Editor’s Introduction (Psycho-Analytic Notes on an autobiographical account of a case of paranoia (Dementia Paranoides) [Case of Schreber] : 1958 : James Strachey

by Julia Evans on January 1, 1958

Published in Standard Edition : Volume 12 : p1-82.

Also p131-137 of Volume 9, Case Histories II : 1979 : Penguin Freud Library

Available here or below

References

– In his communications to Fliess (Freud, 1950a), which include detailed considerations of the subject dating from I895 and 1896,

[Letter of 24th January 1895 and Draft H, Paranoia (The Emma Eckstein episode) : 24th January 1895 : Sigmund Freud or here &

Letter from Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess: 1st January 1896 :Known as Letter 39 or here 

Draft K : The Neuroses of Defence (A Christmas Fairy Tale) : 1st January 1896 : Sigmund Freud or here]

– and in his second paper on the

– neuropsychoses of defence (1896b) he aimed at establishing two main theoretical points: that paranoia is a neurosis of defence and that its chief mechanism is projection. [Further Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of Defense : Part of this paper are identical to Draft K – see letter of January 1st 1896 : Sigmund Freud : Available Letter from Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess: 1st January 1896 : Known as Letter 39 or here & Draft K : The Neuroses of Defence (A Christmas Fairy Tale) : 1st January 1896 : Sigmund Freud or here]

_ An interesting letter to Fliess of 9 December 1899 (1950a, Letter 125),adds a suggestion that paranoia involves a return to an early auto-erotism.

– However, in 1908 he put forward what was to become his main generalization on the subject- namely, the connection between paranoia and repressed passive homosexuality

– in letters to Jung (27 January 1908, included in Freud, 1974a) and

– Ferenczi (11 February 1908), both of whom confirmed that hypothesis.

– There are a number of references to that disease in Freud’s later writings. The more important of these were his paper on

‘A Case of Paranoia Running Counter to the Psychoanalytic Theory of the Disease’ (1915f), and

– Section B of ‘Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality (1922b). In addition,

– ‘A Seventeenth Century Demonological Neurosis’ (1923d) includes some discussion of the Schreber case, though the neurosis which is the subject of the paper is nowhere described by Freud as paranoia, In none of these later writings is there any essential modification of the views on paranoia expressed in the present work.

– Two principles of mental functioning (1911b),

[Two Principles of Mental Functioning : 1911: Sigmund Freud : Freud’s text in English with the original German text laid out in the right hand column : published by www.freud2lacan.com : here ]

– Narcissism (1914c)

– Repression (1915d)

– Instincts and their Vicissitudes’ (1915c)

[Freud, Sigmund. (1915c). Triebe und Triebschicksale. Internationale Zeitschrift für (ärztliche) Psychoanalyse, III, p. 84-100; G.W., X, p. 210-232; Instincts and their vicissitudes. SE, 14: 117-140 :

Instincts and Their Vicissitudes : you will find Freud’s text in English with the original German text laid out in the right hand column. : published at www.Freud2Lacan.com : available here ]

– the various causes of the onset of neurosis (including the concept of ‘frustration’) and the part played by successive points of fixation’ – was to be dealt with before long in a separate paper (1912c and

– 1913i) [‘The Disposition to Obsessional Neurosis’ : 1913i : Sigmund Freud]

– Finally, in the postscript we find Freud’s first brief excursion into the field of mythology and his first mention of totem, which were beginning to occupy his thoughts and which were to give the title to one of his principal works (1912-13).

[Totem and Taboo: 1912-1913 : Sigmund Freud

You will find Freud’s paper in English with the original German text laid out in the right hand column : published by www.Freud2Lacan.com : available here : Reference found by Bruno de Florence]

Or follows :

Please note at the end there is a timeline of events in Schreber’s life

References to other related works are at the end of the Editor’s Introduction

Editor’s Introduction (p132 of pfl onwards)

The present edition is a corrected reprint of the ‘Standard Edition’ translation, with some editorial changes.

