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Daniel Paul Schreber (1842–1911)

Daniel Paul Schreber was a widely respected German judge who suffered from psychosis and who remains known to posterity due to the account he composed of his experiences in his Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, first published in Leipzig in 1903. Schreber awoke one morning fixated on, and disturbed by, the idea that he would like to experience sexual intercourse as a woman. As his illness progressed, he became convinced that God was trying to turn him into a woman and that the rays of the Sun were invading his psyche and body. The most famous analysis of Schreber’s case is Sigmund Freud’s, which emphasized Schreber’s relation to God as a stand-in for his father, although different interpretations were produced by Elias Canetti in his Crowds and Power (1960), and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in Anti-Oedipus (1972). The first French translation of Schreber’s text was inspired by Lacan attention to it in his 1955-56 seminar (Seminar III, The Psychoses) and it appeared in the Cahiers pour l’Analyse volumes five through eight. The publication of the remainder of the translation was abandoned for volumes nine and ten, though the complete text was published by Éditions du Seuil in 1985 in a translation by Paul Duquenne and Nicole Sels, the former of whom had been responsible for all of the excerpts in the Cahiers.

In the Cahiers pour l’Analyse


Select bibliography

  • Mémoires d’un nevropathe, trans. Paul Duquenne et Nicole Sels. Paris: Seuil, 1985.
  • Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, trans. Ida Macalpine and Richard A. Hunter. New York: New York Review Books, 2000.