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From Francis Bacon to “the Man with the Starfish”

Two cases are used to illustrate a failure in the tying of the psychosomatic knot, by making appear the game and inscribing it in an attempt to cure. The first concerns Francis Bacon, the contemporary painter. His paintings, in the main, depict bodies that are monstrous and deformed. Several interviews with him are quoted, throwing light on his dialogue with the canvas, what he demanded of it and how this related to his experience of his own body. The second shows Monsieur M., in analysis, questionning his relationship with others and the world in general, linking this in turn to the chronic somatic illness from which he suffers. He was forced to construct an original formalisation, which evokes his nickname here: “The Starfish Man”. Finally certain theoretical hypotheses are proposed which might serve as models for the relationship involved, its possible foundation and necessity.

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Migraine: Between Psychosomatic and Hystery?

In his discussion of Möbius’ book Die Migräne, Freud cautions against the view of migraine as a vasomotoric illness. He speaks enthusiastically about Möbius’ detailed treatment of the unresolved issue of causality and the subjective factors of this illness, of individual differences in symptomatology level and of the differential diagnosis of migraine and other braindisorders. Freud advances two major theses about migraine: that migraine like conditions of the stomach, back and heart exist and the possibility of a nasal etiology. Migraine is still largely unexplained. From the analytic point of view migraine can be seen as a conversion symptom, and even as a psychosomatic phenomenon.

Manifestations of Thanatos, when the Demand for Love elicits a Negative Response

Based on clinical experience, this article examines some manifestations of the death-drive in relation to Lacan’s hypothesis that unwanted children are often prone to commit suicide. When the subject’s demand for love is repeatedly met with a negative response, the result is often a breaking-up of the death-drive. Different manifestations of the death-drive can be a response to the old death-wishes of the mother.