Sergei Sergeevich Korsakov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Korsakov, Sergei Sergeevich


Born Jan. 22 (Feb. 3), 1854, in Gus’-KhrustaPnyi; died May 1 (14), 1900, in Moscow. Russian psychiatrist, founder of the Moscow school of psychiatry, and public figure.

Korsakov graduated from the medical department of Moscow University in 1875 and worked under A. la. Kozhevnikov. In 1892 he became a professor at Moscow University and head of the university’s psychoneurology clinic. In 1887 he defended his dissertation, On Alcoholic Paralysis, for the degree of doctor of medicine, and achieved international fame. Polyneuritic psychosis with characteristic disturbance of memory, first described by Korsakov, was named Korsakov’s disease (Korsakov’s psychosis) at the 12th International Medical Congress in Moscow in 1897. Korsakov was one of the pioneers of psychiatric nosology and the author of the classic Course in Psychiatry (1893). He described the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia as an independent disease, calling it dysnoia.

Korsakov’s theory of the organization of psychiatric care led to fundamental reforms in Russia’s psychiatric institutions. Korsakov was the founder of the Moscow Society of Neuropathologists and Psychiatrists. In 1901 he initiated the publication of the Zhurnal nevropatologii i psikhiatrii (the first journal of its kind in Russia), which now bears his name. He was chairman of the board of the Pirogov Society of Physicians. He created an important school of psychiatrists, among the representatives of which are V. P. Serbskii, N. N. Bazhenov, A. A. Tokarskii, P. P. Kashchenko, P. B. Gannushkin, and N. A. Bernshtein.

The psychiatric clinic of the I. M. Sechenov First Moscow Medical Institute was named for Korsakov in 1949. Korsakov sharply opposed those American surgeons who advocated the sterilization or castration of the mentally ill.


Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1954. (Bibliography.)
Kurs psikhiatrii, vols. 1-2, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1913.


Edel’shtein, A. O. S. S. Korsakov. Moscow, 1948. (Bibliography.)
Iudin, T. I. Ocherki istorii otechestvennoi psikhiatrii. Moscow, 1951.
Banshchikov, V. M. S. S. Korsakov [1854-1900]: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1967. (Bibliography.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.