This book presents a novel, interesting, and altogether persuasive interpretation of the most important psychotic case of modern times.
In the formative years of psychiatry Freud, Bleuler, and Jaspers all studied Daniel Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness as a model of psychotic thought. Sass provides a nuanced interpretation of Schreber's Memoirs in the context of Wittgenstein's analysis of philosophical solipsism. A dauntless critic of the illusions of philosophy, Wittgenstein likened the speculative excesses of traditional metaphysics to mental illness. Sass observes that many of the "intellectual diseases" that Wittgenstein discerned - diseases involving detachment from social existence and practical concerns, and exaggerated processes of abstraction and self-consciousness - have striking affinities with the symptoms of schizophrenia. Like the philosophical solipsist, the schizophrenic may define his or her own consciousness as the center of the universe - and may experience his or her delusional world as a product of that same consciousness.