Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Writing “The Case of Ellen West”: Clinical Knowledge and Historical Representation

  • Naamah Akavia (a1)
Argument

“The Case of Ellen West” was published by the Swiss psychiatrist, Ludwig Binswanger, in 1944–1945. The case-history depicts the illness and suicide of a young woman who was his patient twenty years earlier. It came to be considered one of the paradigmatic studies of the newly established discipline of Daseinsanalyse, an attempt to synthesize existential philosophy and therapeutic practice. This paper analyzes the case-study, employing newly uncovered archival material to expose important details regarding the treatment of Ellen West (a pseudonym) and the posthumous writing of her case-history. The richness of the archival sources and the various historiographical characteristics they exhibit raise methodological questions about the potentialities and limitations of historical representation. The new data will thus serve as a platform from which to explore and discuss more generally the problems involved in historical reconstruction – of both subjective experience and clinical knowledge – and the questions of authorship and intertextuality in the genre of the case-history.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Akavia, Naamah. 2003. “Binswanger's Theory of Therapy: The Philosophical and Historical Context of ‘The Case of Ellen West’.” In Ellen West – Eine Patientin Ludwig Binswangers zwischen Kreativität und destruktivem Leiden, edited by Albrecht, Hirschmüller, 111128. Heidelberg and Kröning: Asanger.
Akavia, Naamah and Albrecht Hirschmüller. 2007. Ellen West: Gedichte; Prosatexte, Tagebücher, Krankengeschichte. Heidelberg and Kröning: Asanger.
Binding, Karl and Alfred, Hoche. 1920. Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens: Ihr Mass und ihre Form. Leipzig: Meiner.
Binswanger, Ludwig. [1923] 1994. “Über Phänomenologie.” In Ludwig Binswanger – Ausgewählte Werke, Band 3, edited by Max, Herzog, 3570. Heidelberg: Asanger.
Binswanger, Ludwig. [1935] 1994. “Über Psychotherapie (Möglichkeit und Tatsächlichkeit psychotherapeutischer Wirkung).” In Ludwig Binswanger – Ausgewählte Werke, Band 3, edited by Max, Herzog, 205230. Heidelberg: Asanger.
Binswanger, Ludwig. [1942] 1993. Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen Daseins. In Ludwig Binswanger – Ausgewählte Werke, Band 2, edited by Max, Herzog and Hans-Jürg, Braun. Heidelberg: Asanger.
Binswanger, Ludwig. [1944–1945] 1958. “The Case of Ellen West. An Anthropological-Clinical Study” (Binswanger CEW). In Existence: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology, edited by Rollo, May et al. , 237364. New York: Basic Books.
Binswanger, Ludwig. [1944–1945] 1994. “Der Fall Ellen West. Eine anthropologisch-klinische Studie” (Binswanger FEW). In Ludwig Binswanger – Ausgewählte Werke, Band 4, edited by Alice, Holzhey-Kunz, 73209. Heidelberg: Asanger.
Binswanger, Ludwig. [1946] 1994. “Über die daseinsanalytische Forschungsrichtung in der Psychiatrie.” In Ludwig Binswanger – Ausgewählte Werke, Band 3, edited by Max, Herzog, 231257. Heidelberg: Asanger.
Bordo, Susan. 1993. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Boss, Medard. [1957] 1963. Psychoanalysis and Daseinsanalysis. Translated by Lefebre, Ludwig B.. New York: Basic Books.
Burstow, Bonnie. 1980–1981. “A Critique of Binswanger's Existential Analysis.” Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry 16:245252.
Carr, David. 1986. “Narrative and the Real World.” History and Theory 25:117131.
Chernin, Kim. 1981. The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness. New York: Harper Perennial.
Freud, Sigmund and Ludwig, Binswanger. 1992. Briefwechsel, 1908–1938. Edited by Gerhard, Fichtner. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer.
Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1960. Wahrheit und Methode: Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik. Tübingen: Mohr.
Guignon, Charles. 1998. “Narrative Explanation in Psychotherapy.” American Behavioral Scientist 48:558577.
