Dr. med. Karl Hermes, Duisburg
They were different times. It was shortly before Christmas 1844 when Dr Heinrich Hoffmann wrote and illustrated the story of Struwwelpeter (shock-headed/slovenly Peter) because he could not find a suitable picture book for his 3 year old son Karl.
They were different times yet, even in 1844, he still existed: Zappelphilipp, the fidgety child. And the man knew what he was writing about: he was a psychiatrist in Frankfurt. There was something else as well in 1844: helplessness to treat the condition. The lines of the verse tell it all: "... And the mother looked very grave / To see Philip so misbehave." But the father does not achieve much either with his words which attempt to heal the situation: "Let me see if Peter can / Be a little gentleman. / Let me see if he is able / To sit still for once at table. / Thus spoke, in earnest tone, / The father to his son." [Translator’s note: reference to Die Geschichte von Zappelphilipp The Story of...