative of the kind of treatment Sacher-Masoch is receiving among the intellectuals in Ukraine.While the book does include CLS 45.4_03.indd 473CLS 45.4_03.indd 473 11/7/08 4:02:53 PM11/7/08 4:02:53 PM
  • 5. 474 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S Venus in Furs, it also contains several other texts set in Galicia, “Don Juan von Kolomea” [Don Juan of Kolomyia] among them, and it opens with a non-fiction sketch penned by Sacher-Masoch entitled “Frauen-Gestalten aus Galizien” [Women’s images from Galicia]. This text sets the tone for the entire volume. Sacher-Masoch begins by describing the fair in the city of Kolomyia (then known in German as Kolomea), stressing its extraordinarily diverse nature and describing it as the hybrid of a Baghdad bazaar and a Schwarzwald town square. He then proceeds to offer a gallery of portrait sketches of women one may encounter there, distinguishing them through a combination of ethnic, class, and edu- cational features. Thus, we are introduced to a Ukrainian villager from the mountains and a Ukrainian city woman,an aristocratic Pole,a German colo- nist farmer, an orthodox Jewish woman and an assimilated Jewish woman, an Armenian merchant’s daughter, a Karaite, and so forth. Sacher-Masoch also stresses the diversity of physique: the women he describes come in all shapes and sizes, with different hair and eye color, exhibiting features usu- ally thought of as Nordic, Mediterranean, and even central Asian. Nowhere else in the Habsburg Empire, he stresses, not even in Dalmatia or Hungary, can one find such a plethora of contrasting types. Sacher-Masoch, however, seems to exhibit the greatest sympathy to the Ukrainians, evident from the following passage: If the Polish woman is sometimes called a Frenchwoman of the East, then the Russian is the Englishwoman, and the Ukrainian one is the Spanish woman of the East. The Polish woman wants to give orders, while the Ukrainian one wants to be free. While the Polish woman rules over her husband, the Russian one wants to submit to him, just like the German one, and the Ukrainian woman demands equality with him. At any opportunity her unrestrainable Cossack spirit goes ablaze, recognizing no master and no servant. Between the Don and the Carpathians live the natural born democrats; neither the Byzantine emperor, nor the Vikings, nor any Polish king or Russian tsar have broken their spirit, have suppressed their consciousness. They are always ready to trade the plow for a spear, they live in small republican communities as equals amongst equals; for the Eastern Slavs, they are the sprouts of the future, the sprouts of freedom.5 It is certainly flattering for today’s Ukrainians to read this romanticized description, as they recover from the combined legacy of totalitarian and CLS 45.4_03.indd 474CLS 45.4_03.indd 474 11/7/08 4:02:53 PM11/7/08 4:02:53 PM
  • 6. 475N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H colonial oppression and reflect on the contradictory legacy of the first decade and a half of post-Soviet independence. Indeed, the biographers emphasize that while Sacher-Masoch wrote exclusively in German, and came of a mixed heritage where Germanic roots predominated, he considered him- self a Galician Ukrainian in terms of identity and recalled with fondness his Ukrainian wet nurse, a peasant woman named Handzia. The songs she sang and the tales she told, he later claimed, had made a strong impression on the boy and laid the foundation for his fascination with Slavic cultures. However, Sacher-Masoch’s allegiances were overwhelmingly regional, and for his contemporaries he was above all the first German-language writer to offer a captivating portrait of his native region; his early German-language critics called him “the Columbus of the East.” This point is stressed by Larysa Tsybenko in her afterword to the Ukrainian-language volume: His knowledge of many languages and the natural talent of a story- teller helped the language in which Sacher-Masoch writes to shape up, perhaps for the first time in Austrian literature, into a linguistic phenomenon characteristic of multicultural spaces—a phenomenon later manifested in the work of other writers of Galician background: despite the meticulously controlled adherence to the literary norm of the national language, one can hear through its structures the melody of a multiethnic linguistic environment. Later on power- ful examples of this phenomenon can be found in the style of two Galician authors writing in the first half of the twentieth century, the German-language Joseph Roth and the Polish-language Bruno Schulz. This phenomenon provided Sacher-Masoch’s individual style with a particular expressiveness, endowing his language with a characteristic polyphony. Other languages . . . saturate [his works] with a peculiar aura.6 Tsybenko goes on to stress that for Sacher-Masoch, Galicia has remained throughout a supra-ethnic entity, with the German, Slavic, and Jewish ele- ments fusing into an indivisible amalgam. All attempts to clearly identify the ethnic identity of most of his characters, as well as of Sacher-Masoch himself, she asserts, are in vain.7 The presentation of Galicia under Austrian rule (which lasted from 1772 to 1918) as a multicultural utopia of tolerance, is, of course, a product of nostalgia that glosses over the various problems the region faced over this time. Among the most traumatic of them were the events that made CLS 45.4_03.indd 475CLS 45.4_03.indd 475 11/7/08 4:02:53 PM11/7/08 4:02:53 PM
