Otto Weininger, Robert Musil, and Heimito von Doderer all disturbed conventional liberal assumptions about the individual, in the context of the disintegration of Austrian bourgeois society and culture in the early twentieth century. The theme of sexuality and gender was the form in which these writers thought through the relationship between self and world. This chapter presents three accounts of nineteenth-century rationalism and individualism. Although enormously influenced by irrationalism and sensitive to the realities of sexuality and the unconscious, Weininger took his stand unambiguously with rationalism, individualism, and consciousness—with an exaggerated version of nineteenth-century liberalism. In the early twentieth century, the critique of liberalism was driven to antirationalism and National Socialism, and a conception of spirituality came to be defined in opposition to women and Jews.
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