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In the following thesis, I examine how Dorothea Buck-Zerchin’s memoir Auf der Spur des Morgensterns: Psychose als Selbstfindung (On the Trail of the Morning Star: Psychosis as Self-Discovery) provides a look into the stereotypes of, and stigma against mental illness during the time of National Socialist Germany (1933-1947). I also compare how those stereotypes and stigma compare to later understandings of mental illnesses in twentieth and twenty-first century Germany. Additionally, I will be looking at the role that language plays in shaping the knowledge that people with mental illnesses, scientists, medical professionals, and laypersons have, as regards mental diseases, and schizophrenia in particular. Finally, I will describe how Buck-Zerchin understood and spoke about her illness and the rhetorical styles she uses to describe mental illnesses in her memoir.


German Language and Literature