  • 7. 476 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S a very powerful impression on the young Sacher-Masoch’s psyche, namely the failed Polish aristocratic revolution of 1846 that provoked a Ukrainian peasant rebellion that paradoxically allied the peasants and the imperial government against the Polish insurgents and earned the Ukrainians the nickname “Tiroler des Ostens” [Tyroleans of the East] for their supposed loyalty to the emperor. Still, this part of Ukraine fared far better than the rest of the nation, which found itself under Russian rule. This perhaps would be the appropriate time to begin unraveling the tangled knot of the Russian reception of the writings of Sacher-Masoch. As it is clear from the earlier quote, he sees the Ukrainians living in Galicia and in the Russian-ruled Ukraine as two parts of one people (stretching from the Don to the Carpathians) and distinguishes quite clearly between the Ukrainians and the Russians (referring to them,respectively,as the Spaniards and the Britons of the East). However, it is not the ethnonym “Ukrainians” that he uses in his writing. The term “Ukraine” does appear time and again in Sacher-Masoch’s texts, but only in reference to the Russian-ruled part of the country. However, neither in the Russian Empire nor in the Habsburg Empire were “Ukraine” and “Ukrainian” an official designation at the time. In Russia, the theory of the “tripartite Russian people” was officially pro- mulgated, where russkii [Russian, as both a noun and an adjective] referred as a unifying designation for the three East Slavic nations that are now known as the Russians, the Ukrainians, and the Belarusans. The ethnic Russians, now known as russkie, were called, in Russian, velikorossy [Great Russians]; the Ukrainians were called malorossy [Little Russians], and only the Belarusans were called by the same designation under which they are known today, belorusy [White Russians]. To confuse things further, while many nineteenth-century Russian speakers maintained a distinction between russkie and velikorossy, others used the two terms interchangeably; accord- ing to the historian Aleksei Miller, “the adherents of the equivalence of the notions ‘Russian’[russkii] and ‘Great Russian’[velikorusskii] up until the col- lapse of the Russian Empire remained a minority; the idea of the all-Russian nation uniting all the East Slavs continued to dominate.”8 In the Habsburg Empire, the official designation for the East Slavic population was “die Ruthenen”[Ruthenians],and the self-designation among most Galician East Slavs, in their vernacular speech, was “rusyny” (sometimes given in German as die Russinen); the self-designation ukraïntsi [Ukrainians; in German, die Ukrainer] came to be embraced by the majority of Galician East Slavs only by the late-nineteenth or early twentieth century.However,Sacher-Masoch uses neither the term Ruthenen nor Russinen in his writing, opting instead for “Little Russian” or “Russian” tout court (the same text could include CLS 45.4_03.indd 476CLS 45.4_03.indd 476 11/7/08 4:02:53 PM11/7/08 4:02:53 PM
  • 8. 477N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H both designations, “Kleinrussen” [Little Russians] and “Russen” [Russians], referring to the same persons). A telling example occurs on the first page of “Don Juan von Kolomea”: in the fourth paragraph, the narrator’s phrase “meine russischen Bauern” [my Russian peasants] is accompanied by the following author’s footnote: Das ganze östliche Galizien vom San an,ist vorwiegend von Kleinrus- sen,drei Millionen,bewohnt,welche der unirten griechischen Kirche angehören und mit der Bevölkerung des südlichen Rußlands und den Kosaken ein großes Volk von etwa 20 Millionen bilden, welches sich durch Schönheit der Körperbildung, Adel der Gesichtszüge, geistige Anlagen, Wohlklang der Sprache und seinen Reichthum an Volkspoesie vor allen slavischen Stämmen auszeichnet. [The whole of eastern Galicia,beginning with the San River,is home primarily to three million Little Russians who belong to the Greek Uniate Church and who form along with the population of southern Russia and the Cossacks a great nation of approximately 20 million. The beauty of their physique, the nobility of their facial features, the harmony of their language, and the richness of their folk poetry con- fers upon them the greatest distinction among the Slavic tribes.]9 The above lines exemplify the politics of identification practiced by the East Slavic population of Austrian Galicia in the nineteenth century. Simi- lar to other ethnic groups in East Central Europe, over the course of the nineteenth century the Ukrainians experienced a major national revival, beginning in the Russian-ruled Ukraine in the late 1790s and spilling over into the Austrian-ruled part in the 1820s.Although the majority of Austrian Ruthenians eventually came to embrace the Ukrainian national revival, there were other parties among them advocating a separate Ruthenian, or Rusyn, identity distinct from the Ukrainians (this tendency came to domi- nate only in the small Rusyn-populated region of the Hungarian part of the Habsburg empire, corresponding to the present-day Transcarpathian region of Ukraine and a portion of eastern Slovakia). Still others displayed Moscophile tendencies, viewing themselves and fellow Galician East Slavs as part of the “tripartite Russian nation.” The historian John-Paul Himka succinctly describes the situation in the following terms: From the 1830s through World War I two different constructions of nationality existed and competed in Galician Rus'—the Ukrainian CLS 45.4_03.indd 477CLS 45.4_03.indd 477 11/7/08 4:02:54 PM11/7/08 4:02:54 PM
  • 9. 478 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S and the all-Russian. Adherents of the Ukrainian orientation maintained that they were of the same nationality as the Ukrainians or Little Russians across the river Zbruch in the Russian empire. Adherents of the all-Russian orientation . . . did not deny this, but they minimized the differences between Little Russians and Great Russians and saw all East Slavs,including the Ruthenians of Austria- Hungary, as part of a single Russian nationality. . . . By the latter half of the nineteenth century, they had generated different spellings for the adjectival form “Ruthenian”: the Ukrainophiles wrote rus'kyi, the Russophiles wrote russkii.10 Additionally, a small minority of educated Galician Ruthenians, especially in the first half of the nineteenth century, advocated assimilation into Polish national identity. Prominent representatives of this trend included Kasper Cięglewicz,an active figure in the Polish revolutionary movement in Galicia in the 1840s and, paradoxically, also a Ruthenian delegate to the first all- Slavic congress in Prague in 1848. Notoriously, Cięglewicz argued that “the Ruthenian language was a mere dialect, unsuited to be a vehicle of higher culture, incapable of expressing the needs of an educated community; the vehicle to meet the needs of educated Galician Ruthenians was, naturally, Polish” (Himka, 114). In 1850s–1860s Galicia, as Himka notes, the