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. in his attack on women and modernism weininger saw the jews as the symbol of mammon, modernism and the feminization of culture. weininger's ideal society was a sterile dystopia where women would lose their sexuality and deserve to be politically equal...of course the human race would die out, but in pure kantian thought this minor difficulty would not matter, for weininger believed that sexual desire-and feminine beauty is only a creation of man's love-forces man to degenerate. the only true love is plutonic in the tradition of dante's beatrice. one of the more enlightened aspects of weininger is his belief in universal bisexuality, "sexual intermediacy", that is to say, all humans are a mixture of the masculine and the feminine in differing degrees. however, the most gifted woman can only be 50% masculine, thus inferior to the most effeminate male. weininger even proposed a mathematical formula to achieve the perfect conjunction. yes,even he realized that despite his ideal society males WOULD seek out women and mate...one could only hope to achieve the most satisfactory results through science. most of weininger's thought is absurb if not discusting to modern readers. Little gems such as 'all women are amoral',"are logically insane', "men have better memories","women can not differenate between feeling and thought", that they have no soul,and on and 0n AD NAUSEAM. perhaps even more repulsive is his racist ideas. naturally he swallowed houston chamberlain, artur de gobineau, wagner and schopenhauers antisemetic drivel and adapted it to his treatise. was this self-hatred? not according to dr. sengoopta, sengoopta believes since weininger's father was antisemetic that it is doubtful weininger had any jewish idenity to start with. weak in some areas but well read in the science of his day, weininger's book is a melange of science, biology, philosophy, cultural politics and personal anxiety. ironically, despite his contempt for women in the reproduction of the species woman is supreme. even weininger recognized bachofen's dictim: "the father is always a juristic fiction, whereas motherhood is a physical fact". with all his intellectual twists and turns weininger could never explain away woman's power over life, men and creativity.