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L., B.D. (1943). A Eugenia no Direito De Família. (Eugenics and Family Law.): By Teodolindo Castiglione. São Paulo: Saraiva & Cia., 1942. 247 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 12:424-425.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:424-425

A Eugenia no Direito De Família. (Eugenics and Family Law.): By Teodolindo Castiglione. São Paulo: Saraiva & Cia., 1942. 247 pp.

Review by:
B. D. L.

The author is a Brazilian lawyer; he discusses first the civil code which deals with such matters as prenuptial examinations, consanguinity, bars to marriage because of age, illnesses, feeblemindedness, etc. The second, smaller, part of the book takes up eugenics among the Brazilian Indians. The author inquires in each matter he discusses whether the motives of the legislators were primarily eugenic or whether custom and morals determined the legal restrictions and qualifications. Since he quotes from the writings and speeches of many of the legislators who framed the laws, the effect of his discussion and the inconclusiveness of the answers in certain cases are revealed clearly and the interplay of various motives comes to light. The code is the result of all sorts of compromises between rationalizations. The eugenic motive is present, but also evidently as a rationalization. In this connection the remarks about marriages of near relatives make interesting reading. Although various authorities are cited as to the pros and cons of marriage between uncle and niece (common among the early colonists), one irate authority, a Protestant, launched a tirade against the Catholic priests who gave special ecclesiastic consent to such marriages, branding this practice as a 'license to incest'.

The medical authorities cited for the support of laws on insanity, are chiefly the old timers of the French school, chiefly Kraepelin and Max Stade among those not French, and most of them support the degeneracy theory. Indeed the eugenic ideas propounded are chiefly concerned with the rôle of heredity, alcohol and syphilis in weakening the 'race'. As if to analyze the unconscious motives behind the legislation, the author provides a section called 'Eugenics among the Brazilian Indians'.

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