Sue Young Histories

David Ferdinand Koreff 1783 - 1851

June 14, 2009

David Ferdinand Koreff ({::}Johann Ferdinand Koreff) (David Schinkel Ferdinand Koreff) 1783 - 1851 MD, was a Jewish German orthodox physician who converted to Mesmerism and homeopathy.

Koreff was a student of Samuel Hahnemann.

Koreff was independantly wealthy and he did not charge for his services.

Koreff was one of the most famous physicians of his age.

Koreff was the homeopathic practitioner of Honore de Balzac, the family of Napoleon Bonaparte, Francois Rene Vicomte de Chateaubriand, Benjamin Constant, Princess Dorothea of Courland, Marie, Comtesse d’Agoult, Marie Duplessis, Karl August von Hardenberg, Heinrich Heine, Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel, Julius Eduard Hitzig, Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, Karoline von Humboldt and her daughters, Lady Lincoln, Anna Liszt, Franz Liszt, Friedrich Schlegel, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Friedrich Wilhelm III,

Koreff was a member of the Serapion Brethren, and he was a friend of Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Clemens Brentano, Adelbert von Chamisso, Karl Wilhelm Salice Contessa, Victor Cousin, Henriette von Crayen, Adolphe de Custine, Ferdinand Victor Eugene Delacroix, Ludwig Devrient, Alexandre Dumas, Friedrich de la Motte Fouque, Eduard Gans, Henriette Herz, Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, Elise Felicitas Freiin of Hohenhausen, Victor Hugo, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Julius Heinrich Klaproth, Prosper Merimee, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ignaz Moscheles, The Musset brothers, Friedrich von Pfuel, Marie Henri Beyle, Stendhal, Johann Ludwig Tieck, Rahel Varnhagen, Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, Karl Christian Wolfart,

Koreff was an early proponent of the use of belladonna for scarlet fever. Koreff submitted articles and cases to various homeopathic publications.

Koreff was in Paris between 1804-1811, when he returned to Germany. It is likely that Koreff was a student of Samuel Hahnemann at this time.

Koreff’s _Lyrische Gedichte_ was published in Paris in 1815.

In 1817, Koreff and Wilhelm von Humboldt were appointed Professors by Royal Cabinet Order in chairs for animal magnetism, created in 1817 at the University of Berlin. Koreff was also appointed as a Professor of Physiology at the Charite Hospital in Berlin, though he was forced to hastily convert to Christianity to confirm these posts due to anti semitic political pressure.

Koreff was a member of the Berlin Nordstern Confederation, and he was forced to travel to Switzerland and Italy 1811-1813, where he was part of the resistance against anti Semitic circles.

In 1814-15, he was guest at the Congress of Vienna, and in 1816, he was Professor of Medicine in Berlin, and in 1818, he was part of the Secret Oberregierungsrat in the State Chancellery.

Koreff was obviously much more than a doctor, socialite or a literary man. He had close and private familiarity with many private and state secrets. Princess Dorothea of Courland noted in her Memoirs of the Duchesse de Dino that Koreff ’he has found himself in all family and state secrets’, and that he ’poses as a man of letters and a statesman, and has made persons in great places chary…‘.

Translated from German: In the documents, you will find the small smoldering fires, which is my concern.  First, the anecdote that Koreff, guest at the Congress of Vienna, the Russian Tsar Alexander I in the Kärntnerstrasse a stick blow had missed. From the back mind you, so accidentally - but rude. The informant is Adolphe de Custine, the son of his lover.

Its source is in turn Koreff itself, in such things as not exactly applied.

The second deletion, I have for you in the letter made Hard Mount, which the speakers Koreff Council appoints and whose final sentence reads: “By the way, you have the uniform of the speakers at my councils person to purchase.”

The last body found in Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann Serapion Brethren where Vincent, the role of Koreffs name, says of himself: “I can […] I like the little Scot Donald Monro for a mirror, and all eyes, grimaces, his posture after making of my face looks. ”

What do you think of this compilation?  I could go one or the other supplement, but it seems to me at the intersection of these points lies the secret.

In 1822, after the death of Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, Koreff was forced to withdraw due to the growing pressure of the enemy in Paris, where he was working as a ‘scientific reporter’, using his contacts Heinrich Heine, Marie Henri Beyle, Stendhal, Prosper Merimee and The Musset brothers.

However, two political scandals in 1837 and 1847 finally succeeded in destroying his medical reputation almost entirely, and he worked instead as a poet, opera copywriter and translator.

During his 20s Heinrich Heine suffered from severe migraines and recurrent depressions. He went to spas for relief. The neurologic illness that interests us began much later, with a transient palsy of two fingers on his left hand in 1832, when he was 35 years old. Dr. Ferdinand Koreff (1783-1851) was consulted.

Translated from German: Koreff studied medicine at the University of Halle and Berlin. As a doctor, he made a name for himself through the use of unusual medical techniques in the treatment of mentally ill, which in some cases led sensational successes.

With the help of Mesmerismus he treated many patients whose treatment by other physicians had been abandoned. He has also worked as a translator and translated works of Hippocrates, Plautus and Tibullus in German.

