Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (Paperback)

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Memoirs of My Nervous Illness By Daniel Paul Schreber, Rosemary Dinnage (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Daniel Paul Schreber, Rosemary Dinnage (Introduction by)
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Schreber--an educated, cultured, fin-de-siecle German--gives us a window into psychosis like we've never had before or since. Part medical document, part confessional narrative, and part apocalyptic religious text, Schreber's bizarre Memoirs reveal an astute, skeptical mind confronted with a terrifying delusional landscape built of everything from Wagnerian opera and Lutheran theology to nineteenth-century medicine and cosmology. Thought-provoking, and at times downright disturbing, this is a book that will stay with you for a long time.

— From Rory's Picks


In 1884, the distinguished German jurist Daniel Paul Schreber suffered the first of a series of mental collapses that would afflict him for the rest of his life. In his madness, the world was revealed to him as an enormous architecture of nerves, dominated by a predatory God. It became clear to Schreber that his personal crisis was implicated in what he called a "crisis in God's realm," one that had transformed the rest of humanity into a race of fantasms. There was only one remedy; as his doctor noted: Schreber "considered himself chosen to redeem the world, and to restore to it the lost state of Blessedness. This, however, he could only do by first being transformed from a man into a woman...."

About the Author

Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911) was the son of the preeminent nineteenth-century German medical authority on child-rearing. Before his mental collapse, he served as the chief justice of the supreme court of the state of Saxony.

Rosemary Dinnage is the author of The Ruffian on the Stair: Reflections on Death, One to One Experiences of Psychotherapy, and Annie Besant. She is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and the London Review of Books. She lives in London.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780940322202
ISBN-10: 094032220X
Publisher: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: January 31st, 2000
Pages: 488
Language: English