Poets, doctors and rebels – Psychosomatic aspects in their work



How to Cite

Masuhr K. Poets, doctors and rebels – Psychosomatic aspects in their work. mir [Internet]. 31Dec.2016 [cited 12Aug.2022];(107):91-9. Available from: https://interrev.com/mir/index.php/mir/article/view/5


Early traces of Psychosomatics in ction and particularly in drama can be found in pathbreaking texts by Friedrich Schiller, Georg Büchner, and Arthur Schni ler. These medical doctors pay close a ention to the mind-body problem. They transfer their observations into poetry, creating world literature. As sons of doctors, they rebelled against their fathers as well as some of the dominant concepts of med- icine and society.

Friedrich Schiller. It were the plays about freedom: „Die Räuber“ (1782) „Don Carlos“ (1787) and „Wilhelm Tell“ (1804) which established Friedrich Schiller’s fame; Schiller, son of a surgeon (Wundarzt), studied medicine at the military academy in Stu gart. Before the successful premiere of „Die Räuber” in Mannheim, the budding regimental doctor has drawn up three academic studies dealing with philosophic, physiologic, and psychosomatic issues.

Georg Büchner. The playwriter and private lecturer Georg Büchner can be considered a precur- sor of Psychosomatics within scienti c medicine. His father was a surgeon and the district doctor of Darmstadt. Georg Büchner’s erce debates about the issue of the Biedermeier-a itude led him to become a revolutionary. His most important plays are „Dantons Tod“ (1835) and „Woyzeck“ (1836).

Arthur Schni ler. Towards the end of the 19th century, the doctor, dramatist, and storyteller Arthur Schni ler who was the son of a laryngologist in Vienna linked Literature and Psychoanalysis to repre- sent processes of the inner life. These e orts were based on his works about hypnotic and suggestive therapies of functional (psychogenic) disorders. He developed with Lieutenant Gustl (1900) und Fräulein Else (1924) the narrative form of the „internal monologue” for the German language.

The article introduces 33 poets, doctors, rebels, for example, Francois de Rabelais and Johann Christian Günther, John Keats and Justinus Kerner, or Alfred Döblin and Rainald Gö . In the 20th century, poets and doctors like Harriet Straub, Charlo e Wol and Hertha Nathor , who were engaged in the women’s movement, joined them. These writers have a unique sensorium to perceive what might be signi cant for them as doctors and poets, what art and medicine are about, and what e ects their lives because it a ects them. Whichever observations and adventures they transform into literature: it is the medical work that provides experiences about life and pain.