Moscophiles constituted “the stronger camp” in the “open intellectual war” between them and the Ukrainophiles.The latter gained strength only after the introduction of the Austrian constitution in 1867; however, the Ukrainophile party, in Himka’s opinion, “did not begin to outpace the Russophiles until the mid-1880s at the earliest.” From that time onwards, the Moscophiles “waned in popular- ity, while Ukrainophilism made rapid and irreversible progress” (128). This evolution also impacted the linguistic standards used in Galician East Slavic printed media. For most of the nineteenth century, Ukrainophile publications increasingly sought to adhere closely to the locally spoken East Slavic vernacular and used the Ukrainian orthography, while Moscophile publications used a hybrid standard known as iazychie, heavily influenced by Church Slavonic and Russian, but also drawing on local vernacular forms and Polonisms, rendered in an etymologically based orthography similar to the Russian one. While, as we shall see shortly, both leading camps among the Galician East Slavs eventually established ties with Sacher-Masoch, the time of his university education and early forays into literature, the 1850s–1860s, fully coincides with the period of Moscophile dominance of CLS 45.4_03.indd 478CLS 45.4_03.indd 478 11/7/08 4:02:54 PM11/7/08 4:02:54 PM
  • 10. 479N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H Galicia’s East Slavic intellectual life. It should not therefore be surprising that as a dutiful student who absorbed the then dominant views, Sacher- Masoch adopted,in his German-language writing,the Moscophile tendency to see rus'kyi and russkii [Ruthenian and Russian] as synonyms, while at the same time maintaining that the particular “subspecies” of Russians with which he identified was that of the “Little Russians,” i.e., Ukrainians. Larry Wolff, in his introduction to the Penguin edition of Venus in Furs, sums up the ethnic and regional contexts of Sacher-Masoch’s writings by arguing that the writer “considered himself a Slav by origin, without actually clearly distinguishing between Ruthenian and Little Russian on the one hand, which would denominate modern Ukrainian, and Russian on the other hand, which would certainly have been alien to the province of Galicia and his Habsburg homeland.”11 As I have argued above, although this intellec- tual position may appear inconsistent and contradictory by the standards of our era, it followed logically from the state of intellectual debates on East Slavic ethnic and cultural identity in Austrian-ruled Galicia during Sacher- Masoch’s university years, and can be viewed as a snapshot of practices of identification by local intellectuals at a point on the vector that carried them from grounding the self in local communities and religious affiliation to a worldview stemming from an ethno-linguistically and culturally grounded conception of Ukrainian identity. Still, while in Austria, despite certain fits and starts, the Ukrainian national revival continued uninterrupted and gathered strength, so that by the end of the nineteenth century,Ukrainian intellectuals hoped that Galicia would become the Piedmont of the Ukrainian Risorgimento, in Russia it ran into the fierce opposition of the ruling power.12 Beginning with the 1847 crackdown on the Panslavically oriented Cyrillo-Methodian Brotherhood, which espoused an ideal of a confederacy of free and equal Slavic states, the Russian Empire exhibited less and less tolerance of any Ukrainian activi- ties.The other two major crackdowns occurred in 1863 and 1876, namely the so-called Valuev Circular and the Ems Edict:the first banned the publication of religious and educational texts in Ukrainian,including primers,but permit- ted the publication of belles-lettres;the second prohibited the printing of any original works or translations in the Ukrainian language.The Ems Edict also forbade the importation of Ukrainian-language publications from abroad, the staging of plays and public readings in Ukrainian, and the printing of Ukrainian lyrics to musical works.The very words“Ukraine”and“Ukrainian” were forbidden for public use as well.13 This ban was later partially relaxed and finally lifted in 1905, but reimposed in 1914. Simultaneously, the Russian CLS 45.4_03.indd 479CLS 45.4_03.indd 479 11/7/08 4:02:54 PM11/7/08 4:02:54 PM
  • 11. 480 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S government provided financial and other support for the activities of the Moscophiles in the Austrian part of Ukraine. This politics of crackdowns and short-lived “thaws”continued into the Soviet era,accompanied this time by the purges of the intelligentsia in the 1930s and 1970s and the genocide of the peasantry through a government-engineered famine in 1933. The first notable response to Sacher-Masoch’s writing in a Galician Ruthe- nian public forum dates to 1872.Overall,from 1872 through 1893,according to archival sources,about fifteen translations of Sacher-Masoch’s work appeared in local East Slavic periodicals, in addition to several critical essays about him.14 The overwhelming majority of these responses was strongly positive, and, predictably, came primarily from the Moscophile camp. Writing in Slovo,the leading Moscophile periodical of the time,in his preface to the 1872 publication of the translation of the novella“Die schwarze Zarin”(1866) [The black tsarina],Stepan Labash argued that“for us Galicians,[Sacher-Masoch] is interesting first of all because in his polemics with the Viennese journalist Hieronymus Lorm (1866) he publicly acknowledged that he was a Galician Ruthenian/Russian, and further because almost all the characters of his stories are Galicians, Ruthenian/Russian types, indeed Ruthenian/Russian patriots.”15 Slovo’s gesture was followed, during the next two decades, by several other Moscophile periodicals, among them Rodimyi listok, Zviezda, Chervonaia Rus', and Galichanin. The texts chosen for translation featured plots including Galician characters both of East Slavic and other backgrounds (among them the novels Der neue Hiob [The new Job] and Der Judenraphael [The Jewish Raphael], the stories “Das Gespenst von Wranow” [The ghost of Wranow] and “Vor dem Jahr 1848” [From the year 1848]). Compared to the Moscophile enthusiasm, the reception of Sacher- Masoch’s writing in Ukrainophile circles was more restrained. Only one Ukrainophile periodical, the biweekly Zoria, consistently paid attention to his work. In its pages, in an 1880 essay entitled “Sacher-Masoch and the Ruthenians,” Levko Sapohivs' kyi (pen name of Lev Vasylovych, 1858–1883) expressed regret that Sacher-Masoch was not receiving his due in the Ukrainian community: Sacher-Masoch . . . who depicted for the whole world the unde- served fate of our oppressed but honest and loving people . . . has acquired a bad reputation among us. Usually we accuse him of lying! And why? Because the Poles, ashamed at the way in which they are reflected in the mirror of Sacher-Masoch’s writing, have said that this mirror was a false one, that the Poles were better than the way CLS 45.4_03.indd 480CLS 45.4_03.indd 480 11/7/08 4:02:54 PM11/7/08 4:02:54 PM
