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July 1972

Karl Kahlbaum's Catatonia and Herman Melville's Bartleby The Scrivener

Author Affiliations

New York
From St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(1):48-51. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750250040004

Herman Melville's classic tale, Bartleby The Scrivener, was published several years before the important psychiatric contribution by Karl Kahlbaum on catatonia. The excellent description of this condition in Melville's main character is noteworthy, and an attempt to fathom its origins is made through reference to biographical material on Melville which reveals his psychological problems.