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Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 1988 Jul;56(7):231-8.

[Franz Kafka's anorexia nervosa].

[Article in German]

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Psychiatrische Klinik der Universit√§t M√ľnchen.


The evidence for the hypothesis that the poet Franz Kafka had suffered from an atypical anorexia nervosa is presented. Kafka was slim and underweight throughout his life and showed an ascetic attitude and abjuration of physical enjoyment and pleasure (fasting, vegetarianism, sexual abstinence, emphasis on physical fitness). The analysis is mainly based on Kafka's own descriptions in his letters, diaries, and literary work. Kafka was achievement oriented, reported many sadomasochistic fantasies, and had an anancastic (obsessive-compulsive) depressive personality. In addition there is evidence for a disturbed psychosexual and gender identity development. Our results concerning Kafka's psychopathology do not question his genius as a poet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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