Forel, Auguste Henri

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Forel, Auguste Henri


Born Sept. 1, 1848, in La Gracieuse, canton of Vaud; died July 27, 1931, in Yvorne, canton of Vaud. Swiss neuropathologist, psychiatrist, entomologist, and public figure.

Forel graduated from the medical faculty of the University of Vienna in 1872. He was director of the Burghölzli Asylum from 1879 to 1906 and also a professor of psychiatry at the University of Zürich from 1879 to 1898. He was a practicing psychotherapist from 1907 to 1912.

Forel’s early work dealt with the anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system: between 1872 and 1877 he investigated a crossing over in the brainstem of the fibers originating from the red nuclei (Forel’s decussation), and in 1885 he described the nuclei of the auditory nerve. His lectures on hypnotism and its therapeutic application furthered the development of psychotherapy; he published the Zeitschrift für Hypnotismus (Journal of Hypnotism) with J. Grossman. Forel was also interested in the biosocial problems of alcoholism, prostitution, and venereal disease. He founded a shelter for alcoholics in 1888, and he was a prominent spokesman for the international temperance movement. In 1905, Forel published The Sexual Question, which played an important role in the development of the field of sexual pathology.

In entomology, Forel described approximately 3,000 species of Hymenoptera. The high point of his entomological research was the five-volume work The Social World of Ants Compared With That of Man (1921–23), which dealt with the biology, taxonomy, and instincts of ants. Forel also studied problems of forensic psychiatry and ethics.

Forel took part in the international peace movement; in 1914 and 1915 he discussed current problems of peace and humanism in the journal Les États-unis de la terre (The United States of the Earth). He maintained a friendship with R. Rolland and A. V. Lunacharskii and openly expressed his sympathies for the USSR.


Die Trinksitten, ihre hygienische und soziale Bedeutung. Basel, 1890.
Der Hypnotismus und die suggestive Psychotherapie. Stuttgart, 1902.
Gehirn und Seele, 9th ed. Stuttgart, 1906.
Gesammelte hirnanatomische Abhandlungen mit einem Aufsatz über die Aufgaben der Neurobiologie. Munich, 1907.
In Russian translation:
Polovoi vopros, vols. 1–2. Kharkov, 1928.


Festschrift Auguste Forel zum 70: Geburtslage gewidmet. Leipzig, 1919–20.
Muralt, A. von. A. Forel. Zürich-Leipzig, 1928.
Wettley, A. A. Forel. Salzburg, 1953.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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