By Kieran McNally
Schizophrenia was once twentieth century psychiatry's arch suggestion of insanity. but for many of that century it used to be either troublesome and contentious. This historical past explores schizophrenia's ancient instability through issues reminiscent of signs, definition, type 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
1078) was problematic because dissociation was seen in other disorders. By 1955, another significant change can be found, this time in Curran and Partridge’s introduction to Psychological Medicine. The British psychiatrists noted that ‘Schizophrenia does not give rise to the Jekyll and Hyde personalities of the popular press; these are usually psychopaths in whom a surprising combination of good and bad qualities or behaviour is shown’ (Curran and Partridge, 1955, p. 193). In doing so, the authors had attempted to clarify the definition of schizophrenia.
Bleuler also now demoted the idea of the ‘tearing up’ (Zerreißung) of the psychic functions, first expressed in 1908. And he stated that he called dementia praecox schizophrenia because the, ‘splitting’ of the different psychic functions is one of its most important characteristics (Bleuler, 1911/1952, p. 8). From this point on his emphasis was not on tearing and splitting, but on splitting alone. Furthermore, within the definition, he noted, ‘In every case we are confronted with a more or less clear-cut splitting of the psychic functions.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A criticism of Victorian morality, possibly inspired by ergot poisoning, it drew on theological and literary influences concerning humanity’s primitive capacity for good and evil. It also drew on conclusions found in Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man (1871/1981), as well as 21 22 A Critical History of Schizophrenia the work of Herbert Spencer. Similarly, it drew on communication with the French psychiatrist Pierre Janet (Hacking, 1995). Stevenson speculated that ‘man will ultimately be known for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous, and independent denizens’ (1886/1994, p.