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Encyclopedia > Daniel Paul Schreber

Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911) was a German judge suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. He described his condition in his book Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (original German title Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken)[1]. The book was influential in psychology. Sigmund Freud put his own interpretation on Schreber's case.[2] 1842 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Year 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhÄ“, spirit, soul; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is an academic / applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior of humans and animals. ... Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud) May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939; (IPA: ) was a Jewish-Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who co-founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ...

Contents

Schreber's Experiences

Schreber was a successful and highly respected judge until middle age when the onset of his psychosis occurred. He woke up one morning with the thought that it would be pleasant to "succumb" to sexual intercourse as a woman. He was alarmed and felt that this thought had come from somewhere else, not from himself. He even hypothesized that the thought had come from a doctor who had experimented with hypnosis on him; he thought that the doctor had telepathically invaded his mind.


As his psychosis progressed, he believed that God was turning him into a woman, sending rays down to enact "miracles" upon him, including little men to torture him.


Schreber died in 1911, in an asylum.


Freud's Interpretation

Although Freud never interviewed Schreber himself, he read his Memoirs and drew his own conclusions from it. Freud thought that Schreber wanted to be turned into a woman so that he could be the sole object of sexual desire of God (who represented Schreber's father, Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber). This view has been contested by a number of subsequent theorists, most famously Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their work Anti-Oedipus and elsewhere. Their reading of Schreber's Memoirs foregrounds the political and racial elements of the text; they see Schreber's written experience of reality abnormal only in its honesty about the experience of power in late capitalism. Elias Canetti also devoted the closing chapters of his theoretical magnum opus Crowds and Power to a reading of Schreber. Finally (though by no means exhaustively), Jacques Lacan's Seminar on the Psychoses is predominantly concerned with reading and evaluating Schreber's text over-against Freud's original and originating interpretation. Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber (October 15, 1808 - November 10, 1861) was a German physician and university teacher at University of Leipzig. ... Gilles Deleuze (IPA: ), (January 18, 1925 – November 4, 1995) was a French philosopher of the late 20th century. ... Pierre-Félix Guattari (1930 - 1992) was a French pioneer of institutional psychotherapy, as well as the founder of both Schizoanalysis and the science of Ecosophy. ... The Anti-Oedipus (1972) is a book by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. ... Elias Canetti, Nobel Laureate in Literature Elias Canetti (25 July 1905, Ruse, Bulgaria – 13 August 1994, Zurich) was a Bulgaria-born British-Austrian novelist, who wrote in German and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981. ... Jacques Lacan Jacques Lacan (April 13, 1901 – September 9, 1981) was an influential French psychoanalyst as well as a structuralist who based much of his theories on Ferdinand de Saussures theories on language. ...


Schatzman's Interpretation

In 1974, Morton Schatzman published a book entitled "Soul Murder" in which he gave his own interpretation of Schreber's psychosis. Schatzman had found child-rearing pamphlets written by Moritz Schreber, Daniel Schreber's father, which stressed the necessity of taming the rebellious savage beast in the child and turning him into a productive citizen. Many of the "techniques" recommended by Moritz Schreber were mirrored in Daniel Schreber's psychotic experiences. For example, one of the "miracles" described by Daniel Schreber was that of chest compression, of tightening and tightening. This mirrored one of Moritz Schreber's "techniques" of an elaborate contraption which confined the child's body, forcing him to have correct posture at the dinner table. The "freezing miracle" mirrors Moritz Schreber's recommendation of placing the infant in a bath of ice cubes beginning at age 3 months.


Daniel Paul Schreber's older brother, Daniel Gustav Schreber, committed suicide in his thirties.


Dark City

A character named Daniel Paul Schreber appears in the film Dark City. Portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland, the Schreber in the film is not, however, a judge, as was the historical Schreber but rather a doctor, ironically enough not unlike Doktor Paul Flechsig, the hostile focus of Schreber's delusion. While the film stops far short of confronting the truly unsettling implications of Schreber's account, and is more directly concerned with the status of cinematic film noir stereotypes than with the status of the everyday reality around us, nonetheless, it does echo the paranoid sense of the Memoirs that collectively-experienced reality (the "Big Other" in Lacan's phrase) is in fact malevolent and manipulative, and that its agency - the tuning aliens in the film, the forecourts of God in the Memoirs - cannot understand human subjectivity and the experience of an inner life. Moreover, there are clear parallels in the film with certain Schreberian notions, particularly the "fleetingly improvised men," the "poison of corpses" and the "lung worm." Dark City is a 1998 science fiction film written by Alex Proyas, Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer, and directed by Proyas. ... Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland (born December 21, 1966 in London, England) is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning Canadian television and film actor, well known for his role of Jack Bauer on the series 24. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Schreber, Daniel Paul (1903). Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. New York: New York Review of Books, 2000. ISBN 0-940322-20-X. 
  2. ^ Freud, Sigmund (1911). The Schreber Case. New York: Penguin Classics Psychology, 2003. ISBN 0142437425. 

Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud) May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939; (IPA: ) was a Jewish-Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who co-founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ...

References

  • Morton Schatzman: Soul Murder: Persecution in the Family (ISBN 0-394-48148-8)
  • Eric Santner: My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber's Secret History of Modernity (ISBN 0-691-02627-0)
  • Zvi Lothane: In Defense of Schreber: Soul Murder and Psychiatry (ISBN 0-88163-103-5)
  • W.G. Niederland: Schreber: Father and Son (1959, Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:151-169). He basically came to same conclusion as Morton Schatzman.
  • Allison, David B. et al., "Psychosis and Sexual Identity: Toward a Post-Analytic View of the Schreber Case" (ISBN 0-88706-617-8). A collection of essays by theoreticians such as Michel de Certeau, Alphonso Lingis, Jean-François Lyotard, as well as several previously unpublished texts written by Schreber after the publication of the Memoirs.

Eric L. Santner (b. ... William Guglielmo Niederland (1904 - 1993) was a German-American psychoanalyst. ... Michel de Certeau (Chambéry, 1925- Paris, 9 January 1986) was a French Jesuit and scholar whose work combined psychoanalysis, philosophy, and the social sciences. ... Alphonso Lingis Alphonso Lingis (born November 23, 1933 in Crete, Illinois) is an American philosopher, writer and translator, currently Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

External links

  • mythosandlogos.com/Schreber. A repository of further reading related to Schreber's case and subsequent publishings in philosophy, psychology and literature.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Aetiology for the paranoid delusional system - object relations theoretical perspective (4812 words)
Daniel Paul Schreber was a distinguished Judge who suffered a severe mental illness diagnosed as dementia paranoides, was confined in an asylum for several years but recovered sufficiently to publish his memoirs in 1903.
Schreber's mental collapse had been heralded by a 'torturing bout of sleeplessness' (142) a typical response of a terrified central ego to the developing danger of an incapacitating regression (Guntrip, 1968).
Schreber at his lowest point believed that many of his internal organs had been destroyed, that he was infected with the plague, that he was 'dead and decomposing' and that 'his body was being handled in all kinds of revolting ways' (143).
Daniel Paul Schreber - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (508 words)
Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911) was a German judge suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
Schreber was a successful and highly respected judge until middle age when the onset of his psychosis occurred.
For example, one of the "miracles" described by Daniel Schreber was that of chest compression, of tightening and tightening.
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