Karl May - A Medical Casebook


Karl May (1842-1912) published his autobiography in 1910, barely two years before his death. His final book was an exercise in self-examination as well as an outpouring of his soul. He laid his life before the reader as starkly and as fairly as he could, discussing his own persona and the reason why he did what he did and also why he existed. Naturally he presented his final tale in his first person signature style, recalling scenes from his memory to flesh out his autobiography. Medicine calls this literary technique anamnesis – the complete case history of a patient. From May`s final work we learn details of his childhood vision impairment and his rickets, both a result of being malnourished in his childhood years. His strange state of mind that followed in later years he described in much detail, yet despite his attempts to understand it, it confused him and presented an enigma to all his biographers. This puzzle is analyzed and solved here. What Karl May described and attributed as his reaction to stress is today labeled Dissociative Identity Disorder [DID], which was not recognized nor understood in his own time. Thus Karl May was derided and called a liar, yet he was telling the truth, revealing what he had experienced – exactly as patients do today. All the typical symptoms of DID are laid bare by the pen of an exceptionally gifted professional writer. Even Karl May’s untimely death as the result of his life long habit of smoking tobacco is being described here. Many friends of Karl May all over the globe welcome this intimate medical appraisal of one of the most prolific and widely read author of adventure stories. This book will also help fulfil a wish Karl May had, namely to have his life experience seen through the eyes of a physician and not a Judge.

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 11 November, 2008.

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