Chapter 6: “The Woman Question”
After his ambitious foray into technology, Mailer then proceeded to publish the following year an exploration of another subject that has become an integral part of the discourse of modernity—the so-called “woman question”. Mailer’s reflections on women recapitulated, albeit in a different genre and style, the pronouncements of another writer, a writer who had exhibited the same precocity, ambition, and, above all, ambivalence as Mailer himself. In what is today regarded as “the first wave” of the women’s rights movement, a curious book appeared, written by a very young man named Otto Weininger, who was promptly declared in some circles to be a genius and the work itself to be a masterpiece. The work—Geschlecht und Charakter (Sex and Character)—was published in 1903 in Vienna during the fin de siécle at a time when not only women were voicing their discontent, but also disenfranchised ethnicities, deprived workers, and cultural iconoclasts. Commonly characterized as anxious and restless, the fin de siécle witnessed the foundations of liberal political culture coming under siege in Austro-Hungary, unleashed by the Panic of 1873. Since the very essence of Austrian liberalism was based on the principle of exclusion, the fault lines were clearly visible in the Imperial Monarchy, which seemed to many observers to be ready to implode. For many sensitive contemporaries there was a sense of impending doom based on the premonition that those groups that had hitherto been on the periphery of the body politic were threatening to...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.