  • 12. 481N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H Sacher-Masoch portrayed them. So we too listened to this Polish criticism and groundlessly followed it. It appears that our judgment was completely unjust. For Sapohivs' kyi, the key value of Sacher-Masoch’s writing was in its verisimilitude: Sacher-Masoch’s peasants are the persons we see daily, attached to their homes, fields, villages, families, and cattle. Images of nature, Ruthenian costumes, music, and dance—Sacher-Masoch paints everything correctly, and all his depictions are colored by poetry.16 It would not be an exaggeration to say that the debates regarding whether Sacher-Masoch’s portrayal of Galician Ruthenians was true-to-life essen- tially comprised the Galician East Slavic reception of his work during his lifetime. The euphoria of responses mentioned above, culminating in the exchange between the editors of Zoria and Sacher-Masoch in 1882–83,where the former called him “a sincere friend and supporter of our people,” and he responded with the statement, “For as long as God grants me life and good health, I will continue fighting for our land and the Little Russian people,” however, was short-lived.17 The opinion of those Galician Ukrainian intel- lectuals who saw Sacher-Masoch’s depiction of their homeland as“lies”came to prevail, as is evident from the epistolary exchange between the leading Galician Ukrainian writer of his generation,Ivan Franko,and his wife Ol' ha. In a letter to her husband dated July 23, 1891, Ol' ha Franko noted that she did not see any authentic Ukrainian types in “Don Juan of Kolomyia,” to which her husband responded: “he [Sacher-Masoch] tells truly incredible lies about Galicia.”18 The name of Sacher-Masoch swiftly disappeared off the pages of Ukrainian printed media for nearly a century, to reappear only in post-Soviet Ukraine in the early 1990s, in a very different context. The first Russian translation of Sacher-Masoch’s writing appeared in print in 1869, in the midst of crackdowns on Ukrainian language and culture; it was, appropriately enough, one of his Galician stories, “Ein Erntefest in Ostgalizien” (1868) [A harvest festival in eastern Galicia] (the translation was titled simply “Prazdnik zhatvy” [A harvest festival]); it was followed in 1871 by renditions of the stories “Mondnacht” [Moonlight] and “Der Capitulant” [Retired soldier] in the prominent journal Niva. Other publi- cations followed in abundance, and Russia emerged, along with France, as the foreign country where his writing enjoyed the greatest success. While CLS 45.4_03.indd 481CLS 45.4_03.indd 481 11/7/08 4:02:54 PM11/7/08 4:02:54 PM
  • 13. 482 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S the French critics, following the trend launched by the influential preface to “Don Juan von Kolomea” by the Viennese writer Ferdinand Kürnberger, dubbed him“the Little RussianTurgenev,”for the Russian critics (e.g.Nikolai Mikhailovskii) he was “the Little Russian Schopenhauer.”19 The abundant flow of publications of Russian translations (numbering more than seventy) suddenly stopped after 1890, most likely due to the uncomfortable associa- tions with the author’s name that began developing after Krafft-Ebing’s coining of the term “masochism” in 1886, and also to the growing awareness of Masoch’s cycle Russische Hofgeschichten (1873–74) [Russian court tales], which portrayed the imperial family, in particular his favorite Catherine II, in a far from flattering light by conventional standards. (Throughout the period of his high popularity in Russia, only the Galician-themed works of Sacher-Masoch were translated into Russian.) Afterwards, only a reprint of the Russian translation of his cycle Judengeschichten [Jewish tales] was published in 1899.20 Finally,Venus in Furs,not translated into Russian during the author’s lifetime, came out in 1908, already in the context of the wide- spread use of the term “masochism” and in the midst of the first boom of literary erotica in Russia that followed the 1905 relaxation of censorship.The publication of a short story collection,Demonicheskiia zhenshchiny [Demonic women], in 1913 also owes its existence to the booming market for erotica.21 Following that episode, new Russian translations of Sacher-Masoch’s work appeared only following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It comes then as little surprise that in the nineteenth-century Russian translations all Galician East Slavs are continuously rendered as “Russians”; likewise, the Russian critics of the time, such as one of Sacher-Masoch’s translators,S.A.Katel'nikova,asserted that the character types he portrayed are “our . . . Russian [russkie] types; in their moral and intellectual makeup all of them are Russians.”22 What is considerably more shocking is that after the collapse of the USSR, this discourse was reembraced with a vengeance by most contemporary Russian interpreters of Sacher-Masoch, creating an impression that they simultaneously want to assert that masochism is indeed something that Sacher-Masoch “discovered” by observing the Russians and to write out of existence the Ukrainians as a distinct nation, apparently still convinced that the Ukrainians are merely Russians who for some unexplain- able reason want to maintain a distinct identity and make this “amusing- sounding” dialect into a full-fledged language, although “everyone knows” it is only fit for comic relief. It would be easy to dismiss the authors of such statements as representing the imperialist extremist fringe if their writings were not published by the leading Russian scholarly venues (many of them with a liberal or progressive CLS 45.4_03.indd 482CLS 45.4_03.indd 482 11/7/08 4:02:54 PM11/7/08 4:02:54 PM
