Sexuality, neurasthenia and the law : Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902)
This thesis is a first biographical account of the German/Austrian psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840 - 1902). It seeks to paint a more accurate picture than is so far available by bringing together new biographical data including background information on the institutional settings in which he worked. Above all, it explores the full range of Krafft-Ebing's written work and ideas over the whole period of his life. This shows Krafft-Ebing as a man of many interests and is intended to counteract our present, limited understanding of his work. Although Krafft-Ebing is, in fact, known to many, this knowledge is mainly based on the cursory reading of one book, the Psychopathia sexualis, 1886. This has led to a seriously one-sided view of Krafft-Ebing, particularly in Englishs-peaking countries. Part one is about Krafft-Ebing's outer life: a brief summary of known biographical data, followed by several chapters on those places where he lived and worked. Different points are highlighted according to their relevance for Krafft-Ebing's ideas: for example, chapter 2 emphasises the general atmosphere of the Illenau (one of the leading asylums at the time), which shaped his approach to psychiatry lastingly; the chapter on Graz centres around the very varied patients he treated during that period. Part two represents an intellectual biography. Exploiting the full range of published work (see appendix), chapter 5 gives an overview over the topics Krafft-Ebing wrote on, followed by more detailed analyses of specific areas: sexuality (including its important forensic aspect), hypnotism and neurology. Part three - the appendix - consists of a new and complete list of Krafft-Ebing's published works containing about 550 items; the few letters by Krafft-Ebing found so far have also been transcribed and reprinted here.