From Venus in Furs of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (full text):

And yet a restless, always unsatisfied craving for the nudity of paganism," she interrupted, "but that love, which is the highest joy, which is divine simplicity itself, is not for you moderns, you children of reflection. It works only evil in you. As soon as you wish to be natural, you become common. To you nature seems something hostile; you have made devils out of the smiling gods of Greece, and out of me a demon. You can only exorcise and curse me, or slay yourselves in bacchantic madness before my altar. ...

What does "children of reflection" mean? I'm aware that reflection has meanings like: "careful thought or consideration", "consideration of some subject matter" among others. From the context, it looks like its meaning is close to "modern" or perhaps "children of reason", but I cannot be sure.

P.S.: The original German phrase is "euch Kinder der Reflexion" (can be freely downloaded from Feedbooks)

  • "Philosophers"?
    – Centaurus
    Aug 7, 2014 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


The primary meaning in German has to do with thought so "children of reason" is almost certainly the sense the author intended. And, indeed, if you Google <"children of reason" Venus in Furs> you get translations which use that phrase.

Also note that "Kinder der Reflexion" is not a phrase invented by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. If you do a Google search on that you get earlier 19th century writings.

  • 2
    I would render it prosaically something like members of a culture prone to over-intellectualizing. Aug 7, 2014 at 18:12
  • 1
    Agreed; the sense I get from the passage is that the addressees are incapable of enjoying simple pleasures for their own sake; they have to stop and analyze things, and in so doing they destroy their enjoyment of them.
    – Hellion
    Aug 7, 2014 at 21:36

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