Tag Archives: mysticism

The Sexologist and the Poet: On Magnus Hirschfeld, Rabindranath Tagore, and the Critique of Sexual Binarity

[PDF] The Sexologist and the Poet: On Magnus Hirschfeld, Rabindranath Tagore, and the Critique of Sexual Binarity by J. Edgar Bauer.

‘Between 1930 and 1932, German-Jewish sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) undertook a world journey that he eventually reported in Die Weltreise eines Sexualforschers (1933), arguably the first non-Eurocentric, anti-colonialist critique of Asian cultures from a sexological perspective. Saluted as “the modern Vatsyayana of the West,” Hirschfeld met during his stay in India personalities such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Jagadish Chandra Bose, and Radindranath Tagore, whom he visited at his family residence in Calcutta. Against the backdrop of Hirschfeld’s “doctrine of sexual intermediaries” and his general postulate that truly creative artists have mostly “united in themselves both sexes in especially pronounced form,” the study analyzes and assesses his reference to Tagore’s femininity. While acknowledging the correspondences between the sexologist’s universalization of sexual intermediariness and the poet’s premise that “[t]he Creator must be conscious of both the male and female principles without which there can be no Creation,” the elaborations focus on their divergent conceptualizations of sexual difference, womanhood, and the erotic life.’