Schreber’s ‘Memoirs’ were published in 1903; but, though they had been widely discussed in psychiatric circles, they seem not to have attracted Freud’s attention till the summer of 1910. He is known to have talked of them, and of the whole question of paranoia, during his Sicilian tour with Ferenczi in September of that year. On his return to Vienna he began writing his paper, and letters dated 16 December to both Abraham and Ferenczi announced its completion. It seems not to have been published till the summer of 1911. The ‘Postscript’ was read before the Third International Psycho-Analytical Congress (held at Weimar) on 22 September 1911, and was published at the beginning of the next year.

Freud had attacked the problem of paranoia at a very early stage of his researches into psychopathology. In his communications to Fliess (Freud, 1950a), which include detailed considerations of the subject dating from 1895 and 1896, and in his second paper on the neuropsychoses of defence (1896b) he aimed at establishing two main theoretical points: that paranoia is a neurosis of defence and that its chief mechanism is projection. An interesting letter to Fliess of 9 December 1899 (195oa, Letter 125), adds a suggestion that paranoia involves a return to an early auto-erotism.

Between the date of this letter and the publication of the Schreber case history more than ten years elapsed with scarcely a mention of paranoia in Freud’s published writings. However, in 1908 he put forward what was to become his main generalization on the subject – namely, the connection between paranoia and repressed passive homosexuality – in letters to Jung (27 January 1908, included in Freud, 1974a) and Ferenczi (11 February 19o8), both of whom confirmed that hypothesis. More than three more years elapsed before the Schreber memoirs offered him opportunity of publishing his theory for the first time and of supporting it by a detailed account of his analysis of the unconscious processes at work in paranoia.

There are a number of references to that disease in Freud’s later writings. The more important of these were his paper on ‘A case of Paranoia Running counter to the Psychoanalytic Theory of the Disease (1915f), and section B of ‘Some Neurotic Mechanisms in -Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality, (1922b). In addition, ‘A Seventeenth century Demonological Neurosis’ (1923d) includes some discussion of the Schreber case, though the neurosis which is the subject of the paper is nowhere described by Freud as paranoia. In none of these later writings is there any essential modification of the views on paranoia expressed in the present work.

The importance of the Schreber analysis, however, is by no means restricted to the light it throws on the problems of paranoia. Section III, in particular (p. 196ff. below), was, together with the simultaneously published short paper on the two principles of mental functioning (1911b), in many ways a forerunner of the metapsychological papers on which Freud embarked three or four years later. A number of subjects are touched upon which, were to be discussed afterwards at greater length. Thus, the remarks on narcissism (p197f.) were preliminary to the paper devoted to that subject (1914c), the account of the mechanism of repression (p 205f.) was to be taken up again in the course of a few years (1915d), and the discussion of the instincts (p. 213 f ) was feeling its way towards the more elaborate one in ‘Instincts and their vicissitudes’ (1915c). The paragraph on projection (p204f.) on the other hand was nor, in spite of its promise, to find any sequel. Each of the two topics discussed in the later pat of the paper, however – the various causes of the onset of neurosis (including the concept of ‘frustration’) and the part played by successive ‘points of fixation) – was to be dealt with before long in a separate paper (1912c and 1913i), Finally, in the Postscript we find Freud’s first brief excursion into the field of mythology and his first mention of totems, which were beginning to occupy his thoughts and which were to give the title to one of his principal works (1912-13).

As Freud tells us (p. 181, n.1), his case history makes use of only a single fact (Schreber’s age at the time he fell ill) that was not contained in the ‘Memoirs’. We now possess thanks to a paper written by Dr Franz Baumeyer (1956), a considerable amount of additional information. Dr Baumeyer was for some years (1946-9) in charge of a hospital near Dresden where he found a quantity of the original case records of Schreber’s successive illnesses. He has summarized these records and quoted many of them in full. In addition to this he has collected large number of facts concerning Schreber’s family history and antecedents. [Footnote 1: W. G. Niederland (1959a, 1959b, 1960 and 1963) has published further information about Schreber’s father of an interesting kind.] Where any of this material seems to be directly relevant to Freud’s paper, it will be found mentioned in the footnote. Here it is only necessary to report the sequence to the history narrated in the ‘Memoirs’. After his discharge at the end of 1902, Schreber seems to have carried on an outwardly normal existence for some years. Then, in November 19o7, his wife had a stroke (though she lived until 1912). This seems to have precipitated a fresh onset of his illness, and he was readmitted – this time to an asylum in the Dösen district Leipzig – a fortnight later. [Footnote 2 p134: It appears from a letter to Princess Marie Bonaparte, written by Freud on 13 September 1926, and published in part in the third volume of Ernest Jones’s biography (1957, 477), that he had been informed of this relapse and its occasion (among other things) through a Dr Stegmann, though he made no mention of it in his Paper. See footnotes on pp. 181 and 186 below.] He remained there in an extremely disordered and largely inaccessible state until his death, after gradual physical deterioration, in the spring of 1911 – only a short time before the publication of Freud’s paper. The following chronological table, based on data derived partly from the ‘Memoirs’ and partly from Baumeyer’s material, may make the details in Freud’s discussion easier to disentangle.

