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Kitay, P.M. (1963). Symposium on 'Reinterpretations of the Schreber Case: Freud's Theory of Paranoia'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:191-194.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:191-194

Symposium on 'Reinterpretations of the Schreber Case: Freud's Theory of Paranoia'

Philip M. Kitay


Half a century has elapsed since the death of Schreber and the publication of Freud's (1911) paper on his case. Now, with the benefit of fifty years of progress in psychiatry, psycho-analysis, and psychology, we turn to a re-examination of the case.

To provide sufficient background for the Symposium papers, an introduction to the Symposium and an account of Schreber's delusional system are presented.

Schreber has been referred to as psychiatry's most famous and frequently cited patient. He wrote Memoirs of My Nervous Illness in the years 1900–1902 and published it in 1903. Macalpine and Hunter, who translated the Memoirs from the original German manuscript, see it as the best text on psychiatry written for psychiatrists by a patient. In 1910 the Memoirs came to Freud's attention, and in 1911 he published his celebrated paper 'Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides)'—an analysis based only on the actual text of the Memoirs and one additional fact, the patient's age at the onset of his illness. Freud specifically stated that he formulated his theory of paranoia before he became acquainted with the Memoirs, so that his analysis of the case was used as an affirmation, rather than as the source, of his theory. Freud wrote: 'It remains for the future to decide whether there is more delusion in my theory than I should like to admit, or whether there is more truth in Schreber's delusion than other people are as yet prepared to believe' (1911p.

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