Sexology, psychoanalysis, literature

This volume tells the story of the case study genre at a time when it became the genre par excellence for discussing human sexuality across the humanities and the life sciences. A History of the Case Study takes the reader on a transcontinental journey from the imperial world of fin-de-siècle Central Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the interwar metropolises of Weimar Germany, and to the United States of America in the post-war years.

Foregrounding the figures of case study pioneers, and always alert to the radical implications of their engagement with the genre, the six chapters scrutinise the case writing practices of Sigmund Freud and his predecessor sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing; writers such as Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Oskar Panizza and Alfred Döblin; Weimar intellectuals such as Erich Wulffen, and New York psychoanalyst Viola Bernard. There result important new insights into the continuing legacy of such writers, and into the agency increasingly claimed by the readerships that emerged with the development of modernity—from readers who self-identified as masochists, to conmen and female criminals.

Where previous accounts of the case study have tended to consider the history of the genre from a single disciplinary perspective, this book is structured by the interdisciplinary approach most applicable to the ambivalent context of modernity. It focuses on key moments in the genre’s past, occasions when and where the conventions of the case study were contested as part of a more profound enquiry into the nature of the human subject.

Joy Damousi

6 Viola Bernard and the case study of race in post-war America Joy Damousi The writings and political activism of Viola Bernard, a psychoanalyst of German-Jewish background who practised in New York during the twentieth century, provide a further prism through which to consider the genre of the case study, as well as broader questions concerning intersections between culture, politics and the discourses of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. A resilient political and social activist, Bernard was committed to many progressive causes. These included support of trade

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Literary satire and Oskar Panizza’s Psichopatia criminalis (1898)
Birgit Lang

3 ‘Writing back’: literary satire and Oskar Panizza’s Psichopatia criminalis (1898) Birgit Lang Oskar Panizza’s Psichopatia criminalis (1898) constitutes the most biting parody of the psychiatric case study genre in German literature, and has been praised as a subversive work in the broader context of the ­anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s and 1970s.1 As a former psy­ chiatrist who had been designated for priesthood and later prosecuted in court for blasphemy, Panizza (1853–1921) had intimate knowledge of ‘the three great professions of the Western

in A history of the case study
Birgit Lang

author of several criminological works on sex crime. Actually, the former state prosecutor can be considered Wilhelmine Germany’s first legal expert; with reference to Reiner Grundmann and Nico Stehr’s definition of such an expert, Wulffen was undoubtedly a broker of knowledge between specialist discourse and the wider public in modern society.2 In addition, Wulffen wrote creative fiction on criminal psychology and legal reform. During Wulffen’s lifetime his published oeuvre included an un­prece­ dentedly wide range of interdisciplinary cases: his case study

in A history of the case study
Alison Lewis

professional lives brought them into close contact with remarkable real-life cases (of either sexual deviance or criminality, or both), found themselves uniquely placed to cater for the appetites of these publics. Through writing and publishing case studies based on their first-hand experience, they were able to capitalise on their insider knowledge of crime and the criminal mind. These writers could easily obtain graphic source material about sensational cases through their professional associations, and provide additional expert commentary on well known cases. On the other

in A history of the case study
Birgit Lang

collectively referred to as creative artists. Both psychiatric discourse and the more conservative strand of psychoanalytic discourse provided a powerful new lens through which to interpret b ­iographies of exceptional human beings. Artist pathographies, or psychiatric case studies of creative artists, expanded the case study genre towards biography and presented readers with new insights into the private lives of particular creative artists. Sigmund Freud and his pupil Otto Rank brought contrasting approaches to enquiring into aspects of artistic personality, creativity and

in A history of the case study
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus im Pelz (1870)
Birgit Lang

THE SHIFTING CASE OF MASOCHISM: SACHER-MASOCH’S VENUS IM PELZ 1 The shifting case of masochism: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus im Pelz (1870) Birgit Lang The literary, autobiographical and psychiatric case studies that accompany the making of masochism in the late nineteenth century reveal a fascinating history – that of the formation of a new language for human sexuality and love.1 In a time of epistemological uncertainty, the case study genre became the central narrative form in a debate about the nature of masochism that included authors and their

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Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi and Alison Lewis

Conclusion Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi and Alison Lewis This volume delineates the changing forms of the case study across disciplines and decades, mapping circuits of knowledge through which the sexed and gendered human subject became a persistently urgent topic of enquiry in the Western world. A History of the Case Study presents an analysis of case writing about the human subject from a critical juncture in its formation in the second half of the nineteenth century, when, as claimed by Michel Foucault, sexuality came to be regarded as a conceptual part of human

in A history of the case study
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Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi and Alison Lewis

Introduction Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi and Alison Lewis A History of the Case Study represents a critical intervention into contem­ porary debate concerning the construction of knowledge which – after Michel Foucault’s elaborations on modern discourses of power – considers the medical case study in particular as an expression of new forms of disciplinary ­authority. This volume scrutinises the changing status of the human case study, that is, the medical, legal or literary case study that places an individual at its centre. With close reference to the dawning of

in A history of the case study
M. Anne Brown

The approach taken to human rights and rights promotion in the following case studies flows from the themes raised in Part I. Two simple ideas here are primary. The first is that notions of human rights, at their most fundamental level of significance, are one way of dealing with the perennial problems of the systemic infliction of suffering, particularly gross suffering, as a mechanism or a function of political organisation. That is, human rights practices are one way of articulating and working against

in Human rights and the borders of suffering