The Love of PlatoForthcoming in 2015
The Love of Plato and Other Writings

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch et al.
edited and translated by James Patrick Wilmer

ELS 110. 118 + xxi pages $22. ISBN: 978-1-55058-392-2

The place is Graz, a city in Austria which was then, in the 1860s and 70s, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian crownland of Styria. For a time three unique writers made this city their home. The most prominent of these is a name known to many of us in the English-speaking world owing to one of his more piquant writings, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The other two – Emerich von Stadion and Emil Mario Vacano – are less well known, even in Germany and Austria. This volume brings together three of their works of fiction, for the first time in English translation, that treat male same-sex desire and love. The first of these is Stadion’s tale “Leonor,” which is taken from his Three Strange Memories (1868). The events recounted in this story provided Sacher-Masoch with the material he would use in the novella The Love of Plato (1870), as he acknowledges in the feuilleton “Love on Account of One’s Health” (1873) – which is included as an appendix in this volume. The third text is comprised of excerpts from Vacano’s novel King Fantasus (1886), which is very loosely based on the life of the homosexual King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Yet, there may be a link between The Love of Plato and King Fantasus. The former work inspired a mystery man to correspond and arrange at least two meetings with Sacher-Masoch. This episode is narrated by the author’s first wife, Aurora, née Rümelin (1845–1933), who took the pseudonym Wanda (the first name of the heroine of Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs) for her 1906 memoirs. This also appears as an appendix here in a new and corrected translation.

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