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Lawrence, M. (2001). Figures Of Lightness. Anorexia, Bulimia And Psychoanalysis: Gabriella Ripa di Meana. Translated by Sara McVane. London: Jessica Kingsley. 1999 Pp. 269.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(3):625-627.

(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(3):625-627

Figures Of Lightness. Anorexia, Bulimia And Psychoanalysis: Gabriella Ripa di Meana. Translated by Sara McVane. London: Jessica Kingsley. 1999 Pp. 269.

Review by:
Marilyn Lawrence

This is a translation from the Italian of a book on eating disorders by an author described as a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, who is a founding member and President of the Italian Association of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (Associazione Psicanalitica Lacaniana Italiana). She seeks to provide a conceptualisation of eating disorders within a Lacanian framework, seeing eating disorders as a symptom of and possibly a commentary on the postmodern void or sense of alienation. At the same time, she attempts to provide an existential account of anorexia and its possible treatment. This is an ambitious task. Simply to find a language in which to convey the social-historical as well as the psychoanalytic is an enterprise in itself. But language is di Meana's métier and her attempt is both creditable and interesting.

The introduction of some fifteen pages introduces the reader to Lacan's four discourses, that of the Master, the University, the Hysteric and the Analyst. One guesses at this point that we are to be introduced later to a new discourse, that of the Anorexic. The ‘logical’ algebraic equations that Lacan sets up in the Discourses recur throughout the text in different forms.

Chapter 2 introduces the idea of anorexia and bulimia as ‘postmodern pathologies’.

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