This issue of Sitegeist is dedicated, with a mixture of sadness, gratitude and admiration, to the memory of our friend and colleague Kirsty Hall, who died in May of 2015. Kirsty once mentioned that the word ‘bereavement’ derives from the reevers, medieval raiders who terrorized her native Northumberland. Her death has robbed us of a hugely energetic, creative and generous presence amongst us. Sitegeist itself would not exist without Kirsty’s initiative, for it was she along with Philip Derbyshire who inaugurated it in 2008 as the house journal of The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. That first issue is downloadable from The Site’s website. She piloted Sitegeist through to her retirement in 2014, and continued to take a close interest even after that. Discussing in The Site how to remember her best, we decided on making this 12th issue of Sitegeist one dedicated to her memory, and to seek contributions from friends and colleagues.
Then came the question of what theme to choose? An issue on the topic of anxiety was originally mooted to co-incide with the publication in 2014 of the English translation of Lacan’s Seminar X on anxiety. Kirsty had planned to write a paper for the issue. She had a long-standing research interest in fantasy and anxiety, and her book The Stuff of Dreams is subtitled ‘Fantasy, Anxiety and Psychoanalysis’ (Hall, 2007). What proved to be her last illness prevented her from completing a paper. So it seemed right that our deferred plans be reshaped into the edition published here. The contributors to this issue are all colleagues of Kirsty’s, and their immediate response to the invitation to submit a paper speaks in itself of the esteem in which she was held.
Lacan, so often criticized for being obscure, sets out on the very first page of Seminar X and in the clearest terms, two of his most important theses for the seminar: that anxiety has a structure (a vital notion to anyone who has experienced being lost in and overwhelmed by anxiety) and that the structure is identical to that of the fantasy. Thus, a complex interplay of anxiety, fantasy and desire is evoked by Lacan throughout the Seminar, showing us the hair’s breadth that separates the framed object of our worst anxieties, and the object of our heart’s desire.