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Memoirs of My Nervous Illness
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Composed while the distinguished German judge Daniel Schreber was confined to a psychiatric hospital and published at the outset of the twentieth century, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness has fascinated and haunted its many readers, including Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Elias Canetti, and Dilles Deleuze, and has established itself as a key text for students of psychology and modern social and cultural history. As Rosemary Dinnage says in her introduction to this new edition, Schreber wrote 'an account of what it is to be forsaken by everything familiar and real, and of the delusionary world that gets invented in their place'. His book is perhaps the most revealing dispatch ever received from the far side of madness.
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Schreber was born in Germany in 1842. He became a lawyer and then a judge. His first breakdown came when he was forty-two and the Memoirs were written while he was in Sonnenstein Public Asylum, as an account of what he believed were his unique experiences and as a plea for release. He was subsequently released and spent two relatively happy years until his wife had a stroke. From then until his death in 1911 he remained in the asylum.

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