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Lawrence, M. (2004). Figures of Lightness. Anorexia, Bulimia and Psychoanalysis by Gabriella Ripa di Meana (Jessica Kingsley, London, 1999). 269 pp. £18.95.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 18(4):452-455.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 18(4):452-455

Figures of Lightness. Anorexia, Bulimia and Psychoanalysis by Gabriella Ripa di Meana (Jessica Kingsley, London, 1999). 269 pp. £18.95.

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

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a founding member and President of the Associazione Psicanalitica Lacaniana Italiana.

She seeks to provide a conceptualization of eating disorders within a Lacanian framework, seeing eating disorders as a symptom of and possibly a commentary upon the post-modern 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. Language is di Meana's métier and her attempt is both creditable and interesting.

The introduction of some 15 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 which Lacan sets up in the Discourses recur throughout the text in different forms.

Chapter 2 introduces the idea of anorexia and bulimia as ‘post modern pathologies’. There follow four chapters attempting a conceptualization of anorexia and bulimia in terms of the mirror, the body image, monstrosity and perfection, and the notion of ‘lightness’. Then three essays

[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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