1842 25 July. Daniel Paul Schreber born at Leipzig.

1861 November. Father died, aged 53.

1877 Elder brother (3 years his senior) died, aged 38.

1878 Married

First Illness

1884 Autumn. Stood as candidate for the Reichstag. [Footnote 1, p135: At this time Schrebcr was already filling an important judicial office, as judge presiding over the Landgericht (a court of inferior jurisdiction) at Chemnitz. After recovering from his first illness he occupied a similar position in the Landgericht in Leipzig. Just before his second illness he was appointed Presiding Judge over a Division of the Saxon Appeal Court in Dresden.]

1884 October.  For some weeks in Sonnenstein Asylum.

8 Decembe. Leipzig Psychiatric Clinic.

1885 1 June. Discharged.

1886 1 January. Took up appointment in Leipzig Landgericht.

Second Illness

1893 June. Informed of approaching appointment to Appeal Court.

1 October. Took up appointment as Presiding Judge.

21 November. Re-admitted to Leipzig Clinic

1894 14 June. Transferred to Lindenhof Asylum.

29 June. Transferred to Sonnenstein Asylum.

1900 – 1902. Wrote ‘Memoirs’ and took legal action for his discharge.

1902 14 July. Court judgement of discharge.

20 December. Dischargcd

19o3 ‘Memoirs’ published

Third Illness

1907 May. Mother dies aged 92.

14 November. Wife had stroke. Fell ill immediately afterwards.

27 November. Admitted to Asylum at Leipzig-Düsen

1911 14 April. Died.

1912 May. Wife died, aged 54.

A note on the three mental hospitals referred to in various ways in the text may also be of help.

(1) Psychiatric Clinic (In-patient department) of the University of Leipzig Director: Professor Flechsig.

(2) Schloss Sonnenstein. Saxon State Asylum at Pirna on the Elbe, 10 miles above Dresden. Director: Dr G. Weber.

(3) Lindenhof Private Asylum. Near Coswig, 11 miles N.W. of Dresden. Director: Dr Pierson.

An English translation of the ‘Denkwürdigkeiten by Dr Ida Macalpine and Dr Richard A. Hunter was published in 1955 (London: William Dawson). [Footnote 1, p136: r. Cf, also a critical discussion of Freud’s interpretation by the same authors (1953).] For various reasons, some of which will be obvious to anyone comparing their version with ours, it has not been possible to make use of it for the many quotations from Schreber’s book which occur in the case history. There are clearly special difficulties in translating the productions of schizophrenics, in which words, as Freud himself pointed out in his paper on ‘The Unconscious’ (1915e), play such a dominating part. Here the translator is faced by the same problems that meet him so often in dreams, slips of the tongue and jokes. In all these cases the method adopted in the present edition is the pedestrian one of where necessary giving the original German words in footnotes and endeavouring by means of explanatory comments to allow an English reader some opportunity of forming an opinion of his own on the material. At the same time, it would be misleading to disregard outward forms entirely and to present through a purely literal translation an uncouth picture of Schreber’s style. One of the remarkable features of the original is the contrast it perpetually offers between the involved, elaborate and dignified sentences of official academic nineteenth-century German and the ‘outré’ extravagances of the psychotic events which they describe.

