The German periodical Magazin zur Erfalnungsseelenkunde (1783-93) presents ten volumes of short essays submitted by educated lay people describing aspects of the mind from an Enlightenment perspective, with a strong focus on aberrant psychology. The contributions are interpreted as a hybrid form of psychological case histories and short stories which, in Goethe's contemporary definition, describe "sich ereignete unerhörte Begebenheiten" [extraordinary but true events]. This form lent itself well to debate on the parameters of sanity and madness, in particular, how far madness lay beyond apprehension by the sane and to what extent any boundaries between the two could meaningfully be drawn.

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