  • 14. 483N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H reputation),dressed in all the obligatory vestments of expert discourse.Below I would like to offer some brief comments on several such texts. The name of Sacher-Masoch was restored to Russian public discourse in 1992, with the publication of a volume containing the Russian transla- tion of Deleuze’s Coldness and Cruelty, Venus in Furs, and selected essays on masochism by Freud. This volume was the second book published by the Ad Marginem Press, which has since then emerged as one of the leading publishers of critical theory in Russia.Their first volume was a collection of essays on the Marquis de Sade by twentieth-century French thinkers; the publication of both was funded by the French government.Leaving aside the fact that these were rather unusual harbingers of the arrival of French critical theory in Russia, I commend these volumes for the high level of scholarly standards they exhibit. A number of reprints of the pre-revolutionary Rus- sian editions of Venus in Furs and Demonic Women soon followed, with fairly sizable print runs but without any scholarly apparatus, and their intellectual impact was predictably limited. The next major publication on Sacher-Masoch in Russia constitutes an altogether different case. In 1995, Aleksandr Etkind, by then the author of a bestselling history of psychoanalysis in Russia, published a lengthy essay in the prominent journal Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie entitled “Pomnish' tam, v Karpatakh?” [Remember there, in the Carpathians].23 An expanded version of the same text reappeared next year as the first chapter of his book entitled Sodom i Psikheia [Sodom and Psyche]. At the outset, Etkind states that the task of his text is to provide an “historical sociology of Sacher-Masoch and his Russian readers.”24 Sacher-Masoch for him is first and foremost “one among many in the series of admirers of the Russian culture and Russian women” (20). However, instead of supporting this claim by referencing, for example, one of Sacher-Masoch’s stories about the court of Catherine II, Etkind offers as the proof of his assertion the fact that “one of [Sacher- Masoch’s] heroes, educating his own serf into a mistress, translates for her Faust into Little Russian.” He goes on to assert, also without any substantial proof, that Wanda in Venus is a Russian as well, and that the name of the novel’s protagonist,Severin,is “modeled on Russian last names and contains an expressive Russian root” (20).The latter would be a fascinating discovery were this name not a fairly common one among the Ukrainians and Poles at the time (Severyn/Seweryn—for instance, the famous seventeenth-century Cossack leader Severyn Nalyvaiko), and etymologically traceable to the Latin severus [serious]. Egregious errors reappear with a depressing frequency in Etkind’s text. Among the most glaring of them is his claim that “after the second CLS 45.4_03.indd 483CLS 45.4_03.indd 483 11/7/08 4:02:55 PM11/7/08 4:02:55 PM
  • 15. 484 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S partition of Poland and several other events Galicia was transferred from the Russian empire to Austria-Hungary” (25).25 This puzzling statement, however, in my opinion signals not merely Etkind’s unfamiliarity with the major events in European history that he ought to have remembered from the history curriculum from his days as a secondary school student in the USSR; it is also a Freudian slip symptomatic of Etkind’s attempt to repaint Sacher-Masoch’s Galicia as a phantasmatic Russia. Halfway through his essay, Etkind proposes that Sacher-Masoch may have learned the pleasures of flagellation from the Russian sect of khlysty [flagellants], despite the fact that he never mentioned khlysty in his writings (30). Etkind believes that the sect most resembling the khlysty is described in Sacher-Masoch’s novel Die Gottesmutter (1882) [The godmother], but in the text they are called the Dukhobors.26 Ergo, the Russians are the original masochists, especially, of course, those Russians who live in the Carpathians. Through this stream of erroneous statements and dubious assertions by Etkind, one perceives glimpses of a potentially productive thesis, namely, that some of Sacher-Masoch’s nineteenth-century Russian readers, in a peculiar combination of populism fashionable among the intelligentsia with their susceptibility to the official imperial discourse, identified themselves with the characters designated as Slavs (especially East Slavs) in his works. In other words,what for Sacher-Masoch’sWestern readers was an exotic context for his tales (easily brushed aside as disposable “window dressing,” as it were), for his Russian readers became the core of the text itself, the condition of possibility for all the unusual behavior in which his characters engage.Remarkably,Etkind fails to maintain a critical distance towards these phantasmatic projections and appears to be fully trapped in the rhetoric of Russian imperialist discourse. While,for example,the Muslim minorities or the native population of Siberia were posited in the Russian Empire as the barbarian radical Other, the non- Russian Slavs, by contrast, were denied any claim to a distinct identity and kept in check by the simultaneous colonial oppression, the purposeful stunt- ing of growth, and the provincializing brain drain into the imperial capitals.27 Without perhaps the imperial power behind him, but with the full implica- tions of expert discourse, Etkind continuously turns Sacher-Masoch and the Ukrainians into Russians.The terms “Ukraine” or “Ukrainians” never appear in Etkind’s study; Ukrainian identity is fully erased. Sacher-Masoch’s wet nurse sings “Russian”songs to him; as the son of the police chief of Galicia,he saw the punishment of “Russian” peasants;“Russian” peasants rose up against the Polish nobility in 1846 (21). Sacher-Masoch’s plots, according to Etkind, almost always involve a German-speaking Austrian man and a “Russian” or CLS 45.4_03.indd 484CLS 45.4_03.indd 484 11/7/08 4:02:55 PM11/7/08 4:02:55 PM
