This chapter focuses on the case of Ilse, a schizophrenic studied by the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Ludwig Binswanger. Binswanger’s collection Existence: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology includes the case study, “Insanity as Life-Historical Phenomenon and as Mental Disease: The Case of Ilse.” Ilse’s symptomatic deed, which Binswanger is hard-pressed to identify, tout court, as the onset of her schizophrenia, is Binswanger’s repeated point of reference or demo that implies and folds out the frame of his approach to mental illness. The case study begins by striking up that balancing act between William Shakespeare and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that science fiction writer Philip K. Dick would maintain—following the lead of the culture of psychoanalysis—beginning with his novel Time out of Joint. Ilse’s attempt at offering sacrifice—valued within Binswanger’s Dasein-analysis—that she at the same time is not free to offer is valorized outside the clinical setting of her diagnosis.
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