The Myth of Schubert’s Syphilis: A Critical Approach

Eva Maria Cybulska

Abstract


This is a critical examination of the diagnosis of syphilis in Schubert's case, a diagnosis for which there has never ben any medical evidence. It was a cnjecture made by an art historian at the begining of the twentieth century that has since been uncritically repeated by subsequent biographers and commentators. This is an attempt to challenge it from the epistemological point of view. At the time of Schubert's death, not only were there no tests for this condition, but even its pathogen, Treponema Pallidum, had not yet been isolated. The composer's nonsepcific, multi-system signs and symptoms are compatible with many conditions not yet identified in his time.

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References


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by The International Association for Music & Medicine