  • 16. 485N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H “Russian-speaking” woman; the writer’s ideology was a “Carpathian variant of the Russian narodnichestvo [populism]” (26). The capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, and its immediate surroundings, constitute, according to Etkind, “an exotic Russian setting”(35).Rather than subjecting the reader to a continuation of this lengthy list, I will offer a final quote from Etkind: discussing one of Sacher- Masoch’s Galician stories,“Der Hajdamak”(1877) [The Haidamak],a text full of local historical and ethnographic information about Oleksa Dovbush, the Carpathian Robin Hood, and the opryshky, his followers, he asserts, without advancing any substantial proof, “Sacher-Masoch’s characteristic desire to erase cultural boundaries between the Carpathians and Russia” (44). With a depressing consistency, Etkind’s text seeks to present the author’s own phan- tasmatic projections as a factual narrative. Many of Etkind’s tendencies are also found in abundance in the vol- ume of Sacher-Masoch’s selected writings in the Russian translation that appeared in early 2000. Brought out by the prestigious Akademicheskii Proekt publishing house, it could be indicative to an extent of the cur- rent state of Russian scholarly publishing. In his preface to the book, the translator Evgenii Voropaev does use the terms “Ukraine” and “Ukrainian” a couple of times at the outset, but only to present the erroneous claim that the folk poetry collection Rusalka Dniestrovaia:RuthenischeVolks-Lieder [The Dniester nymph: Ruthenian folksongs], which appeared in Austria in 1837, shortly after Sacher-Masoch was born, was the first book to be published in Ukrainian (even if he meant“modern Ukrainian,”the date needs to be set back thirty-nine years to the publication of Ivan Kotliarevs' kyi’s Eneida in 1798).28 Afterwards,Voropaev likewise abandons these terms and fills both the preface, the footnotes, and the translations with “Russians” and “Little Russians,” for example sending the characters of one of the stories to a “Russian theater in Kolomeia” (142). In a particularly bizarre twist he retransliterates from the nineteenth-century German spelling the various Slavic personal names and toponyms, thus Kolomyia becomes Kolomeia, Handzia becomes Gandzha, and so forth; when in one of his stories Sacher-Masoch quotes a Ukrainian folk song, it is reproduced in the book in the German Latin transliteration (113).In an unexpected twist,Voropaev expends considerable time and energy to attack in his prefatory essay the persons he calls “pseudo-scholars”—the individuals who supposedly try to provide “explanatory grounds” to various “perversions” and “turn those perversions into the principle of freedom” (15). Among such“pervert scholars”he lists a certain“V.Bul'ba from the University of Toronto” who allegedly “writes about Jesus’s homosexuality,” along with Karen Horney,“who turns the Maid of Orleans into a heroine and an example CLS 45.4_03.indd 485CLS 45.4_03.indd 485 11/7/08 4:02:55 PM11/7/08 4:02:55 PM
  • 17. 486 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S for emulation,”and Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel,who “presents God in the image of a woman” (15).29 Voropaev provides no supporting references, but it seems unlikely that this outburst was intended to be a practical joke. A few paragraphs later, he proceeds to mount a defense of Sacher-Masoch: The clash of the rational and the soulful, of science and faith in the life and creative work of the Austrian writer (especially against the background of his personal fate and his peculiar, from the point of view of society’s morals, relationships with women) was probably rather dramatic, although he may not have confessed that to himself. For his roots in the people were far too strong (Uzh slishkom sil'ny v nem byli narodnye korni).His education,background and culture were sown into the soil of traditions, bound unbreakably with faith and superstition, with the mystical pantheism of his motherland, with the yearnings and fears of the natural man, whom he understood as few people did. (16) Voropaev goes on to describe Sacher-Masoch as a “deeply religious per- son . . . under a strong influence of folk mystical beliefs” (23). Finally, Sacher-Masoch’s greatest accomplishment, for Voropaev, is that he became “zhivopisets malorossiiskoi derevni, zhiteli kotoroi zhivut v neposredstven- nom soprikosnovenii s prirodoi”(25) [the painter of the Little Russian village, the inhabitants of which live in direct contact with nature]. Thus if one were to judge the current state of Russian literary scholarship by Voropaev’s standards, one would have no choice but to conclude that it remains frozen in time circa 1876. Fortunately, contemporary Russian scholarship on Sacher-Masoch did not stop with Etkind and Voropaev.The first decade of the twenty-first century saw a series of new publications of Russian translations of Sacher- Masoch’s writing (nearly twenty of them are currently in print, according to the leading Russian online bookstore, a refreshing turn of events, most of these editions are accompanied by accessible and professional intro- ductory essays and explanatory notes by the St. Petersburg-based German literature scholar, Larisa Poluboiarinova. Her long-standing interest in this writer culminated in the 2006 publication of a more than 600-page tome, Leopol'd fon Zakher-Mazokh:Avstriiskii pisatel' epokhi realizma [Leopold von Sacher-Masoch: An Austrian writer of the era of realism].30 Poluboiarinova’s book is marked by a measured tone, extensive familiarity with current liter- ary and cultural theory, as well as painstaking work with archival sources; she focuses her attention primarily on the German-language contexts of CLS 45.4_03.indd 486CLS 45.4_03.indd 486 11/7/08 4:02:55 PM11/7/08 4:02:55 PM
