Büchner and Madness Schizophrenia in Georg Büchner’s Lenz and Woyzeck

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Dramatist Georg Büchner was a qualified medical doctor, primarily a neurologist, fascinated by psychiatry, then in its infancy. This study evaluates Büchner’s portrayal of insanity in relation to the medical opinion of his time, and to contemporaneous literary treatments of the same subject in German. It provides a wide range of documentary evidence unfamiliar to literary scholars to reveal the full originality and accuracy of Büchner’s insights.

“. . . solid and information. . .The book is crammed with interesting details about Büchner and the medical world of his time, about the history of the diagnostic criteria that later come to be called schizophrenia, about literary representations of madness in German literature before Büchner about Büchner and his key subject, the Sturm und Drang poet J. M. R. Lenz, and the continued history of this trope of madness in the later works of E. T. A. Hoffmann and Balzac. This is a solid contribution to the comparative study of literature and psychiatry. . . well written and will provide a basis for further sophisticated work on such topics. Crighton is to be praised for presenting the complexity of the materials that he has read in a clear and straightforward manner.” - Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
1. The Medical and Critical Background: Hypotheses; Madness in Dantons Tod and Leonce und Lena; A review of the literature; Woyzeck/Franz
2. Biographical Factors: Büchner’s experience of illness; Predisposition to schizophrenia; Episodes of illness; Illness in Büchner’s family; Illness in Büchner’s friends
3. Universities and Medical Teaching: The teaching of psychiatry; Teaching at Giessen
4. Madness and Medicine: Madness and society; Writers on madness; Looking after the mad; The causes of madness; The Aufklärung – Stahl and Kant; Romantishce medizin; Psychiker v. Somatiker; Madness and sin; The Somatiker view; Social factors and madness; Nasse and Ideler – psychosocial medicine; Büchner and the psychiatric discourse
5. Madness in Literature 1774-1836: Goethe – Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, Lila, Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre; Spiess – Biographien der Wahnsinnigen; Romanticism and madness; Tieck – Der blonde Eckbert and Der Runenberg; Nachtwachen. Von Bonaventur; Kleist – Michael Kohlhaas; Hoffmann – Der goldne Topf, Die Elixiere des Teufels, Das öde Haus; Arnim - Der tolle Invalide auf dem Fort Ratonneau; Mörike – Maler Nolten
6. Medical Descriptions of Schizophrenia: Before 1800; J. C. Hoffbauer; J. C. Reil; J. C. A. Heinroth; Friedrich Bird; J. E. Esquirol; Case Histories
7. Büchner and J. M. R. Lenz: Lenz as subject; Büchner and Lenz; Literary Influences; Political factors
8. Hoffmann, Balzac, Büchner: Hoffmann – Der kampf der Sänger; Balzac – Louis Lambert
9. Oberlin and Büchner
10. Psychopathology in Lenz: Symptomatology in Lenz
11. Madness and Angst in Lenz: Existential interpretation and its limitations; Perspectives: Oberlin; Büchner, Kraepelin
12. Psychodynamics in Lenz: A complex ambivalence; Transference and Counter-transference
13. Büchner and the Woyzeck Case: Büchner’s choice of subject; The medico-legal debate; Monomania and forensic psychiatry; The concept of Zurechnungsfähigkeit; Medico-legal practice; A view from Darmstadt; Gall’s Hirnorganonlehre and the question of free will; The Woyzeck case; The death sentence
14. The Clarus Gutachten: Clarus on Zurechnungsfähigkeit; The background; The first Gutachten; The second Gutachten; Freedom of action; Vernunft/Verstand; Woyzeck’s state of mind; Clarus’s Woyzeck, Büchner’s Franz
15. Madness in Woyzeck: The first draft; Voices and delusions; Disordered thinking; Franz and Fixer Wahn; The sources of madness; die doppelte Natur; Büchner and Franz; The role of the Doctor; Doctors in literature; The Doctor as scientist; Conclusion
16. Conclusions, Bibliography, Index

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