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Memoirs of My Nervous Illness

Memoirs of My Nervous Illness

By Daniel Paul Schreber

In 1884, the distinguished German jurist Daniel Paul Schreber suffered the first of a series of mental collapses that would afflict him for the rest of his life. In his madness, the world was revealed to him as an enormous architecture of nerves, dominated by a predatory God. It became clear to Schreber that his personal crisis was implicated in what he called a "crisis in God's realm," one that had transformed the rest of humanity into a race of fantasms. There was only one remedy; as his doctor noted: Schreber "considered himself chosen to redeem the world, and to restore to it the lost state of Blessedness. This, however, he could only do by first being transformed from a man into a woman...."

Composed while Schreber was confined to a psychiatric hospital and published at the outset of the twentieth century, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness has fascinated and haunted its many readers, including Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Elias Canetti, and Gilles Deleuze, and has established itself as a key social and cultural history. As Rosemary Dinnage says in her introduction to this new edition, Schreber wrote "an account of what it is to be forsaken by everything familiar and real, and of the delusionary world that gets invented in their place." His book is perhaps the most revealing dispatch ever received from the far side of madness.

Paperback
496 Pages
8 x 5 x 1.25 Inches
NYRB Classics
ISBN 9780940322202

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