Schreber's “Bellowing Miracle”: A New Content Analysis of Daniel Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness


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Abstract

Daniel Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness has, in the 100 years since its publication, generated a substantial hermeneutic literature in psychiatry. It is 30 years since the first major content analysis was performed and published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. This study, using a simple frequency count approach to the Memoirs, has revealed that the term “bellowing miracle” (das Brüllwunder) is the most frequently mentioned of all of Schreber's celebrated neologisms. The prevalence of the “bellowing miracle” in the text of the Memoirs, psychiatric charts, and court reports warrants closer examination and attempts at explanation. It is clear that the manifest symptoms of the bellowing miracle had a significant influence on Schreber's treatment and struggle to secure his release from the asylum. It is suggested that adult tic disorder may explain the symptoms of the bellowing miracle.

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