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Hautarzt. 2002 Apr;53(4):268-76.

[Staging of scientific facts in syphilis education. "The Shipwrecked" in the Berlin German Theater (1913)].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin, Grunewaldstrasse 35, 12165 Berlin.


The "Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Bekämpfung der Geschlechtskrankheiten" (DGBG) used plays as a means of public education. The play "Damaged Goods" (Les Avariés) by the French dramatist Eugéne Brieux (1858-1932) was used extensively for this purpose in Germany between 1910 and 1920. By proliferating a specific image of both the medical profession and the syphilis, it helped established the self-confidence of the then new dermatological discipline. The teaching of Alfred Fournier (1832-1914) provided the medical background for the play. In "The Inheritance of Syphilis" (1882) Fournier had laid the dramatic framework for Brieux' play. Analyzing the Berlin premiere of "Damaged Goods" on June 25 1913 in the German Theatre/Berlin, the interplay between scientific facts and theatrical license and their diverse influences on the public becomes obvious.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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