Misinterpretative delusional states : 1909 : Paul Sérieux & Joseph Capgras

by Julia Evans on January 1, 1909

Original publication

p 5-43  of ‘Les Folies Raisonnantes: le Délire d’Interprétation’, Paris: Baillière

Translation into English of p5-43

Misinterpretative delusional states : 1909 : Paul Sérieux & Joseph Capgras

Available here

p168-181 of The Clinical Roots of the Schizophrenia Concept : 28th November 1986 : John Cutting & Michael Shepherd (Editors & Authors) :

Information here

Quoted from ‘The Clinical Roots of the Schizophrenia Concept:

Paul Sérieux (1864-1947)

Paul Sérieux was born in Paris. His father came from Alsace-Lorraine and his mother was English. He was attracted to psychiatry from the beginning of his medical career and was a pupil of Gaétan Magnan, one of the most influential of late 19th century French psychiatrists. He travelled widely in Germany ,Italy and Switzerland and was a keen advocate of Kraepelin’s ideas on dementia praecox at a time when French psychiatrists were antipathetic to them. Like other French psychiatrists whose articles are translated in this volume, he was interested in forensic psychiatry. He also wrote on the historical aspects of his subject, arguing, against established opinion, that the French Revolution had disrupted the rights of the insane and made their plight worse.

The monograph which he wrote with Joseph Capgras is a masterpiece of clinical observation combined with theoretical interpretation. The bulk of this study is translated here. More than many of the other so-called ‘atypical psychoses’ it deserves to be seriously considered in many cases of what are loosely termed paranoid illnesses.

Joseph Capgras (1873-1950)

Joseph Capgras was born in Central France and studied medicine in Toulouse. His cousin, who was a doctor, steered him towards psychiatry. He worked in several mental hospitals around Paris, and was then appointed to the staff of St Anne’s Hospital in Paris, one of the most important psychiatric hospitals in France, where he remained until his retirement.

In addition to the present article, he is celebrated for giving a description of the syndrome which now bears his name – the Capgras Syndrome or the illusion of doubles. He was much honoured in his life-time and was an outstanding clinician and teacher.

Quoted by Jacques Lacan :

Seminar III : 23rd November 1955 : page 17-18 of Russell Grigg’s translation :

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

Further texts

By Paul Sérieux & Joseph Capgras here

By John Cutting here

By Michael Shepherd here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

Case studies here

Of the clinic here

Lacanian History here