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Otto Weininger: Sex, Science, and Self in Imperial Vienna (The Chicago Series on Sexuality, History, and Society) Hardcover – July 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0226748672 ISBN-10: 0226748677 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, History, and Society
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226748677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226748672
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,214,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Sengoopta presents a learned, modest and sensible account of Weininger’s major work. . . . It is a major contribution to the literature on this extraordinary icon of early twentieth-century Vienna.”
(S.A.M. Burns Annals of Science)

“[This] study contributes to our understanding of Weininger by locating him more precisely in the context of late nineteenth-century medicine and biology. Sengoopta clarifies the historical standard—especially scientific, but also moral—against which to read Weininger, and he makes this peculiar writer comprehensible by providing a realistic sense of his scientific frame of reference.”—David S. Luft, <I>Central European History
(David S. Luft Central European History)

“[Sengoopta] takes Weininger’s scientific interests seriously, and in a series of finely crafted readings locates Weininger’s concerns within a constellation of fields ranging from experimental psychology to research on sex glands, and the study of homosexuality.”—Andreas Killen, <I>German-Studies Review
(Andreas Killen German-Studies Review)

“Sengoopta, in his highly informative study, convincingly shows that <I>Geschlecht und Charakter<I> is a ‘serious, comprehensive, and emotionally charged ideological critique of modernity in general and of women’s emancipation in particular.’”—Volker Depkat, <I>H-Net Reviews
(Volker Depkat H-Net Reviews)

“Sengoopta has done something I would have considered impossible: he convinced me, by tracing the roots of Weininger’s thought, that it was worthwhile to read his book about a man I had considered unworthy of serious study. . . . I would hazard the conclusion that, despite his rabidness, Weininger articulated some main currents of thought . . . and that his work is relevant today as a jumping off point for explorations of issues that still concern us.”—Hannah S. Decker, <I>ISIS
(Hannah S. Decker ISIS)

About the Author

Chandak Sengoopta is a senior lecturer in the history of medicine and science at Birkbeck College, University of London.

More About the Author

Chandak Sengoopta is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, UK. He has several research interests, ranging from the history of European medicine and the history of gender and sexuality to the cultural history of modern India. He is currently writing a study of the local, national and international contexts that shaped the career of the film-maker and writer Satyajit Ray (1921-1992). Sengoopta can be reached by email at sengoopta@gmail.com

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"The genius is not the product of his age, is not to be explained by it, and we do him no honour if we attempt to account for him by it." -- Otto Weininger, Sex and Character, Part II, Chap 5.
...but explain him by his age is exactly what Sengoopta tries to do for Weininger. The book helps to situate Weininger in the scientific millieu of his time, as the Harrowitz and Hyams collection (-Jews and Gender: Responses to Otto Weininger-) earlier tried to do against a literary backdrop, and though we are grateful for these efforts, both fail to come terms with the seriousness of Weininger's philosophy. They repeat many of the usual dismissive assessments, either by trying to explain him as an unpleasant social phenomenon or personal pathology. We are still waiting for a genuinely philosophical exposition of Weininger's importance to moral philosophy in general and gender-based moral theories, in particular. We strongly suspect, for example, that radical feminism will one day discover a curious allegiance with Weininger. (Janik's -Essays on Wittgenstein and Weininger- in places, however, hints in a more thoughtful direction.)
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Blik on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a PhD written about another man's PhD thesis. Otto Weininger's thesis is original and interesting, whether you agree with its theories or not. This one has a sneering tone, and has little originality. I gave it two stars because the topic Sengoopta picked is good.
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8 of 20 people found the following review helpful By jane k johnson on April 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
dr. sengoopta's well researched book is the strange story of otto weininger, a jew, who wrote a treatise that 'proved' women and jews did not possess a rational and moral self; that they did not deserve or need equality, not to mention liberty, that only male aryans should be in charge of society. imagine a jew that hitler called 'wise'(though it is doubtful he ever read him) a jew that was throughly discredited following world war two as a racist and misogynist. then why read him? dr. sengoopta not only gives the reasons weininger is important in the understanding of ideas current in his time, but how to read him. afterall, this strange little man influenced (though not persuaded) freud, kafka, ludwig wittgenstein, the racist politics of vienna's mayor, karl leuger as well as literary figures such as james joyce and ford maddox ford, probably his most important contribution. his dramatic suicide, in beethoven's home, no less, made him the era's 'tragic genius'.(a concept karl kraus, the jewish critic, concurred). afterall, this was the age of arthur schnitzler (THE ROAD TO THE OPEN) when jewish intellectuals were attempting to find a role in viennese culture. for weininger it was an attempt to become GERMAN (he loved wagner)-the extreme path to the open. by becoming a protestant he would not only reject multicultural austria but become more german than the most ardent pan german. his only book, SEX AND CHARACTER, was his phd dissertation-an attempt to analyze the differences between men and women by the use of biology,science, psychology and humanistic social reform. a fanatic follower of kant, weininger believed only aryan men possessed a hyperemperical soul while desiring to resolve the woman question by redefining hysteria and devaluing motherhood.Read more ›
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