By Kieran McNally
Schizophrenia used to be twentieth century psychiatry's arch inspiration of insanity. but for many of that century it was once either complex and contentious. This historical past 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 figuring out twentieth century madness.
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Extra resources for A Critical History of Schizophrenia
The personality loses its unity; at times different psychic complexes seem to represent the personality’ (Bleuler, 1911/1952, p. 9). And, as we have seen already, this point of definition was later reinforced with comments on the personality such as: Naturally such patients must speak of themselves in one of their two versions or they may speak in the third person of the other two. This sort of reference is here not merely an unusual or awkward figure of speech … but is the expression of a real alteration in personality.
193). These comments are particularly noteworthy because they are absent from earlier editions of the same book, Psychological Medicine, published in 1944 and 1946. Both of these had read, ‘The main features are progressive introversion, splitting of personality, and paranoid symptoms’ (Curran and Guttman, 1944, p. 36; 1946, p. 47). In citing a need to move away from the ‘Jekyll and Hyde personalities of the popular press’, as opposed to those of the psychiatric profession, Curran and Partridge can be seen as early contributors to a myth.
This revelation shocked the public, who struggled to comprehend the mental processes of the two men. The crime became an international sensation. A large number of psychiatrists testified at the trial. One publisher even offered Freud half a million dollars to examine the accused (Geis and Bienen, 1988). Various psychological explanations were proposed, including the diagnosis of prodromal schizophrenia/dementia praecox, and many psychiatric theories and observations received widespread coverage and analysis.
A Critical History of Schizophrenia by Kieran McNally