Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors

Front Cover
Macmillan, Aug 25, 2001 - Health & Fitness - 183 pages
7 Reviews

In 1978 Susan Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor, a classic work described by Newsweek as "one of the most liberating books of its time." A cancer patient herself when she was writing the book, Sontag shows how the metaphors and myths surrounding certain illnesses, especially cancer, add greatly to the suffering of patients and often inhibit them from seeking proper treatment. By demystifying the fantasies surrounding cancer, Sontag shows cancer for what it is--just a disease. Cancer, she argues, is not a curse, not a punishment, certainly not an embarrassment and, it is highly curable, if good treatment is followed.

Almost a decade later, with the outbreak of a new, stigmatized disease replete with mystifications and punitive metaphors, Sontag wrote a sequel to Illness as Metaphor, extending the argument of the earlier book to the AIDS pandemic.

These two essays now published together, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors, have been translated into many languages and continue to have an enormous influence on the thinking of medical professionals and, above all, on the lives of many thousands of patients and caregivers.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
5
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gregorybrown - LibraryThing

Outstanding work of criticism and history, one loomed over by the coming AIDS epidemic that started a few years after publication. When the causes and mechanism of disease are mysterious or unknown ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - whitewavedarling - LibraryThing

Sontag's long essay on the metaphors associated with disease is both necessary and thought-provoking. With a focus on TB and cancer, Sontag presents the developmental history of metaphoric ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

Susan Sontag is the author of four other novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, and The Volcano Lover; and In America, which won the 2000 National Book Award for fiction; I, etcetera a collection of stories; several plays, and five works of nonfiction, among them On Photography and Against Interpretation. She lives in New York City. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work.

Bibliographic information