Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
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Venus in Furs (1870)
- "And the moral of the story?" I said to Severin when I put the manuscript down on the table.
"That I was a donkey," he exclaimed without turning around, for he seemed to be embarrassed. "If only I had beaten her!"
"A curious remedy," I exclaimed, "which might answer with your peasant-women-"
"Oh, they are used to it," he replied eagerly, "but imagine the effect upon one of our delicate, nervous, hysterical ladies--"
"But the moral?"
"That woman, as nature has created her and as man is at present educating her, is his enemy. She can only be his slave or his despot, but never his companion. This she can become only when she has the same rights as he, and is his equal in education and work."
"At present we have only the choice of being hammer or anvil, and I was the kind of donkey who let a woman make a slave of him, do you understand?"
"The moral of the tale is this: whoever allows himself to be whipped, deserves to be whipped."