Introduction to Schreber’s ‘Memoirs of my nervous illness’: 1973: Samuel Weber

by Julia Evans on January 1, 1973

Introduction to the 1988 edition by Samuel Weber, Translated by Benjamin Gregg

The book:

Memoirs of my nervous illness : Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911) :

Published in German 1903 :

Translated and Edited by Ida MacAlpine & Richard A. Hunter : originally published 1955

( The introduction to the 1988 edition was originally published in German as the introduction to Daniel Paul Schreber: Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken: 1973: Published by Verlag Ullstein, Berlin)

See Memoirs of my nervous illness: 1903: D. P. Schreber or here  for availability

From the back cover of 1988 edition

First issued in German in 1903, the book waited until 1955 for its publication in English, translated by Drs MacAlpine and Hunter. This edition reprints their work, adding an introduction by Samuel Weber that takes note of the position of the Schreber case in the Lacanian “return” to Freud”. Schreber’s autobiography continues to be widely discussed within contemporary psychoanalytic circles and in other contexts, including continental psychoanalysis, anti-psychiatry, and the renewed concern with the social and domestic history of the nineteenth century.

Samuel M. Weber is (in 1988) Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.)

Available here


P27  Daniel Gottlieb Moritz Schreber: Medical Indoor Gymnastics; or, A system of hygenic exercises for home use to be practiced anywhere without apparatus or assistance by young and old of either sex, for the preservation of health and general activity: before 1861:  p28 other books by the elder Schreber.

P28: The Biographical Lexicon of Outstanding Physicians of All Times and Peoples: edited by Dr August Hirsch

P28  Dr Schreber Senior: A doctrine of happiness for the physical life of Man.

P29 Daniel Godefredus Schreberus (Daniel Paul’s Great-grandfather): Report on the caterpillars which in 1751 and in the current year caused great devastation to the harvest in Thuringia and adjoining areas of Saxony: around 1764 & his ‘Instructions o stabilizing quicksand and making arid fields into meadows: published in Leipzig: 1764

Selected from the full reference list:

i)  Sigmund Freud: Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical account of a case of paranoia (Dementia Paranoides): in Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud: vol 24: editor James Strachey: translated Strachey in collaboration with Anna Freud and assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson: London, Hogarth press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis: 1953-1974: vol 12: p17-18.   available here or  Case history of Schreber: 1910: Sigmund Freud

ii)  Sigmund Freud: Moses and Monotheism:SE XXIII

iii) Sigmund Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams: Standard Edition: vol 4: p99  Availability : The Interpretation of Dreams: 1st November 1899 (published as 1900): Sigmund Freud  or here

iv)  Jacques Derrida: Freud and the Scene of Writing: in Derrida: Writing and Difference: translated Alan Bass: Chicago, University of Chicago Press: 1978

v)  Note 30) See Georges Bataille: La part maudite: Paris, Editions de Minuit: 1967: On the concept of “restricted economy”, see also Jacques Derrida: From restricted to general economy: in Derrida: Writing and difference: p251-277. Here an interpretation remains to be made which would reveal the social mediation of Schreber’s delusional system not only in the sense of shared notions, but as a structuring factor. One would have to investigate especially the heightened problematic of identity of a (double) God who appears on the one hand as a transcendent Creator, and on the other as a limited subject, the phantasmal presentation of the bourgeois individual.

vi) Sigmund Freud: Fetishism: SE XXI

vii) Jacques Lacan: On a question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis: in Lacan: Écrits, a selection : translated by Alan Sheridan: New York, Norton: 1977 : On a question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis : 1955-1956 : two most important parts of Seminar III : Jacques Lacan or here

See also Samuel Weber: Rückkehr zu Freud: Jacques Lacan’s Ent-Stellung der Psychanalyse: Berlin, Ullstein: 1978. An English translation: Return to Freud: translated by Michael Levine: Cambridge University Press.

A more complete list of relevant texts:

Availability of Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of my nervous illness & many of the commentaries Or here

Availability of commentaries & related texts:

Memoirs of my nervous illness: 1903: D. P. Schreber or here

Case history of Schreber: 16th December 1910: Sigmund Freud or here

Hallucinations about the ‘Little Men’ : August 1949 (Zürich) : Maurits Katan or here

Schreber’s Prepsychotic Phase : 1st July 1951 [1953] : Maurits Katan or here

Further Remarks about Schreber’s Hallucinations : July 1951 [1952] (Amsterdam) : Maurits Katan or here

Translator’s introduction & analysis of D. P. Schreber’s case: : 1955: Ida MacAlpine & Richard Hunter or available here

On a question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis : 1955-1956 : two most important parts of Seminar III : Jacques Lacan or here : This is dated December 1955 to January 1956  at the end of the text, published in 1958.

Seminar III: The Psychoses: 1955-1956: from 16th November 1955: Jacques Lacan or here

–   Editor’s Introduction (Psycho-Analytic Notes on an autobiographical account of a case of paranoia (Dementia Paranoides) [Case of Schreber] : 1958 : James Strachey or here

Presentation of the ‘Memoirs’ of President Schreber in French translation: November 1966: Jacques Lacan or available here

Introduction to Schreber’s ‘Memoirs of my nervous illness’: 1973: Samuel Weber or here

– Introduction to the New Schreber Texts : 1988 : Hans Israëls : Available here

Introduction to D. P. Schreber’s ‘Memoirs : 2000 : Rosemary Dinnage or here

Introduction to ‘A bi-lingual edition of Schreber’s Memoirs of my mental illness/ Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken’: August 2005: Richard G. Klein or available here


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, Earl’s Court, London


Related texts

Texts related to the case of President Schreber here

For further engagements with this case, see ‘Case of President Schreber : 1910’ in References to Sigmund Freud within LacanianWorks or here

Schreber’s case revisited with echoes noted in the family of Fred West by Julia Evans : 11th January 2015 : Available here

Ordinary Psychosis: elaborations of James I/VI, Hamlet & Oedipus by Julia Evans on 28th  November 2015 or here

Schreber’s case revisited with echoes noted in the family of Fred Westby Julia Evans on 11th  January 2015 : Available here

An Examination of ‘Learned Helplessness by Julia Evans on 11th  December 2014 or here

What Cannot Be Said: Desire, Fantasy, Real : 11th September 2013 : Dominique Holvoet or here

Psychosis, or Radical Belief in the Symptom : 17th June 2012 : Éric Laurent : given in Tel Aviv, Israel or here

The case, from unease to the lie : 2002 : Éric Laurent or here

Three Enigmas: Meaning, Signification, Jouissance : February 1993 : Éric Laurent or here

Lacan and the Discourse of the Other : 1968 : Anthony Wilden or here

Some forms of emotional disturbance and their relationship to schizophrenia (‘as if’ case) : 1942 : Helene Deutsch : See  here

Psychoses of passion : 1921 : Gaétan Gatian de Clérambault  or here

Misinterpretative delusional states : 1909 : Paul Sérieux & Joseph Capgras or here

The prognosis of dementia praecox: the group of schizophrenias : 1908 : Eugene Bleuler or here

Dementia Praecox : 1896 : Emil Kraepelin or here

Letter of 24th January 1895 and Draft H, Paranoia (The Emma Eckstein episode) : 24th January 1895 : Sigmund Freud or here

Other texts

Texts related to the case of President Schreber here

By Samuel Weber here

By Daniel Paul Schreber here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

Availability of Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of my nervous illness & many of the commentaries  by Julia Evans on 2nd September 2015 or here:

Of the clinic here

Ordinary Psychosis here

Use of power here

Some Lacanian History : here

Topology : here

Lacanian Transmission : here