By Kieran McNally
Schizophrenia was once twentieth century psychiatry's arch thought of insanity. but for many of that century it used to be either problematical and contentious. This background explores schizophrenia's old instability through subject matters equivalent to indicators, definition, category and anti-psychiatry. In doing so, it opens up new methods of realizing twentieth century madness.
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Additional info for A Critical History of Schizophrenia
The Split Personality 37 Fiction Those diagnosed with schizophrenia had become entangled in the fictional Jekyll and Hyde. Yet, in a final twist, fiction could equally find itself entangled with what Jelliffe (1927) would call the nosological fiction that is schizophrenia. For example, Moss and Hunt, in their 1932 work Foundations of Abnormal Psychology diagnosed Shakespeare’s Ophelia as suffering from hebephrenic dementia praecox (Moss and Hunt, 1932; see also Wilson, 1951). 22). Claude and Levy-Valensi would attempt to find schizophrenia in Balzac’s Comédie Humaine (Lewis, 1936).
Now, as modern texts sometimes emphasise, there is a clear difference between the splitting of the psychic functions and the splitting of the personality. Investigating the chapters on accessory symptoms, however, the idea of more than one personality existing within an individual is clearly marked by its author. Bleuler noted, for example, ‘In a few cases the “other” personality is marked by the use of different speech and voice …’ (1911/1950, p. 147). Similarly, he stated, ‘Thus we have here two different personalities operating side by side, each one may communicate with both’ (ibid).
This was because many catatonics did ‘not go on to complete deterioration’ (ibid). Bleuler saw his work as an extension of Kraepelin’s work on dementia praecox rather than as a replacement of it. Nevertheless, there existed clear differences in the thinking of the two men (for details see later and Hoenig (1995)). Bleuler, in particular, showed a willingness to apply Freudian concepts in mapping the disorder. Hence, in his 1911 preface, he noted the importance ‘of the application of Freud’s ideas to dementia praecox’ (1911/1950, p.
A Critical History of Schizophrenia by Kieran McNally