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ERIC Number: EJ809598
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1098-3007
Evidence Suggesting the Existence of Asperger Syndrome in the Mid-1800s
Koegel, Ashley Kern
Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, v10 n4 p270-272 2008
Originally published in "Putnam's Monthly Magazine" in 1853, nearly a century before autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was formally recognized, Herman Melville's "Bartleby" is the naive tale of a nonconforming, socially awkward character. However, when placed into contemporary context, retrospective analysis indicates that Bartleby may in fact have been a victim of the modern diagnosis of ASD, more specifically, a high-functioning form of autism termed "Asperger syndrome." In 1853, it is unlikely that individuals who would now be characterized as having ASD would have been accepted by society. Without proper diagnosis and any appropriate form of treatment, such individuals had little chance of improvement or inclusion. The following is a modern case study, proposing that Melville's Bartleby was affected with the modern syndrome of ASD, and his work was thus suggesting the existence of Asperger Syndrome in the mid-1800s.
SAGE Publications and Hammill Institute on Disabilities. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A