What is that which gleams through me and smites my heart without wounding it? I am both a-shudder and a-glow. St. Augustine It is wonder and awe that I feel in view of the individual's power to create self-therapeutic devices. This book is the saga of these young in dividuals, who change and recreate the shape and dimensions of their bodies in a quest to achieve and finally demonstrate autonomy. Ironically, it seems that they can go on living thanks to their exces sive behavior, their hunger, and their deviances. They exhibit an ex treme polarity, an "either-or": the thrill of excesses, the joy of giving in to pleasure, versus masochistic enjoyment and pride curbing, procras tinating and mastering these impulses almost to the absolute by simple force of effort and sublimatory strength. Somewhat alien to the medi cal profession, these maladies are self-induced, and only make sense if their symbolism is recognized and understood using a hermeneutic ap proach. It aptly reflects their interaction with other objects, both human and nonhuman. The anorectic girl, to whom the book is specifically devoted, rejects any human bond in a masochistic way and also denies that her own body is a worthwhile object that deserves to be cared for. On the other hand, her body and its expressions are virtually under the most potent overcontrol. Thus, the narrative of the anorectics is strongly related to their incessant suffering, which is again of their own creation.
Contents: Introduction.- Fasting - Asceticism.- Eating and Eating Behavior.- The Concept of Body Image and Its Changes.- Biological Aspects.- Bulimia - A Subgroup of Anorexia or a Separate Disease?- Obesity.- Common Elements in Dyscontrol Syndromes.- Psychodynamic Viewpoints of the Dyscontrol Syndromes and of Anorexia Nervosa in Particular.- Some Impressive Issues of Bizarre Character in the Life of Anorectics.- Treatment.- Epilogue.- Subject Index.