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Psychopathia Sexualis Paperback – November 30, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing (November 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155970425X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559704250
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "whitmanfan7" on July 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
That some readers still take Krafft-Ebing at face value is testament to the strength of the sexual prejudices that he helped re-formulate at the end of the 19th century. Anyone seeking to understand the ideological basis of present-day sexual prejudices, or the official pathologization of human sexual diversity should become familiar with Krafft-Ebing's seminal work. Anyone seeking to understand human sexuality, on the other hand, should be warned that Krafft-Ebing is more joke than role model for modern-day sex researchers. The book is viewed by historians of sexuality as largely a (very influential) re-formulation of existing folk-lore. Unfortunately, the resulting formulas were used by Krafft-Ebing (a court psychiatrist) and his peers for the purpose of channelling people into either prisons or equally confining asylums. He set a pattern that is still widely used, and that is still viewed with horror by both sexual non-conformists and true scientists alike.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gregg Silk on April 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Like "Wisconsin Death Trip," this book provides strangely familiar tales of madness, perversion, and death from the 19th century. Part of the fascination of the book is that it was written *before* Freud, and that it not biased by the views of Freud or his critics. As such, it almost reads like the dispassionate report of visitors from another planet.
Much of the subject matter is familiar grist for modern tabloids. And some of it rather amusing, especially the idea that masturbation leads to illness, insanity, and death. As in "Death Trip," this was an age when science was still groping for the causes of many types of mental illness that are still not truely cureable.
It is also interesting to compare modern standards to those of a hundred years ago. Sexual acts that were considered beyond the bounds of decency a hundred years ago even for married couples are likely to be recomended by a minister today. But many stories in which sexual acting out (infidelity, sudden change of sexual orientation) is part of a general pattern of self-destruction seem as relevant and cautionary as ever. The authors are also very matter of fact about transexuals and some very "modern" activities, which psycholanalysts seem to have given wide berth for decades. On the other hand, it isn't clear what has happened to bustle fetishists.
And before we congratulate ourselves on our sophisitication, it is also interesting that Krafft-Ebing found well established networks of dedicated pedophiles, and that a hundred years later we have not solved the problem and barely acknowledge it. Also, they were found many instances of adult female nannies and teachers molesting male children and students, which has only recently been getting much attention.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Helmut Puff on January 12, 2010
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This is a poorly edited classic in sexology that did not deserve to be treated in this way; shocking! From the book I have it is not even clear which German edition the English text is a translation of; there were 14 editions between 1886 and 1912 and all of them differed substantially. Nor is the name of the translator mentioned and which prior English edition this text is based on (one would assume that this is not a new translation but rather based on a previous English edition). The Table of Contents has nothing to do with the original; explicit chapter descriptions in the original German are rendered as "Sections 1, 2, 3." What is more, footnotes are not printed as footnotes but integrated into the text, strangely enough. The index leaves everything to be desired; it refers to pages that do not exist, it is incomplete, etc. A reader who picks up this volume unfamiliar with Krafft-Ebing is not informed that this is a nineteenth-century text. An introduction would have helped, to say the least. This is an utterly useless publication.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Basically a catalogue in case history form of almost all sexual perversions, but written a century ago, this book is informative for those who wish to learn about deviant or unconventional sexuality or those who have an interest in the history of sex or psychiatry. It is especially remarkable how little has changed in terms of actual perversions since the book was first written, most case histories could easily be transplanted to the year 2000 without substantial change.
Why there is such a variety of perversions in human (male, mostly) affairs, some quite useless and/or bizarre, and why these have remained in the human species (despite an apparent natural selective pressure against them since these unfortunate individuals are less likely to reproduce), is truly a great mystery of psychology, one which few if any are willing to confront directly.
From a historical perspective, it is interesting to see how homosexuality is treated as a deviance, which of course it isn't, and how persistent the author is in attempting to cure everyone of their unnatural desires, whereas today it is unlikely (except in the obviously criminal situations of pedophilia, etc.), any psychiatrist would try to reform the sadist, masochist, fetishist, etc., knowing it is a virtually impossible undertaking. In short, very entertaining in general, very disgusting in places, informative and revealing: perfect reading.
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