ABSTRACT

The mainstream American psychoanalysis has completely detached itself from overtly psychotic patients, during the four decades that this chapter covers, a small group of analysts continued to work against making themselves obsolete in the field of schizophrenia. These analysts respected the uniqueness of the schizophrenic person and the complexity of the intra-psychic world and feel ethically committed to the radical otherness provided by patients such as the mythical Schreber. By studying the varying interpretations of Schreber in American psychoanalytic literature, it is possible to trace American theories of madness and approaches to its treatment during the four decades of the neosomatic revolution, beginning in postwar America. During this period, Schreber went from being a conflicted individual, to a pre-Oedipal child, a person with a defect in his ego, a cultural hero, a victim of his traumatizing father and, finally, to a person who suffered a brain disease.