An inferential, illumining and quite simply argued extension of a singular ""classic case"" of paranoia/schizophrenia which...

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SOUL MURDER: Persecution in the Family

An inferential, illumining and quite simply argued extension of a singular ""classic case"" of paranoia/schizophrenia which occurred before the turn of the century when Daniel Paul Schreber, a German judge, at the age of 42 and then 50, went mad, writing his Memoirs from an institution. Schreber's father had been a rigidly authoritarian pedagogue, sort of a cross between Der Fuhrer and Bernarr Macfadden, with a whole system of moral and physical fitness (no art, no sex, many cold showers) which he had unlovingly imposed on his two sons (the elder committed suicide). Freud and Bleuler were well aware of this case, but did not relate it to Schreber's father; the purpose here is to show that madness can be a reaction to maddening families, that the ""symptoms of mental illness can be regarded as transforms of his father's treatment of him,"" and that Schreber's later miracles and hallucinations were variants of earlier imposed methods and pressures. The balance of the study, while quite fairly relating Freud to the thinking of his era, pursues questions of homosexuality, castration and masturbation in particular to the author's own theory of paranoidogenicity or the induction of paranoia in others. He is a Laingian (and other newer thinkers appear -- Lacan and Szasz) and he makes a predictable plea for not so much the cure of the physician or the patient but society as a whole. On the way there are interesting germinal speculations -- the relation of the spiritual shaman to the schizophrenic (so spectacularly promoted in Peter Barnes' The Ruling Class) or perhaps our attribution of illness not so much to psychosomatic factors as to linguasomatic -- the failure of language communications. . . . Stimulating and enlarging.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1972