Throughout this paper figures in brackets with no preceding ‘p’. are page references to the original German edition of Schreber’s memoirs – ‘Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken’, Leipzig, Oswald Mutze 19o3. Figures in brackets, ‘with’ a ‘p’ are always in the Pelican Freud Library, references to pages in the present volume.

Quotations from Schreber, as well as page references to the Denkwürdigkeiten and its Appendices, have been compared with the original and, where necessary, corrected. These corrections have, however, only been indicated where, they involved a change in meaning.

4)  Other References

Memoirs of my nervous illness: 1903: D. P. Schreber or here

Case history of Schreber: 16th December 1910: Sigmund Freud or here

– Hallucinations about the ‘Little Men’ : August 1949 (Zürich) : Maurits Katan or here

-Schreber’s Prepsychotic Phase : 1st July 1951 [1953] : Maurits Katan or here

-Further Remarks about Schreber’s Hallucinations : July 1951 [1952] (Amsterdam) : Maurits Katan or here

Translator’s introduction & analysis of D. P. Schreber’s case: : 1955: Ida MacAlpine & Richard Hunter or available here

On a question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis : 1955-1956 : two most important parts of Seminar III : Jacques Lacan  or here : This is dated December 1955 to January 1956  at the end of the text.

Seminar III: The Psychoses: 1955-1956: from 16th November 1955: Jacques Lacan or here

–   Editor’s Introduction (Psycho-Analytic Notes on an autobiographical account of a case of paranoia (Dementia Paranoides) [Case of Schreber] : 1958 : James Strachey or here

Presentation of the ‘Memoirs’ of President Schreber in French translation: November 1966: Jacques Lacan or available here

Introduction to Schreber’s ‘Memoirs of my nervous illness’: 1973: Samuel Weber or here

– Introduction to the New Schreber Texts : 1988 : Hans Israëls : Available here

Introduction to D. P. Schreber’s ‘Memoirs : 2000 : Rosemary Dinnage or here

Introduction to ‘A bi-lingual edition of Schreber’s Memoirs of my mental illness/ Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken’: August 2005: Richard G. Klein or available here

 

Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, Earl’s Court, London

 

Related texts

Texts related to the case of President Schreber here

For further engagements with this case, see Case of President Schreber : 1910 in References to Sigmund Freud within LacanianWorks or here

Schreber’s case revisited with echoes noted in the family of Fred West by Julia Evans : 11th January 2015 : Available here

Ordinary Psychosis: elaborations of James I/VI, Hamlet & Oedipus by Julia Evans on 28th  November 2015 or here

Schreber’s case revisited with echoes noted in the family of Fred West by Julia Evans on 11th  January 2015 : Available here

An Examination of ‘Learned Helplessness’ by Julia Evans on 11th  December 2014 or here

What Cannot Be Said: Desire, Fantasy, Real : 11th September 2013 : Dominique Holvoet or here

Psychosis, or Radical Belief in the Symptom : 17th June 2012 : Éric Laurent : given in Tel Aviv, Israel or here

The case, from unease to the lie : 2002 : Éric Laurent or here

Three Enigmas: Meaning, Signification, Jouissance : February 1993 : Éric Laurent or here

Lacan and the Discourse of the Other : 1968 : Anthony Wilden or here

Some forms of emotional disturbance and their relationship to schizophrenia (‘as if’ case) : 1942 : Helene Deutsch : See  here

Psychoses of passion : 1921 : Gaétan Gatian de Clérambault  or here

Misinterpretative delusional states : 1909 : Paul Sérieux & Joseph Capgras or here

The prognosis of dementia praecox: the group of schizophrenias : 1908 : Eugene Bleuler or here

Dementia Praecox : 1896 : Emil Kraepelin or here

Letter of 24th January 1895 and Draft H, Paranoia (The Emma Eckstein episode) : 24th January 1895 : Sigmund Freud or here

Other texts

Texts related to the case of President Schreber here

By Daniel Paul Schreber here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

Availability of Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of my nervous illness & many of the commentaries  by Julia Evans on 2nd September 2015 or here

Of the clinic here

Ordinary Psychosis here

Use of power here

Some Lacanian History : here

Topology : here