May 27 2009
Rachel Aviv: Schizophrenic Memoirs
A schizophrenic's room at St. Elizabeth Hospital
While there are countless autobiographies by writers who have lost their sanity, memoirs of schizophrenia are a rarer breed. In moments of florid psychosis, schizophrenics can become so self-conscious about how they use words that they lose the ability to communicate. Everyday phrases seem unfamiliar, threatening, or absurd. As the psychoanalyst Hilde Bruch wrote, “The poet is a master of language, the schizophrenic is a slave to it.” Below is a list of six memoirs by writers who reveal the limits of language by chronicling their descent into madness.
… full text available to registered users