Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors

By Susan Sontag
Read by Tavia Gilbert

4.63 Hours 03/01/2018 unabridged
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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.

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Summary

Summary

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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Brimming with humane and original ideas about a disease and the modern condition, this classic essay and its sequel…are compassionate exhortations and a liberating event.” Nation
“Taken together, the two essays are an exemplary demonstration of the power of the intellect in the face of the lethal metaphors of fear.” New Republic

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag (1933–2004) was born in Manhattan and studied at the universities of Chicago, Harvard, and Oxford. She is the author of four novels, a collection of stories, several plays, and six books of essays, among them Against Interpretation and On Photography. Her books are translated into thirty-two languages. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work, and in 2003 she received the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Social Science
Runtime: 4.63
Audience: Adult
Language: English