Bloody Wedding in Kyiv: Two Tales of Olha, Kniahynia of Kyivan Rus

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“She was called ‘light of salvation’ by the great Rus chronicler Nestor, ‘wise’ by history, ‘cunning’ by the people and ‘holy’ by the church,” is the apt description of Olha of Kyiv by the author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Written more than a century apart, two fictional accounts of Olha, a real female monarch of Kyiv, explore facets of the ruthless ruler’s personality. The Kniahynia’s Comb and Bloody Wedding in Kyiv will leave readers staggered by Olha’s enigmatic blend of devotion and ferocity.
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About the author

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836–1895) was an aristocrat and author, and a scholar of his homeland, the historic region of Halychyna (Galicia) in Ukraine. Best known to Western readers for his novella Venus in Furs (1870), and for his involuntary inspiration of the term ‘masochism’, von Sacher-Masoch wrote the short story Bloody Wedding in Kyiv in 1886. This fictionalised tale of the notorious Olha of Kyiv contains compelling historical details and betrays some curious insights into the author’s preoccupations.

Petro Haivoronskyi

Born in 1958 in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, Petro Haivoronskyi, the author of The Kniahynia’s Comb, is a modern Ukrainian writer and journalist who has received several accolades including the Gold Medal of Ukrainian Journalism and the Honorary Ethnographer of the Donetsk Region. Haivoronskyi’s published works include his numerous contributions to The Free Thought Ukrainian newspaper in Australia and the Ukrainian works Miners’ Ballad (2002) and Mykola Momot: Life Without Intermissions (2010), a documentary novel about the Ukrainian opera singer.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Sova Books
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Published on
Jul 5, 2016
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Pages
59
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ISBN
9780987594372
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Alternative History
Young Adult Fiction / Legends, Myths, Fables / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Venus in Furs is a novella by the Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and the best known of his works. The novel draws themes, like female dominance and sadomasochism, and character inspiration heavily from Sacher-Masoch's own life. The framing story concerns a man who dreams of speaking to Venus about love while she wears furs. The unnamed narrator tells his dreams to a friend, Severin, who tells him how to break him of his fascination with cruel women by reading a manuscript, Memoirs of a Suprasensual Man. This manuscript tells of a man, Severin von Kusiemski, who is so infatuated with a woman, Wanda von Dunajew, that he asks to be her slave, and encourages her to treat him in progressively more degrading ways. At first Wanda does not understand or accede to the request, but after humouring Severin a bit she finds the advantages of the method to be interesting and enthusiastically embraces the idea, although at the same time she disdains Severin for allowing her to do so. Severin describes his feelings during these experiences as suprasensuality. Severin and Wanda travel to Florence. Along the way, Severin takes the generic Russian servant's name of "Gregor" and the role of Wanda's servant. In Florence, Wanda treats him brutally as a servant, and recruits a trio of African women to dominate him. The relationship arrives at a crisis when Wanda herself meets a man to whom she would like to submit, a Byronic hero known as Alexis Papadopolis. At the end of the book, Severin, humiliated by Wanda's new lover, loses the desire to submit. He says of Wanda: That woman, as nature has created her, and man at present is educating her, is man's 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.
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