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Nydes, J. (1963). IV. Schreber, Parricide, and Paranoid-Masochism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:208-212.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:208-212

IV. Schreber, Parricide, and Paranoid-Masochism

Jule Nydes

In evaluating Schreber's Memoirs(Macalpine and Hunter, 1955), it must be borne in mind that they were written seven years after the onset of his major illness in 1893 from notes which were begun no earlier than 1896. When he began making notes he had already reconciled himself to his emasculation, and his severe psychotic phase was in a state of partial remission. The almost benign 'freedom from malice' and other unparanoid-like attitudes which characterize his memoirs are therefore more reflective of his condition when they were written than of the earlier condition which he describes. For example, in his 'Open Letter to Professor Flechsig' dated March 1903 he writes, 'I do not harbour any personal grievance against any person' (Schreber's italics) (p. 33). Flechsig, who played such an important role in his early delusions of persecution, is referred to as one 'whose integrity and moral worth I have not the least right to doubt' (Schreber's italics) (p. 34). It is, of course, well known that anyone suffering from paranoia has a whole arsenal of grievances at his disposal, and insists on his right to doubt the moral worth and integrity of anyone, including God himself; and Schreber does, in fact, recall having done so.

Even though his recollection of earlier experiences may be quite accurate, it is fair to assume that the selection of events recalled, as well as his attitude towards them, was dictated by the character and demands of his later adaptation. The deletion of Chapter 3 concerning his family notwithstanding, the importance of Schreber's mother has been for the most part overlooked.

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