Illness as Metaphor & AIDS and Its Metaphors

Illness as Metaphor AIDS and Its Metaphors In 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 show

  • Title: Illness as Metaphor & AIDS and Its Metaphors
  • Author: Susan Sontag
  • ISBN: 9780312420130
  • Page: 153
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 treatmenIn 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.

    • Free Read Illness as Metaphor & AIDS and Its Metaphors - by Susan Sontag
      153 Susan Sontag


    About “Susan Sontag

    • Susan Sontag

      Jewish American literary critic, theorist, novelist, and filmmaker.



    922 thoughts on “Illness as Metaphor & AIDS and Its Metaphors

    • 4.5 5Of course, one cannot think without metaphors But that does not mean there aren t some metaphors we might well abstain from or try to retire As, of course, all thinking is interpretation But that does not mean it isn t sometimes correct to be against interpretation.Somewhere and at some past in the history of the world, someone woke up to the news of the AIDS epidemic and was thrilled It is no longer 1989, two years before my birth and therefor permanently irretrievable in the direct sense [...]



    • A part of me thinks you shouldn t be allowed to write a book that s just your random, personal opinion about something, even though a bigger part of me wishes that that were my job.I can see how this book was probably really important when it came out, and I ll bet it s done a lot of great things for people s thinking about illness But although I did really love a few bits of it, on the whole I didn t like this much, even though I was expecting to I was never totally sure whether this was becaus [...]


    • This has obvious personal significance to me As someone who has been through and beaten a severe illness, and seen friends go through other ailments, the main points of the book are incisive Life threatening diseases are bad enough to deal with, of course I won t go on about that But one thing I ve certainly noticed, and which Sontag expounds on at length, is how people impose different stereotypes upon you based on what disease you have There s also the awful business of blaming the victim depe [...]








    • Personally I found the first essay, Illness as Metaphor, to be thought provoking than the second one In part, while a dodgy argumentative strategy, I found the comparisons and contrasts between tuberculosis and cancer to be very interesting, particularly as I had not read that much about TB in the 19th century.Sontag s main argument is that our capacity for metaphorical thinking, while mostly a wonderful thing, is generally counter productive when it comes to thinking about disease She refers n [...]



    • I ve came to this one right after reading Didion s Year of Magical Thinking, right after reading paper after paper after doctor s diary on the handling of death in the hospital situation.Cancer has been eating through my family for as long as I can remember I think I must have been to a funeral every two years since I was 5 The year between being the one for the bad news, of who is gonna go next You get used to death it is in your thoughts and you make peace with it early on I ve never been afra [...]


    • This is what brilliance looks like And so many of her points pertain elsewhere in health and society How we talk about something, even something as real as cancer or TB or AIDS, shapes our experience of it in ways that often are neither true nor helpful.


    • We are not being invaded The body is not a battlefield The ill are neither unavoidable casualties nor the enemy We medicine, society are not authorized to fight back by any means whatever This is a fascinating text, or collection of texts, rather Sontag breaks down the use of metaphor in describing and understanding illness, and while I am convinced by a lot of what she writes, it didn t occur to me until I read those words I ve quoted above how profoundly pessimistic a piece of writing it is.


    • Sontag does the world a wonderful favor and reminds it that illness can be just a malfunction of the body When faced with her own cancer struggle, she discovers via the reactions of others, that much spiritual or psychological weakness is projected onto her by others The mind body connection, she argues, is not a thing to ignore, but it is important to be able to extricate a person s illness from their character, to examine the cultural metaphors the illness signifies to the populace Her follow [...]


    • I do not read a lot of non fiction so I don t really have much to compare this with However, in the two essays Sontag presents some really interesting ideas and revealed some approaches to things that I had not really considered before Illness as MetaphorI liked this essay a lot Unfortunately I felt like I did not know enough about tuberculosis and its history to fully appreciate those discussions On the other hand, I found the parts elaborating on cancer and its metaphors to be very interesting [...]


    • I ve always had a certain disdain for Sontag My understanding is she was quite closeted as a queer through most of her life, and was the subject of much criticism from the AIDS movements with which she also had many personal connections AIDS and Its Metaphors has a very poor understanding of how thoroughly homophobia, racism, and poverty saturated every aspect of AIDS as a political and psychic construction But it is beautifully written, and although very limited her core theses are helpful and [...]


