Psychopathia Sexualis/Translator's Preface
|←Preface to the First Edition||Psychopathia Sexualis by , translated by Charles Gilbert Chaddock
The distinguished author of "Psychopathia Sexualis" speaks for himself and his work in its preface; but there are not wanting others to speak for him.
"It may be questioned whether it is justifiable to discuss the anomalies of the sexual instinct apart, instead of treating of them in their proper place in psychiatry. As a rule, they are certainly only symptoms of a constitutional malady, or of a weakened state of the brain, which manifest themselves in the various forms of sexual perversion.
"Moreover, attention has been directed to the baneful influence possibly exerted by such publications as 'Psychopathia Sexualis.' To be sure, the appearance of seven editions of that work could not be accounted for were its circulation confined to scientific readers. Therefore, it cannot be denied that a pornographic interest on the part of the public is accountable for a part of the wide circulation of the book. But, in spite of this disadvantage, the injury done by implanting knowledge of sexual pathology in unqualified persons is not to be compared with the good accomplished. History shows that uranism was very wide-spread long before the appearance of 'Psychopathia Sexualis.' The courts have constantly to deal with sexual crimes in which the responsibility of the accused comes in question.
"For the physician himself, sexual anomalies, treated as they are in a distant manner in text-books on psychiatry, are in greater part a terra incognita. Exact knowledge of the causes and conditions of development of sexual aberrations, and of the influence on them of hereditary constitution, education, the impressions of every-day life, and modern refined civilization, is the prerequisite for a rational prophylaxis of sexual aberrations, and for a correct sexual education. Without careful study of the circumstances which attend the development of sexual anomalies, we should never be in a position to use effectual therapeusis. The majority of these unfortunates—Krafft-Ebing calls them Nature's step-children—are devoid of insight into their malady; like insane patients destitute of understanding of the ethical development of man, they are happy in their abnormal instinctive tendency. For this reason, in spite of the great prevalence of uranism, very few of its subjects seek medical treatment. While the terminal forms of sexual aberrations end in asylums for the insane, the doubtful cases, in which incompleteness of development or apparent viciousness render correct diagnosis difficult, make up the majority. But a thorough knowledge of the aberrations of the sexual instinct is absolutely indispensable to the jurist. The reasons given are thus sufficiently important to demonstrate the need of a hand-book on 'psychopathia sexualis.' "
These words also hold true for English-speaking physicians and jurists,—who can scarcely fail to welcome the translation of a work so systematic and comprehensive as "Psychopathia Sexualis"; a work conceived and executed in the highest scientific and humane spirit; a work which not only broadens and systematizes our knowledge of psycho-sexual phenomena, but also demonstrates, in the results of hypnotic suggestion, how important mental therapeusis must ultimately become in the hands of the physician; a work which is a trustworthy guide in the study of the concrete case of sexual crime, and a philosophical treatise on the inter-relations of sexual criminality, disease, and criminal anthropology.
The difficulties of translation have not been slight; but minor errors cannot destroy the author's meaning. For much encouragement in the work of translation my gratitude to Dr. James G. Kiernan and Dr. G. Frank Lydston, of Chicago, both well-known investigators in this domain of psychopathology, is here expressed; and to Dr. William A. Stone, Assistant Superintendent at the Michigan Asylum, Kalamazoo, I am greatly indebted for assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.
Charles Gilbert Chaddock.
St. Louis, Mo.,
- Die Suggestions Therapie, etc., F. Enke, Stuttgart, 1892.