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Anita Phillips

Related: masochism - theory

A Defense of Masochism (1998) - Anita Phillips
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Editor of the British journal Interstice

A Defense of Masochism (1998) - Anita Phillips

Ever since "masochism" was coined in the late 19th century by Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing, it has been misconceived as sadism's weaker counterpart, but Anita Phillips, editor of the British academic journal Interstice, explodes this myth, arguing that masochism is "highly autonomous." The art of acting out masochistic fantasies, she writes, is "being hurt in exactly the right way and the right time, within a sophisticated, highly artificial scenario." Phillips turns to Freud, Jung, Foucault, and Leo Bersani to fashion a new definition of masochism, delving into popular culture to demonstrate both its necessity and the major influence it has had on Western culture--from David Lynch's Blue Velvet to Jean Genet's The Miracle of the Rose, as well as the martyred images of Christ in the New Testament. She argues that masochism is a healthy part of the human psyche that takes secret pleasure in enduring imagined and real suffering at the hands of another when the subject knows that gratification is the ultimate outcome. Written with wit and authority, A Defense of Masochism is sure to provoke some highly charged discussions on the nature of sexuality. --Kera Bolonik for Amazon.com

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