Archive for Sexology
It is impossible, in the present context, to give an adequate account of the rich early sexological literature. It was, of course, deeply rooted in the 19th century, which had already produced a sizeable number of seminal works. However, even considering only the first third of our century before the rise of Hitler, there are so many great, if unjustly forgotten sexological books, that only the sketchiest outline can be given here.
The most important authors were once again Bloch, Moll, Hirschfeld, and Max Marcuse. Of these, Iwan Bloch, the actual "father of sexology", is perhaps still the least understood. In addition to his medical, historical, and ethnological studies and his earlier mentioned Sexual Life of Our Time (1907), Bloch also made the first great attempt at a comprehensive sexological standard work. He planned a series of monographs, written by different authors, which would cover the entire field. This ambitious project under the title Handbuch der gesamten Sexualwissenschaft in Einzeldarstellungen (Comprehensive Handbook of Sexology in Monographs) remained fragmentary because of the intervening First World War and Bloch's untimely death. Nevertheless, three volumes appeared: Bloch's own Die Prostitution (Prostitution, 2 vols. 1912 and 1925) and Magnus Hirschfeld's Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes (Homosexuality of Man and Woman, 1914). The latter study, based on personal knowledge of over 10,000 individuals, was rightly hailed as the most thorough work on the subject, an "encyclopedia of homosexuality", whose historical introduction alone is still unsurpassed in depth and, even today, would more than justify a translation. However, it is Bloch's uncompleted and untranslated work which deserves the greatest attention. He considered prostitution the central problem of sexology, since it combined the biological and cultural aspects of sex in the most dramatic and obvious fashion. If ever an author was meant to do this subject justice, it was Bloch. In his hands, Wilhelm von Humbold's abandoned plan to write a "History of Whoring" (1778) as a "History of Human Dependency" (uncompleted sketch in 1826/27) would have succeeded, and thus, his inability to finish the work was a tragedy for our field. The second, posthumous volume edited by Loewenstein by no means reaches the level of the first and offers only a hint at what Bloch had intended. The work as published is therefore nothing more than a torso. We now can only admire the outline and the amazing scholarship of the completed part of his historical introduction. Nothing comparable has ever been attempted again.
Three large handbooks summarizing the sexological knowledge of their time
Albert Moll had, before the turn of the century, already written the first great monographs on homosexuality (Die conträre Sexualempfindung, 1891) and the nature of the sexual urge (Untersuchungen über die Libido sexualis, 1897). The latter book had a great and not fully acknowledged influence on Freud, especially since it took infantile sexuality for granted. Indeed, in 1909, Moll wrote the first comprehensive study devoted to "the sexual life of the child" Das Sexualleben des Kindes. Finally, in 1911, he edited the first single sexological handbook Handbuch der Sexualwissenschaften. This work was enlarged and updated in 1926. The two impressive, richly illustrated, yet untranslated volumes of this edition represent a milestone in sex research. Even by themselves, they were capable of giving it academic legitimacy. Another remarkable achievement was the Handwörterbuch der Sexualwissenschaft (Hand Dictionary of Sexology, 1923) edited by Max Marcuse. It contained lengthy articles by recognized authors on all aspects of sexology. The entries dealing with psychoanalytic concepts were written by Sigmund Freud himself, who thus formally re-established some links with the sexology movement.
However, the most fertile sexological writer was Magnus Hirschfeld. Even before his great study of homosexuality, he had already written a classic work on transvestism, a term he himself had coined (Die Transvestiten, 1910). Yet his position as the foremost sexologist was secured by the two major works of his later years: a textbook in three volumes, Sexualpathologie (Sexual Pathology, 1916-20) and his sexological testament, the sum of 30 years of research and experience, a heavy, large-size standard work in five volumes called Geschlechtskunde (Sexual Knowledge, 1926-30).
Note: Our directories depend on the input of interested readers. For corrections, additions, and suggestions, please contact: HaeberleE@web.de