    • I have reviewed both works in this volume Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors separately, so I will not discuss them here again in detail Overall, the two treatises offered a compelling account of and challenge to how we think about disease, as well as a successful plea for abandoning the metaphors that are commonly employed in thinking about them The first work was focused and convincing than the second the two of them together are, however, mutually enhancing.Links to reviews Illne [...]


    • Language in service of ideology, the danger of metaphor, the struggle to expose the material truth behind the veils of capitalist society All the vintage Sontag topics are here, and all of them are fantastic A short book with a punch that should give pause not only to anyone discussing the nature of disease, but also the reading public in general how easy it is to fall prey to our own stories about the world.The comments on AIDS are especially trenchant, and, unlike many books of critical theory [...]


    • These essays had a couple of interesting points, but it didn t feel like they progressed in any logical order Sontag s ideas are presented in what felt to me like an unstructured manner, and this lessened some of the impact of the ideas Perhaps if I had read either of these essays at the time when they were written, back when there was mysticism and prejudice surrounding cancer and AIDS not that there is none now, there was just in the 80s these essays would have been impactful As it was, I w [...]


    • If you re at all interested in diseases or the power of language and metaphor, this is a fascinating read It s just a shame that AIDS and Its Metaphors is largely Not about AIDS, but about influenza, polio, cholera, and other diseases Then again, Sontag wrote this piece when the US epidemic was still at its peak, so she didn t have the benefit of hindsight on this one.


    • Quiz s desactualizada en contexto pues el VIH ahora es curable y la fase apocal ptica ya no la tenemos , pero sus reflexiones sobre la met fora belicista del c ncer, la marginalizaci n y estigma del enfermo, as como el lenguaje m dico en asuntos pol ticos y sociales son a n muy presentes.Reflexi n y lectura obligada, pues estamos haciendo uso de instrumentos del lenguaje peligrosos, y evitando hablar de temas importantes la persona, el enfermo, la muerte y el c ncer sin florituras


    • Illness as metaphor is a luminous, great text on the way we think and talk about disease TB and cancer in particular , and the Romantic era ideas about illness we still very much believe in Compared to it, AIDS and its metaphors , written 10 years later, felt like an overly long, updated footnote, somewhat lacking in spark, but the first text is something to re read and think about.


    • This book is alright It s not a book that I would ve picked if it wasn t a required reading for my class The way the author writes the chapter is so full of heavy sentences that often times I would get lost in what Sontag wanted to convey across.This is a good book if you re interested in the way illnesses were percieved and how it was used by nations for their own use Also, reading the authors position on metaphors is fun, since she discusses an array of illnesses, aside from cancer and AIDS.


    • The essay opens with the following lines Illness is the night side of life, a onerous citizenship Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place Susan Sontag dares to explore the many metaphors associated with various illness throughout history How we selectively romanticiz [...]


    • We are discussing the power of metaphors in two separate classes at the same time Advanced Theory and Medical Anthropology and the counterpoint between the two is fascinating Sontag s book, while certainly dated, is an excellent examination of the military metaphors that surround the battle for cancer, with rogue cells invading the body She deftly weaves together excerpts from popular literature to bring these issues to the forefront of your thinking As my Medical Anthropology lecturer said this [...]


    • I actually want to give this book a rating of 2 and a half stars It is quite positively than a just okay piece of non fiction The subject matter interested me very much, these are indeed two important essays, and I felt satisfied with the way Sontag delivered certain parts of her discourse, however this is a book I must disappointedly state did not meet my needs and failed to live up my expectations since it has such a huge reputation and continues to be so highly acclaimed Specifically in revi [...]


    • i read this book determined to ignore the dated and perhaps simply uninformed portrayal of the biology and sociology of cancer and HIV AIDS this was not easy those who have made in depth study of these subjects will find a near infinite number of objectionsever, if you can excuse these limitations, you will see that the idea at the center of this thesis was and sadly to some extent still is revolutionary writing as a medical professional, i can say that most of us have trouble recognizing the im [...]


    • Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor while she was being treated for cancer and AIDS 10 years later Both point out that the metaphors we used about these diseases add greatly to the patient s suffering In Illness Sontag pointed out that the way we regard cancer often prevents people from seeking and receiving the best possible care When an illness is regarded as a death sentence, be it syphilis, TB, cancer of AIDS, all too often the patients are regarded as somehow deserving it because of the metap [...]


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