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April 1966

Psychopathia Sexualis.

Arch Intern Med. 1966;117(4):604-606. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.03870100132040

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The first English edition (1922) of this classic work had a salubrious side effect: it stimulated the study of Latin on the part of the then young men—and others—who sought to indulge their prurience with las- civious accounts. The literature on plain, dripping sex was then, more or less, sparse or nonexistent. There were the classics of course, including Rabelais' books, the novels of Defoe (Roxana, etc.), Steckel, and the Old Testament. There were the scholarly books, anthropological in note, but nothing which bluntly and plainly spoke of sex, its orgies, details of aberrant sexual encounters and of sexual perversions. The Psychopathia Sexualis of von Krafft-Ebing gave these in straight detail, but the most picturesque or exciting accounts were in frustrating Latin. Many pored over von Krafft-Ebing in the search for the salacious which was often blocked by Latin. But whatever the aim in reading von Krafft-Ebing, the reader was

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