The Schelling Project  

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"Schelling extrapolated this line of thought to its extreme: his premise (or, rather, the premise that Peter Sloterdijk imputes to him [in The Schelling Project]) is that the female orgasm, this most ecstatic moment of sexual pleasure (as the ancient Greeks already knew), is the high point of human evolution."--Sex and the Failed Absolute (2019) by Slavoj Žižek

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The Schelling Project (2016) is a novel by Peter Sloterdijk.

The semi-autobiographical e-mail novel text contains a self-portrait of the author, appearing as "Peer Sloterdijk"; several of Sloterdijk's friends such as Thomas Macho, Siegfried Mauser and Michaela Boenke figure in the novel in slight disguise.

Together, so the plot goes, they draft a research proposal to the German Research Funding Agency (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) on the evolution of the female orgasm. To make it look more profound and thus to impress the reviewers, the team fakes a connection of the issue to the metaphysics of the German idealist philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling.

The reviewers, though, see through the mystification and turn down the application. Following the rejection, the team splits and each of its members takes his or her own course.

While Sloterdijk's e-mail novel about an academic hoax was rated mediocre in terms of literary quality, it came to be seen more as a political statement, specifically as an attack on gender mainstreaming in 21st century Germany.

Critic Elke Schmitter, in a review article for Der Spiegel under the heading 'Woman as an Old Boys' Joke', described Sloterdijk's text as an anti-feminist pamphlet thinly veiled as a novel. In an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung Sloterdijk defended himself against the charges and claimed his attitude towards women to be adoration rather than contempt."--Sholem Stein

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