Christian Friedrich Nasse

Doctor, psychiatrist


Born: 18.04.1778 in Bielefeld.

Died: 18.04.1851 in Marburg


Doctorate: 1801 in Halle (Medicine)

University lecturer: 1815 - 1819 Halle, 1819 - 1851 Bonn


Nasse, who had initially trained for a career in commerce, soon decided to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps and began to study medicine in Halle in 1796. Johann Christian Reil was his teacher, Achim von Arnim and Friedrich von Raumer were among his friends.

On attaining his doctorate, Nasse opened a practice in Bielefeld where he later took over the town's hospital for the poor. He married Henriette Weber in 1805, and the two left Bielefeld in 1814. Nasse spent some time in Göttingen, Leipzig and Dresden, where he met Carl Gustav Carus. He was living in Weimar when he was called to Halle to take over Reil's chair. Reil, who had died in 1813, had already suggested Nasse for a chair in Berlin, and campaigned vigorously to have Nasse as his successor. Nasse transferred to Bonn in 1819 and remained in the chair there until his death.

Of all the philosophical writers, Nasse was most interested in Herbart and distanced himself from the natural philosophers. He founded the Zeitschrift für psychische Ärzte (journal for psychiatric doctors) in 1818, a journal which was later published under the title Jahrbücher für Anthropologie (yearbooks for anthropology). When this publication became financially untenable, Nasse joined with Max Jacobi to publish the Zeitschrift für Heilung und Beurtheilung krankhafter Seelenstörungen (journal for the healing and diagnosis of pathological mental disorders). In 1822 he withdrew from the editorship of the Archivs für thierischen Magnetismus (animal magnetism archive), expressing doubts about the theoretical basis of the work and claiming to have discovered numerous incidences of fraud in the observations.

Nasse is considered to be the first German clinician to have brought practical experience of bedside diagnosis into the lecture hall. He continued his scientific and academic work until the end of his life, despite increasing personal illness. His last study, which dealt with the therapeutic treatment of the abuse of alcoholic spirits, was completed by his son Werner.

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