Fifty years of progress in psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychology since the publication of the Schreber case provide a basis for re-examining it. In addition, we have new material on Schreber and his family unearthed by Baumeyer and Niederland, and the provocative contentions of Macalpine and Hunter that Schreber suffered from doubt and uncertainty in sex identification rather than unconscioushomosexuality as Freud concluded.
II. Observations on Paranoia and Their Relationship to the Schreber Case. Arthur C. Carr. Pp. 195-200.
Studies questioning Freud's formulation that paranoid delusions are a defense against unconscioushomosexuality do not challenge the theory as seriously as first appears. Both hostility and homosexuality appear defended against in Schreber's case rather than, as some have contended, that the latter defends against the former. Back of the delusions in paranoia can often be found an early history of denial by family members of the validity of a perception found by the patient to be accurate. In Schreber's case this factor appears in the form of sadistic treatment by the father while he verbalized a quite different morality. Besides the other defenses that have been described in paranoia—projection, denial, and introjection—rationalization should be considered.
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III. Further Data and Memorabilia Pertaining to the Schreber Case. William G. Niederland. Pp. 201-207.
Resemblance can be found between the sadistic manipulations of Schreber's father, as described in his book Pangymnasticon, and those of God in one of the delusions of Schreber's psychosis. Another of Schreber's 'miracles'—that of possessing a plurality of hands and severed heads coming out of the body—appears to derive its 'kernel of truth' from drawings in the book which show gymnastic figures simultaneously in different positions. The 'little men' of the psychosis resemble the small drawings of men from the same source. Additional findings from other sources are described. A sister's letter reveals that the mother was a full participant in the father's manipulations of their children. One brother committed suicide a few weeks after becoming a judge; another tried to commit suicide after attaining an even higher position and succumbed to life-long mental illness. Schreber's first illness followed disastrous defeat in one election. The father died on the 10th or 11th of November, in his early fifties; Schreber was hospitalized on the 9th or 10th of November, in his early fifties, at which time he thought himself 'dead' and tried to commit suicide.
IV. Schreber, Parricide, and Paranoid-Masochism. Jule Nydes. Pp. 208-212.
Schreber's Memoirs serve to support the thesis that the masochist renounces power for the sake of love while the paranoid sacrifices love for the sake of power. The paranoid fights, even if against projected, imaginary enemies; the masochist submits and expects extra love in consequence. Schreber's earlier position was to fight God (his father) after infantile omnipotence was aroused in his appointment as Senatspräsident; his later position at the time of the Memoirs is to have accepted castration in exchange for God's love and protection.
V. The Schreber Case Reconsidered in the Light of Psychosocial Concepts. Robert S. White. Pp. 213-221.
Schreber's life and illness are considered from the viewpoint of Erikson's eight stages of development, which emphasizes the importance of the stages after adolescence as well as before. It is conjectured that Schreber's intense identification with his compulsive father enabled him to manage the instinctual conflicts of childhood and adolescence in spite of an underlying, voracious wish to be his mother's only infant; but he was then vulnerable to the adult problems of intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation, and integrity versus disgust and despair. It was when Schreber reached the first of these adult conflicts, in the form of his engagement to marry, that his severe difficulties became manifest. He appeared unable to overcome fear of the ego loss entailed in intimacy, and six years later could not cope with the generativitycrisis created by his defeat in politics and the still-birth of his first two children.
VI. Summary. Philip M. Kitay. Pp. 222-223.
After summarizing the contributions of this symposium, Kitay emphasized the progress in understanding the Schreber case since the 1911 formulations of Freud. This can be seen in the more comprehensive and more detailed dynamics,
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greater flexibility of theoretical formulations, attention to the phenomenological world of Schreber's childhood, consideration of developmental factors causing weakness in reality testing and in autonomy and trust, and emphasis on defenses other than denial and projection in paranoia.
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(1965). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XLIV, 1963. Psychoanal. Q., 34:615-617