February 17, 1975

The Schreber Case: Psychoanalytic Profile of a Paranoid Personality

Author Affiliations

Boston University Cambridge, Mass


by William G. Niederland, 172 pp, 10 illus, $8.95, New York, Quadrangle/New York Times Book, 1974.

JAMA. 1975;231(7):768. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240190068027

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This is a history of the most famous paranoid delusional system in the psychiatric literature—that of Daniel Paul Schreber (1842 to 1911). Schreber, a distinguished jurist, became mentally ill after he was appointed Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Appeals in Dresden. His chief delusion rested in the idea that God would transform him (Schreber) into a woman, name him "Miss" Schreber, take the latter for His (God's) wife, and out of his physical intercourse with God, a better and healthier race of men would emerge after He had destroyed the world in a huge deluge.

In 1903, after nine years of hospitalization in a mental hospital, Schreber published Denkwürdigkteit eines Nervenkranken (Memoirs of a Mental Patient) which was bought up by the Schreber family and taken out of circulation. Only a few copies remained and one of them came to the attention of Freud, who in 1911 published