Chapter

Introduction

in Eros and Inwardness in Vienna

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780226496474
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226496481 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226496481.003.0001
Introduction

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This chapter presents a study of three Austrian writers thinking about sexuality and gender during the first half of the twentieth century in Vienna: Otto Weininger, Robert Musil, and Heimito von Doderer. Weininger was a critic of modernity and Austrian liberalism who set the tone for his generation's moral intensity and nihilism. This sets out from the intellectual world of liberal Vienna in the late nineteenth century, a world that was dominated by the natural sciences, especially medicine and biology, and largely impervious to the historical and human sciences as they had developed in Germany in the context of German idealism and romanticism. The intellectual context of liberal Vienna provided a characteristic blend of attitudes that shaped discourse about sexuality: the recognition of a scientific, empirical view of the world, including an understanding of the body as a biological reality (and as the reality of the self), and a new understanding of the soul as feelings grounded in the body. The chapter offers fresh perspectives on the significance of Vienna for the emergence of modern culture that serve as invitations to think about sexuality and gender in new ways.

Keywords: modernity; sexuality; gender; romanticism; idealism

Chapter.  4531 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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