The Problem

    Robert Schumann was born on the 8th June, 1810. On the 27th February, 1854, he threw himself into the Rhine, but was rescued. On the following 3rd March he went of his own free will into the mental hospital at Endenich; and he ended his days there on the 29th June, 1856.

    The Superintendent of the asylum at Endenich, Dr. Richarz, called Schumann's illness "partial paralysis", and from the context of his report it is clear that by that term he meant general paresis. The first suggestion that a diagnostic problem was involved was made by Möbius in 1906. After considering the evidence, he con­cluded that Schumann had suffered from a succession of schizo­phrenic illnesses from youth on; he rejected the diagnosis of any final organic illness. This view was countered by Gruhle (1906), who argued that the facts adduced by Möbius led, instead, to a different conclusion, i.e. that during the earlier part of his life Schumann was cyclotliymic, but that his last illness was an organic disease of the brain, most probably general paresis. Since then many other writers have taken up the problem. In the review of the literature provided by Lange‑Eichbaum, the writers quoted are almost equally divided between three views, that of Möbius, that of Gruhie, and an inter­mediate one which sees the psychosis as an organic one arising on the basis of a psychopathic personality. The personal opinion of Lange‑Eichbaum, which is sustained by Kurth, the editor of the last edition of his work, is in conformity with the last of these three. Juda herself did not go further than to classify the case as one of endogenous psychosis of unclear nature, with a final organic psychosis not to be excluded.

    Of recent work, that of Garrison (1934), Wörner (1949) and of Reinhard (1956) should be mentioned. Garrison concerns himself principally with the family history, but states that Schumann was schizophrenic. Worner argues that an earlier schizophrenic state was followed by a final organic psychosis. Reinhard believes that a final general paresis can be confidently excluded, and the psychosis was an endogenous one, nature not clear.

    Our own view is approximately that of Gruhle; but in view of the discrepancies of opinion, we propose to reexamine the relevant evidence in order to establish it on a firm foundation.

    It was not possible for us to consult all the contributions quoted by Lange‑Eichbaum in the original; but it is hoped that no major point has escaped our attention.