Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl: The True Story of

Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl: The True Story of "Renee"


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This is the astonishing memoir of a young woman called only “Renee,” whose descent into schizophrenia began at the age of five. Written with a diamond-sharp precision that lends it an eerie power, it tells the story of Renee’s long sojourn in what she calls “The Land of Enlightenment" or “The Country of Tibet” and of her gradual and painstaking return to “wonderful reality.”
Renee moves in and out of hospitals, sometimes able to eat only tea and spinach, or apples and spinach, because “‘The System forbade anything else.” She regresses to a state resembling infancy, and she experiences intense despair, although she always describes her experiences with a pitiless and remarkable calm, as though she has observed herself from a great distance. And all the while she is sustained by the attention and understanding of her analyst, Marguerite Sechehaye, who has contributed an illuminating Afterword to her story.
This harrowing and unforgettable work is a classic in the literature of mental illness.
With a foreword by Frank Conroy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452011335
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/1994
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,234,033
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Marguerite Sechehaye (1887–1964) was a Swiss psychotherapist and a pioneer in the psychoanalytic treatment of schizophrenics. She is the author of Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl: The True Story of "Renee," which chronicles one of her cases and introduced a new model in how mental illness is studied.  

Frank Conroy was born in 1936 and graduated from Haverford College in 1958. He was director of the prestigious Writers' Workshop. Conroy wrote an autobiography Stop-Time, published in 1967, and his collection of stories, Midair, was published in 1985. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, Harper’s Magazine, and Partisan Review.

Table of Contents

Autobiography of a Schizophrenic GirlTranslator's Preface

Part I: The Story

1. Appearance of the First Feelings of Unreality

2. The Struggle Against Unreality Begins

3. Riquette

4. I Go into Psychoanalysis and Find a Mama

5. I Enter the System

6. The System Gives Me Orders and Things Begin to Come to Life

7. I Am Hospitalized; the System Persists and I Risk Losing Mama

8. I Sink into Unreality

9. After a Beneficial Trip and Acute Crisis Confounds Me

10. My First Double: The Little Monkey

11. The Miracle of the Apples

12. I Learn to Know My Body

13. Mama's Other Patients; All My Self-Destructive Energies Are Unleashed

14. Mama Is Busy with Baby Ezekiel

15. I Enter Mama's Body and Am Reborn in Ezekiel

16. I Become Firmly Established in Wonderful Reality

Part II: The Interpretation

17. Stages in Ego Disintegration / Development of the Pathological Perception of Reality / Defense Mechanisms of the Psychotic Ego / Oral Sources of the Feeling of Reality / New Trauma amd Massive Regression of the Ego to the Fetal Phase

18. Stages in Ego Reconstruction / Symbolic Realization of the Fetal Phase as the Beginning of Ego Reconstruction / Creation of a New "Imago" / Imitative Process in the Service of Ego Formation / Construction of the Body Ego / Affective Bases in the Structuration of the Real

19. Conclusions / Value of Symbolic Realization in Formative Mechanicms of the Ego / A Dynamic Conception of the Process of Disintegration in Schizophrenia


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