In 1836 Hossli published a medico-literary work based on the trial and execution of a young man of good family, who murdered a youth through homosexual love and jealousy; and in Germany, where the medico-legal aspects of the Bubject have been most carefully investigated, Casper, in his "Vierteljahrsschrift," and elsewhere, calling attention to those geni to-psychical conditions which plead for immunity from legal procedure, and punishment, in dealing with homosexual vices, treated the matter very fully and fairly; but the writer who has done the most—not excepting even Westphal—to scientifically define, and analyze, the subject of sexual inversion, was Karl H. Ulrichs, of Aurich, Germany; a man who for many years defended publicly the practice of homosexual love, and who was himself a confessed sexual invert.
"Who drives fat oxen must himself be fat." According to the Horatian maxim, that no man is capable of writing about a passion he has not himself felt, Ulrichs, as a self-confessed invert, was peculiarly qualified to define, analyze, and describe sexual inversion; and the clear and intelligent character of his work does ample justice to his peculiar advantages.
Under the pen-name, "Numa Numantius," and subsequently under his own, beginning in 1S64, he published in Germany a long catalogue of works in defence of the individual's right to practice sexual intercourse as he pleased; and pleading for a greater degree of legal tolerance for the sexual invert.1
As has been well remarked, however, the reasonings of this writer in defence of an institution of which he was an avowed disciple, bear too much the character of arguments pro domo to have had a very marked bearing upon scientific thought. He regarded homosexuality as simply a congenital abnormality, by which a female soul had become united with a male body— anima muliebris in corpore virili inclusa—and vice versa; and this speculation, admirably suited to the superstitious spirit of the times, took rapid root in Italy, where Ritti, Tamassia, and at a later period Lombroso, began to give such elaborate and careful study to those hitherto neglected sexual phenomena as to result in their present elevation to the rank of a clearly defined department in psychological science.
In France, the subject was taken up by Charcot and Magnan, the first important result of their investigation of sexual inversion being published, in 1882, in the Archives de Neurologie. Paul Sérieux, in his "Les Anomalies de l'Instinct Sexuel," published in Paris in 1888, made valuable contributions to our knowledge of the subject; wdiich is further enriched by those of Lacassagne, of Brouardel and Legludic, in Paris, and of Tarnowsky in St, Petersburg,
But it cannot be denied that, while Krafft-Ebing, of Vienna, and Have-lock Ellis, of London, have accomplished more than, possibly, any two other previous writers in reducing the subject to clearly definite lines, and in framing laws for its scientific investigation, it is equally obvious that in both writers the literary arrangement of their facts leaves very much to be desired; and it is with an ultimate hope of bettering this condition, amplifying the theme, in directions where it seems faultily circumscribed in the works mentioned, and condensing it in others, where it is unnecessarily tedious, that I have been led to attempt the present task.
In the works of most writers on sexual themes the one great element of all true literary excellence—the power of awakening human interest— seems to be painfully lacking; and while physicians, by virtue of their vocation, must perforce read much that is dry and technical, they will read with an added sense of pleasure if the facts presented be clothed with some portion of the literary graces which theevery-day reader demands in connection with other subjects. There should, in other words, be sugar coating in medical literature as well as on our pills.