Mental besetments or obsessions will be considered in their general aspects, position, and relations. It is not intended to make elaborate clinical description of their various forms. To systemise, and to make the scope of what follows clear at a glance, the subject will be divided under several heads:—
1. A slight outline of besetments of mind or obsessions will be drawn.
2. Their psychological and clinical position will be briefly examined in the division of them by the writer.
3. Next their general characters will be noticed, and
4. Fourthly, the necessity of extricating them, by differential distinction, from conditions with which they have been confounded.
5. Together we take (a) their gradual development in some cases into special mental disturbance, and even into actual insanity; and (b) their desperately dangerous and injurious type in some examples, and the graded scale between these and the trivial.
6. Their relation to phenomena in primitive man, and in savages, and to conditions in ordinary forms of paranoia.
7. Their nosological position, alliances, and congeners.
8. Cases illustrating several of the foregoing departments of the study of besetment.
9. The clinical aspects of obsessions in their several degrees. and instead of giving a long clinical account of the many forms of obsession I will end by reproducing a description—written, apparently, in the mental life-blood of the sufferer, a master of English—the earliest full description, and the best one that has yet appeared of certain forms of obsession.
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