  • 18. 487N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H Sacher-Masoch’s writing, and offers a fascinating reading of his work as a proto-postmodernist subversion of realist fiction—in fact, a simulacrum of realist writing, characterized by a “shimmering” authorial position. Her vol- ume contains an extensive comparatist consideration of Sacher-Masoch and Turgenev, the author with whom the former was most frequently compared during his lifetime by his Western European critics; however, the context in which Poluboiarinova views these two writers stems from the reception of Turgenev’s work by the French and German audiences of the second half of the nineteenth century (as Turgenev became the first prominent Russian writer to achieve renown in the West during his lifetime), rather than the reception of the two authors by their Russian readers. Following a psychoanalytic approach to negation, she subverts Turgenev’s vehement and repeated denials of any similarity between his writing and that of his Austrian colleague and uncovers many typological parallels that go far beyond a view of Sacher-Masoch’s early work as an imitative following of Turgenev’s Sportsman’s Sketches and other influential writings.Poluboiarinova’s book is an outstanding accomplishment in many respects; but sadly she, too, stumbles, like most of her Russian colleagues, on “the Ukrainian question.” In the sec- tion of her book entitled “Zakher-Mazokh i slavianstvo” [Sacher-Masoch and Slavdom], Poluboiarinova displays lack of familiarity with any sources on the Galician East Slavs, their culture, identity, or the language politics of the region. She mounts an argument about “the minuscule participation of Ukrainians, in the nineteenth century, in the cultural discourse of the Danubian monarchy,” offering as her only supporting evidence the extreme case of Kasper Cięglewicz, a rare advocate of full polonization of educated Ruthenians, and his notorious denial, in 1848, of the right of Galician Ruthenians/Ukrainians to be considered “a separate nation” in view of their language being “underdeveloped” (103).31 In a questionable application of the professional jargon of contemporary Russian advertising copywriters, Poluboiarinova argues that Sacher-Masoch’s use of the terms “Russian” and “Little Russian” can be explained by the fact that “Russian,” for the Western European reading public of his time, was an attractive well-developed “brand” [raskruchenyi brend] as opposed to the presumed “obscurity” of the Ukrainians. She admits that the Slavic themes in Sacher-Masoch’s writings are “fairly clearly divided into three parts: polonica,ukrainica,and rossica,”but does not attempt to reconcile this with her dismissal of actual nineteenth- century Ukrainian culture as worthy of more than passing attention (105). In other words, Poluboiarinova’s book, otherwise an exemplar of scholarly objectivity, shares with the majority of Russian academic work a persistent ignorance and disrespect of Ukrainian history and culture. This threatens CLS 45.4_03.indd 487CLS 45.4_03.indd 487 11/7/08 4:02:55 PM11/7/08 4:02:55 PM
  • 19. 488 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S to topple her elegant argument about a nineteenth-century Austrian writer who cleverly uses his proto-postmodernist simulacra of Turgenevian texts to advance his own peculiar agenda. In conclusion, let us return to Gilles Deleuze’s seminal study of Sacher-Masoch, Coldness and Cruelty. In its final pages, Deleuze emphati- cally reasserts that “it is necessary to read Masoch. His work has suffered from unfair neglect, when we consider that Sade has been the object of such penetrating studies both in the field of literary criticism and in that of psychoanalytic interpretation, to the benefit of both. . . . By his techniques alone [Sacher-Masoch] is a great writer.”32 I second Deleuze’s imperative, even if I would qualify his statement by saying that Sacher-Masoch was an uneven, if extraordinarily prolific author. Still, there are some truly power- ful and masterfully crafted texts among his œuvre. It is equally important, in my opinion, to read carefully Sacher-Masoch’s interpreters, for the spin to which his writing is at times subjected is often more indicative of the state of the particular intellectual environment to which these interpreters belong rather than of the original context of the writer they discuss. Thus, refusing the tortured post-imperialist melancholic fantasies of Etkind and Voropaev, I ally myself with Tsybenko, who presents Sacher-Masoch as a proto-postmodernist, not of the quasi-Baudrillardian simulacra-producing variety, but rather as an unusual and underappreciated pioneer of multicul- turalism. Tsybenko draws the reader’s attention to several peculiar features of Sacher-Masoch’s writing. For example, she notes the announced reflexive or potentially even critically subversive presence of the author in the text, usually as the framing autobiographically-identified narrator (as in“Don Juan of Kolomyia” or Venus in Furs), and highlights the grotesque and parodic aspect of much of his writing (as, for instance, the story “Die Toten sind unersättlich” (1875) [The dead are insatiable] which parodically alludes not only to the Gothic horror genre, but also to Sacher-Masoch’s own earlier texts) (367, 379). Finally, there is the continuous discursive polyphony of his writing. All of these features allow us to view Sacher-Masoch as a quintes- sentially Galician author, and Galicia as a region that is somehow “organi- cally postmodernist” in its cultural makeup. Such at least is the view of most Galician authors writing today, and the region is indeed the lively epicenter of postmodernist experimentation in Ukrainian letters, as demonstrated by the writings of Yuri Andrukhovych,Izdryk,Taras Prokhas'ko,and a number of other authors. Andrukhovych, arguably the contemporary Ukrainian author best known internationally,entitled a playful recent essay“A Little Bit of Sisyphus, a Little Bit of Sacher-Masoch. Ukrainian Writer: The 2007 Model.”33 CLS 45.4_03.indd 488CLS 45.4_03.indd 488 11/7/08 4:02:55 PM11/7/08 4:02:55 PM
