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Hook, D. (2018). Hysteria Today edited by Anouchka Grose Karnac (2016) and Routledge (2018). 198 pp., $25.95. DIVISION/Rev., 18:12-13.

(2018). DIVISION/Review, 18:12-13

Hysteria Today edited by Anouchka Grose Karnac (2016) and Routledge (2018). 198 pp., $25.95

Review by:
Derek Hook

Hysteria Today

As Patricia Gherovici (2017) has recently noted, the histories of psychoanalysis and hysteria are intimately connected. Both demonstrate that there is no natural object for the drive; both are testimony to the fact that there is no pre-given “normal” model of sexuality. The imperative to reiterate these two fundamentally Freudian principles is particularly urgent today, in an era of trans-gender/sexuality, in a time when psychoanalysis is more than ever being called upon to demonstrate its relevance. Hence, the urgency of attending to what hysteria might be, and what diverse forms hysteria might take, in today's world.

Anouchka Grose's impressive collection of essays, published by Karnac under the imprint of London's Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, provides an instructive means of comparing varying definitions and descriptions of hysteria in contemporary clinical work.

Grose's opening chapter, which provides a wonderfully succinct overview of historical conceptualizations of hysteria, notes the opprobrium that has been targeted on the diagnostic notion of hysteria by feminism, before asserting that

in the Lacanian clinic, a diagnosis of hysteria is anything but an affront. Dissatisfaction is the motor for desire, and desire drives existence. Hysterics specialise at using dissatisfaction to keep desire spinning, acting against atrophy and ossification. Far from trying to get them to stop fussing and get back in line, one might encourage them to take their questioning further, to use it in their lives and work, and even to attempt to enjoy it.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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