This article examines schizophrenic experience from a phenomenological point of view to determine how it differs from normal experience. The autobiographical investigations of Wouter Kusters serve as a guide. In his famous study on schizophrenia, Alphonse De Waelhens gives a psychoanalytical account of psychotic experiences. For De Waelhens psychosis stems from a lack of desire, a perspective which implies that psychoanalytical therapy should aim to fill this lack. There are several problems arising from this perspective, which however are easily confronted when one conceptualises desire in a spinozian sense. Anti-Oedipus, a book by Deleuze and Guattari, is grounded in this spinozistic model. The schizophrenic lacks nothing, they argue, it may even be the case that he or she is torn by an overabundance of desire. These findings demand radical therapeutic change, according to Deleuze and Guattari.
Many psychoanalysts argue that clinicians have a lot to learn from literature. They share the deep-rooted conviction that artists are sensitive to clinical phenomena and that they make visible what is often overlooked by clinicians. Freud, for example, relies on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Half a century later, the assumption of Freud’s literary clinic has been taken up by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze in his study Présentation de Sacher-Masoch. Deleuze reads Sade’s and Sacher-Masoch’s literary novels from the same perspective as Freud. Sade and Sacher-Masoch, Deleuze argues, are first of all great symptomatologists. Their novels explore the sadistic and masochistic universe thoroughly. In his essay, the author discusses Deleuze’s reading of Sade and Sacher-Masoch. Deleuze argues that his study, whilst sharing Freud’s basic assumptions, is a critique of his conception of sadism and masochism.