Madness & Art: The Life and Works of Adolf Wolfli

Madness & Art: The Life and Works of Adolf Wolfli

Madness & Art: The Life and Works of Adolf Wolfli

Madness & Art: The Life and Works of Adolf Wolfli

Excerpt

Pathological phenomena are often to the understanding of normality something like what a magnifying glass is to things that are difficult to perceive with an unaided eye.--EBBINGHAUS

The purpose of this work is a double one. First it is intended as an attempt to present a critical view of rich and interesting psychiatric material, to place it in a larger context and thereby make it fruitful for psychology and other disciplines. Naturally, it would not have been permissible in this pursuit to adhere either to a specific psychiatric school of thought or to individual systems in psychology or art history. In seeking to bring the primeval forest of a human life such as the one before us into connection with the highway systems of diverse disciplines, one will achieve only an illusion of exactness if one takes as one's primary task to nail the street names of certain disciplines or even the names of certain authors onto the appropriate trees in the forest. In questions of psychiatry this work rests on the foundation of the school of thought of Krâpelin and Bleuler; in questions of psychology, on the Ebbinghaus school. But in addition the attempt was made--spurred especially by the writings of Jaspers, Scheffler, Worringer, and others--to penetrate the personality and the art of our patient from a new standpoint.

Second, however, precisely this case was chosen because it also seems to . . .

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