  • 20. 489N AT I O N A L I Z I N G S AC H E R - M A S O C H This mixture of Sacher-Masoch and Sisyphus, for him, means “a sweet and fascinating prospect of eternally starting from scratch”—a subversive and refreshing take on the current predicament of Ukrainian literature in view of the seemingly endless fits and starts of Ukraine as a cultural and politi- cal entity on the world arena. Sacher-Masoch surely offers an outstanding example of similar persistence. At the end of a somewhat disturbing narra- tive, I, following the fashion of many of Sacher-Masoch’s own texts, would like to conclude this essay on this optimistic note. Miami University (Oxford, OH) Notes 1. Fernanda Savage, introduction to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs (N.p.: Private printing, 1921), 2. For a detailed study of this approach to the writer’s legacy,see David A.Goldfarb,“Bond- age and the Frame,” (paper presentation, convention of the Modern Language Association of America, Washington, DC, December 2000). See also Goldfarb’s other conference presenta- tions and his forthcoming monograph. 3. Gilles Deleuze, “Coldness and Cruelty,” in Masochism, Gilles Deleuze and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, trans. Jean McNeil (New York: Zone Books, 1991), 15. 4. See Gilles Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical, trans. Daniel Smith and Michael Greco (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1997). 5. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch,“Zhinochi obrazky z Halychyny,” trans. Ivan Herasym, in Vybrani tvory (L'viv: Litopys, 1999), 19, 21. 6. LarysaTsybenko,“Pisliamova,”in Vybrani tvory,366.Unless otherwise stated,translations from the Ukrainian and Russian are mine. 7. Ibid., 374. 8. Aleksei Miller, Imperiia Romanovykh i natsionalizm (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe oboz- renie, 2006), 71. 9. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, “Don Juan von Kolomea,” Projekt Gutenberg-DE, http://, trans. Michael T. O’Pecko, “Don Juan of Kolomea,” in Love:The Legacy of Cain (Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, 2003), 66. 10. John-Paul Himka,“The Construction of Nationality in Galician Rus': Icarian Flights in Almost All Directions,” in Intellectuals and the Articulation of the Nation, ed. Ronald G. Suny and Michael D. Kennedy (Ann Arbor, MI: U of Michigan P, 1999), 124–5. Further citations in text. 11. Larry Wolff, introduction to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs, trans. Joachim Neugroschel (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2000), xiv. 12. See Paul R. Magocsi, The Roots of Ukrainian Nationalism: Galicia as Ukraine’s Piedmont (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2002). 13. See Fedir Savchenko,The Suppression of the Ukrainian Activities in 1876 (Munich:W.Fink, 1970). The English translations of both the Valuev Circular and the Ems Edict are available as appendices in Aleksei Miller, The Ukrainian Question:The Russian Empire and Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century (Budapest: Central European UP, 2003). 14. See Mariia Val’o, “L. Zakher-Mazokh i Ukraïna,” Vsesvit 3 (1994): 152. 15. Stepan Labash, introduction to “Die schwarze Zarin” Slovo 83 (1872), quoted in Ievhen Nakhlik,“Retseptsiia L.fon Zakher-Mazokha v zakhidnoukraïns'komu literaturnomu protsesi XIX st.,” in Ukraïns'ka literatura v Avstriï, avstriis'ka—v Ukraïni: Materialy mizhnarodnoho CLS 45.4_03.indd 489CLS 45.4_03.indd 489 11/7/08 4:02:56 PM11/7/08 4:02:56 PM
  • 21. 490 C O M P A R A T I V E L I T E R A T U R E S T U D I E S sympoziumu (Kyiv:Brama Ltd.,1994),113.For more on Slovo,see ch.12 of Miller’s The Ukrainian Question, “The Subsidy for Slovo: Galician Rusyns in the Policy of St. Petersburg” 211–220. 16. Levko Sapohivs'kyi, “Sakher-Masokh a rusyny,” Zoria 23 (1880): 300, 302; quoted in Nakhlik, 114–5. 17. Zoria, 1882, 23: 371; 1883, 4: 64. 18. Ivan Franko,Zibrannia tvoriv u 50 tomakh (Collected works in 50 volumes),vol.49 (Kyiv: Naukova dumka, 1986), 286. 19. See Nikolai Mikhailovskii,“Palka o dvukh kontsakh,” Otechestvennye zapiski 7 (1877): 284. 20. See Leopold von Sacher-Masoch,Sochineniia Zakher-Mazokha:Evreiskie razskazy,trans. A. S. Razmadze (1887; Moscow: Tip. E. Gerbek, 1899). 21. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Demonicheskiia zhenshchiny (St. Petersburg: Tip. V.Ia. Mil’shteina,1913),an anonymous translation of a selection from Sacher-Masoch’s Hinterlassene Novellen, posthumously published in 1901. 22. S. A. Katel'nikova, preface to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Zaveshchanie Kaina, trans. S. A. Katel'nikova (Moscow, 1877), 1: v. 23. See Aleksandr Etkind,Eros nevozmozhnogo:Istoriia psikhoanaliza v Rossii (St.Petersburg: Meduza,1993),trans.Noah and Maria Rubins,Eros of the Impossible:The History of Psychoanalysis in Russia, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997). 24. Aleksandr Etkind, Sodom i Psikheia: Ocherki intellektual'noi istorii Serebrianogo veka (Moscow: ITs-garant, 1996), 12. Further citations in text. 25. Galicia was never part of the Russian empire; it became part of the Austrian Empire— known as Austria-Hungary only after the Ausgleich of 1867—following the first partition of Poland in 1772, not the second one in 1793. 26. The censored Russian translation of the novel was published, in a serialized form, in 1880, preceding the German book edition.This fact provides additional testimony to the high regard in which Sacher-Masoch’s writing was held in Russia at the time. 27. On the double oppression of Ukraine as a colony and as a province,see George Grabowicz, “Ukrainian Studies: Framing the Contexts,” Slavic Review 54.3 (1995): 674–90, esp. 675–79. 28. Evgenii Voropaev,“Don Zhuan ili Don Kikhot?,”preface to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Kolomeiskii Don Zhuan,trans.Evgenii Voropaev (St.Petersburg:Akademicheskii proekt,2000), 5. Further citations in text. 29. It appears that Voropaev has in mind the noted psychoanalyst Karen Horney and the German feminist theologian Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel; I have not been able to ascertain who V. Bul’ba might be. 30. See Larisa Poluboiarinova,Leopol'd fon Zakher-Mazokh:Avstriiskii pisatel' epokhi realizma (St. Petersburg: Nauka, 2006). 31. Cf. John-Paul Himka’s discussion of Cięglewicz referenced above. 32. Deleuze, “Coldness and Cruelty,” 133. 33. See Yuri Andrukhovych, “Trokhy Sizifa, trokhy Zakher-Mazokha. Ukraïns' kyi pys'mennyk: model’ 2007,” delivered at the conference Ukraine 2007:The Role of the Public in a Society in the Process of “Opening Up,” organized by the Greens/European Free Alliance faction of the European Parliament and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, held at the European Parlia- ment in Brussels, 7 February 2007; text available at html. CLS 45.4_03.indd 490CLS 45.4_03.indd 490 11/7/08 4:02:56 PM11/7/08 4:02:56 PM