Though written in the early 1960s, this book explores an historical trend that has only become more pronounced today. It is, as the original cover blurb states, “a study of the sexes as reflected in the conflict between two modes of knowledge – the scientific or rational, as contrasted with intuitive or poetic – with which human beings are endowed.”
The increasing dominance of the former (typically masculine) over the latter (feminine) mode is seen in the scientific-technical approach not only to the physical world but to human affairs, at the expense of wisdom and womanly values – something that modern feminism, with its focus on equality and power, fails to see.
Karl Stern, a practising psychiatrist and neurologist in his day, was a convert from Judaism to (indirectly) Catholicism. From the philosophical and literary references in this book it is clear that he was a man of broad learning and culture as well as faith. The six psychological portraits of famous figures (from Descartes to Tolstoy) that form the body of the book exemplify Stern’s thesis and make it a fascinating read.