In Berlin, he found access to literary salons, and was one of the founders of the Federal Nordstern, to which Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, and Adelbert von Chamisso also belonged.

Later, he joined the Serapion Brethren to the literary friends by Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann. 1803 he moved to Paris, where he was both a literary activity, as well as a medical practitioner.  His patients included the family of Napoleon Bonaparte and some diplomats.

Following his appointment as personal physician of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, and the Prussian Chancellor Karl August von Hardenberg, Koreff received at the age of 33 years, a full Professorship at the University of Berlin.

His opponents pointed out that he was Jew and not entitled to such a position, so Karl August von Hardenberg personally ensured that Koreff was baptized into the Lutheran church.

His most important literary work was his _Lyrische Gedichte_ (1815). He wrote the libretto for the opera Aucassin and Nicolette, a processing of the old French tale Aucassin et Nicolette, in 1822 in Berlin.

In 1818, Koreff was one of the founders of the University of Bonn and was in the same year a member of the nonprofit Academy of Sciences of Erfurt.

1822, he moved again to Paris. His friends in the French capital included the painter Ferdinand Victor Eugene Delacroix, the philosopher Victor Cousin, the musician Giacomo Meyerbeer and significant writers such as Marie Henri Beyle, Stendhal, Prosper Merimee, The Musset brothers, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Heinrich Heine, whose physician he was. As a mediator between the leading French and German literary groups, Koreff was an important personality.

Translated from German: After his conversion and the associated baptism in 1816 he was named Johann Ferdinand Koreff. He also published under the Pseudonym **Anthropos**.

From 1802 he studied medicine in Halle and Berlin, where he has access to literary salons and was held in conjunction with Adelbert von Chamisso and from Ense, Karl August Varnhagen von Ense joined. Also, he was a personal friend of Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann. With his friends in Berlin, the actor Ludwig Devrient, and Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann.

Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann had “a fondness for everything Pathological in humans”, and he realized that in his tragic theater roles, Koreff’s medical knowledge would benefit Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann in his literature as Adalbert Friedrich Marcus in Bamberger in his time (1808-13), had combined with Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann and Koreff a friendship, which was based on similar complementarity.

What Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann gained from poetic intuition and painful self observation, he knew Koreff’s medical experience could confirm, and, conversely, it was for him a source of enrichment, with a human expert to build a Menschenbildner (‘people picture’).

Koreff was a member of the Berlin Nordstern Federation, an association of writers. which included the Romanticists Julius Eduard Hitzig, Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, Adelbert von Chamisso, Friedrich Wilhelm Neumann, Franz Theremin, Heinrich Julius Klaproth, and Friedrich de la Motte Fouque.

Koreff was then traveling Causeur and Mesmerianer, a European celebrity (Paris, Italy, Vienna, Berlin), and after 1815, he was working with a group of writers in the Berlin apartment of Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann. These included, Adelbert von Chamisso, Karl Wilhelm Salice Contessa, Friedrich de la Motte Fouque and Julius Eduard Hitzig.

In such circles, a new literary narrative framework was created. Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann summed this up from 1819 to 1821in four volumes with the title Serapion Brethren.  The name Serapion Brethren means in touch with the Egyptian Serapion Saints. It must have been on 14.11.1818, at a dinner party of a Polish woman that Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann’s calendar occurred.

Koreff was influential and favorite personal physician of Karl August von Hardenberg, who founded the curatorships at the University of Bonn. 1817 Koreff received a Professorship at the University of Berlin, where he taught “animal magnetism”. His interest in such phenomena were at the time a distinguished contemporary medicine, as Franz Anton Mesmer’s theory of “animal magnetism” was highly popular.

Franz Anton Mesmer and his adepts used “magnetic treatments”, which as a precursor to serious hypnotherapy was most fashionable and celebrated with doctors of the upper social stratum.

In 1818, Koreff was a member of the nonprofit Academy of Sciences of Erfurt.

After his political fall in 1822, Koreff retreated to Paris, where he treated Heinrich Heine.

Koreff studied in Berlin, practised as a physician in Paris 1804-11, then returned to Berlin, where he frequented circles of Romantic littérateurs such as Adelbert von Chamisso, Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, and Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, who included him as Vinzenz in the introductory narrative to the Serapion Brethren.

In 1816 he became Professor of Medicine at Berlin University.

Koreff translated Tibullus (Tibulls und der Sulpicia Elegien, 1810) and wrote two opera libretti (Don Tacagno, 1819; Aucassin und Nicolette, 1822). His poems (Lyrische Gedichte) appeared in 1815.

Under the pseudonym Anthropos, Koreff wrote The Rights of Man, (not Paines,) But the Rights of Man, in the West Indies, Merchants’ bank, Merchants’ Bank the Fever Excited by this Subject… , The uninterrupted succession, The Contagious Diseases Acts and the Contagious Diseases Preventive Bill, The Divine Light of Nature Against Myths of Man in Verse and Prose, Strictures Upon the Rev. William Thorn’s Pamphlet Entitled Dipping Not Baptizing,

Of interest:

Koreff was also a personal friend of Clemens August Alertz (1810-1866), who was the personal physician of Pope Pius IX.

P F Koreff was a student of Samuel Hahnemann in Paris in 1815?


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