Dreams of death: Von Weizsäcker's dreams in so‐called endogenic anorexia: A research note

Craig Jackson*, Peter J. V. Beumont, Christopher Thornton, Wolfgang Lennerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Viktor Von Weizsäcker's paper “Dreams in so‐called endogenic Magersucht (anorexia),” first published in the Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift in 1937 (translation in M. Kaufman & M. Heiman [1964]). Evolution of psychosomatic concepts: Anorexia nervosa: A paradigm (pp. 181–197), New York: International Universities Press, has been described as a noteworthy and historically important contribution to the recognition of anorexia nervosa as a psychosomatic illness. Von Weizsäcker analyzed the dreams of patients he was treating for “endogenous anorexia” (magersucht). He claimed that in the bulimic phase his patients experienced nightmares dealing with themes of death, but that in the anorectic phases of restricted eating more pleasant dreams dealt with themes of blissful contentment. The authors draw current attention to his work as another early example of the treatment of the theme of death and death symbolism in the literature on eating disorders, and suggest some reappraisal of von Weizsäcker's interpretations of his own material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-332
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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