Freud, Lacan
Hysteria, paranoia, psychosis
in Literature and psychoanalysis
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This chapter begins with three of Sigmund Freud's 'case-histories': Dora, diagnosed as hysterical; Schreber, a paranoid schizophrenic, and the Wolf Man (a case of infantile neurosis), in order to approach Jacques Lacan on paranoia and psychosis. Commenting on Dora, who was neurotic, and non-psychotic, Lacan says that psychosis requires 'disturbances of language', which makes it exceed paranoia. Freud makes Schreber an instance of paranoia, using for evidence, virtually, only the Memoirs, which he reads as a text. He examines his hypochondria, and feelings of being persecuted by certain people including Flechsig, the 'soul-murderer', and his delusional ideas, including believing that he had direct contact with God. The difference between Freud and Michel Foucault becomes key to reading modern literature. It seems that madness becomes not a danger for the writer but a condition that attends writing, as though writing had become madness, a marker of alienation.


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