Laws of Transgression: The Return of Judge Schreber
Published: March 2022© 2022
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 232 Pages
Illustrations: 3 b&w illustrations
Dimensions: 6.25 x 9.25
232 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25 x 0.75 in, 3 b&w illustrations
Laws of Transgression offers multiple perspectives on the story of Daniel Paul Schreber (1842–1911), a chamber president of the German Supreme Court who was institutionalized after claiming God had communicated with him, desiring to make him into a woman. Schreber was not only a successful judge, but was also to become the author of one of the most commented upon texts in psychiatric literature, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. Published in 1903, this remarkable work documented Schreber’s visions, desires, jurisprudence, and theology. Far from ending the judge’s legal investments, it manifested an intensification of engagement with the law in the attempt to prove that becoming a woman did not deprive the judge of legal competence.
Schreber’s experience of bodily change and his account of interior life has been the subject of more than a century of psychoanalytic and medical scrutiny. With the contemporary trans turn, interest in the judge’s desire to become a woman has intensified. In Laws of Transgression, Peter Goodrich, Katrin Trüstedt, and contributing authors set out to unfold Schreber’s complex relation to the law. The collection revisits and rediscovers the Memoirs, not only in its juridical and political implications, but as a transgressional text that has challenged law and heteronormativity.
Peter Goodrich and Katrin Truestedt
Chapter One: Schreber’s cases: Escaping from rational law
Chapter Two: Primal Scene
Chapter Three: “Because God Wishes It”: The Place of God in Schreber’s Minor Jurisprudence
Chapter Four: Schreber’s Double Process: Legal and Literary transformations in the Memoirs of my Nervous Illness
Chapter Five: Address without Signature: Schreber’s Memoirs and the Manning-Lamo Chat Logs
Chapter Six: Embodied Critique and Posthuman(ist) Legal Futures/Things Worth More than Being Thought/Judge Schreber/Madness/Think!
Chapter Seven: Schreber’s Grande Bellezza
Chapter Eight: On Gifted Schizophrenia
Chapter Nine: The Delusional Metaphor: On Schreber’s Anathema
"Laws of Transgression is a well-curated and thoughtful collection of essays that offer an interesting diversity of views on the Schreber case from an important new perspective – namely, that of the judge himself as a juridical subject. This volume makes a number of significant contributions to the writing on the Schreber case."Simon Stern, Professor of Law and English, University of Toronto
"Laws of Transgression is based on the brave, and I am now convinced correct, reading of Judge Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs as a legal document. An enormous amount of scholarship is rendered possible by this reading, by taking Schreber seriously, not as a mystic or a crazy person but as a legal scholar in his own right. Perhaps more radically still, the authors consider Schreber’s own body as a corpus iuris, a legal body which itself tells us volumes about the possibilities for a law that is radically unmoored from conventional models of nature, God, and time."James R. Martel, Professor of Political Science, San Francisco State University