Hawkins, Anne Hunsaker. 1993. “Oliver Sacks's Awakenings: Reshaping Clinical Discourse.” Configurations 1:229245.
Hirschmüller, Albrecht et al. 2003. Ellen West. Eine Patientin Ludwig Binswangers zwischen Kreativität und destruktivem Leiden. Edited by Albrecht, Hirschmüller. Heidelberg and Kröning: Asanger.
Hoche, Alfred Erich. 1934. Jahresringe; Innenansicht eines Menschenlebens. München: J. F. Lehmann.
Hunter, Kathryn Montgomery. 1991. Doctors' Stories: The Narrative Structure of Medical Knowledge. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Jackson, C., Davidson, G., Russell, J., and Vandereycken, W.. 1990. “Ellen West Revisited: The Theme of Death in Eating Disorders.” International Journal of Eating Disorders 9:529536.
Journet, Debra. 1990. “Forms of Discourse and the Sciences of the Mind: Luria, Sacks, and the Role of Narrative in Neurological Case Histories.” Written Communication 7:171199.
Lanzoni, Susan. 2004. “Existential Encounter in the Asylum: Ludwig Binswanger's 1935 Case of Hysteria.” History of Psychiatry 15:285304.
Lanzoni, Susan. 2005. “The Enigma of Subjectivity: Ludwig Binswanger's Existential Anthropology of Mania.” History of the Human Sciences 18:2341.
Lester, David. 1971. “Ellen West's Suicide as a Case of Psychic Homicide.” Psychoanalytic Review 58:251263.
Linse, Ulrich. 1983. Barfüssige Propheten. Erlöser der zwanziger Jahre. Berlin: Siedler Verlag.
Maltsberger, John T. and Buie, D. H.. 1974. “Countertransference Hate in the Treatment of Suicidal Patients.” Archives of General Psychiatry 30:625633.
May, Rollo. 1958. “Contributions of Existential Psychotherapy.” In Existence; a New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology, edited by Rollo, May et al. , 3791. New York: Basic Books.
Mink, Louis. 1970. “History and Fiction as Modes of Comprehension.” New Literary History 11:541559.
Passie, Torsten. 1995. Phänomenologisch-anthropologische Psychiatrie und Psychologie: eine Studie über den “Wengener Kreis”: Binswanger – Minkowski – von Gebsattel – Straus. Hürtgenwald: Pressler.
Ricoeur, Paul. 1983–1985. Temps et Récit. Paris: Seuil.
Rogers, Carl R. 1989. The Carl Rogers Reader. Edited by Howard, Kirschenbaum and Valerie, Land Henderson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Sadoff, Dianne F. 1998. Sciences of the Flesh: Representing Body and Subject in Psychoanalysis. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Schafer, Roy. 1980. “Narration in the Psychoanalytic Dialogue.” Critical Inquiry 7:2953.
Schorske, Carl E. [1961] 1980. Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. New York: Vintage.
Seinfeld, Jeffrey. 1991. The Empty Core: An Object Relations Approach to Psychotherapy of the Schizoid Personality. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson.
Shorter, Edward. 1997. A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Spence, Donald P. 1982. Narrative Truth and Historical Truth: Meaning and Interpretation in Psychoanalysis. New York: W.W. Norton.
Studer, Liliane. 1992. “Das Leben lastet wie eine Wolke auf mir.” In WahnsinnsFrauen, edited by Sibylle, Duda and Pusch, Luise F., 226254. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
UAT – Binswanger Archive, Universitätsarchiv, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
UAT 702: Nachlass “Ellen West.”
UAT 441/3774: Krankengeschichte Ellen West.
White, Hayden. 1992. “Historical Emplotment and the Problem of Truth.” In Probing the Limits of Representation, edited by Saul, Friedländer, 3753. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Science in Context
  • ISSN: 0269-8897
  • EISSN: 1474-0664
  • URL: /core/journals/science-in-context
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 71 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 735 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd May 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.