Illness as Metaphor
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 treatmen...more
More lists with this book...
Her subject is not physical illness itself but the uses of the various diseases as a figure or metaphor for comp...more
On a personal level, I get this. She's suffered; we've all suffered or known others who've suffered. And on page 101, she says that her aim is to "alleviate unnecessary suffering." On the same page, she also says tha...more
The study exposes insightful analogy between two diseases, exploring the boundaries of their broader cultural and historical frame....more
The thing that struck me the most was when Sontag claimed that TB metaphors had brought about a consciou...more
With that being said, Sontag's kind of a lazy writer. Like I get the sense that TB is this and cancer is that, but she doesn't do enough research to back up her claims. It's just like, claim, pseudo example, move down, second claim, etc. And that's something coming from me because I'm the laziest writer there is and...more
the real culpability of metaphors in the way we survive:
'TB is often imagined as a disease of poverty and deprivation... in contrast, cancer is a disease of middle-class life, a disease associated with affluence, with excess' (15).
'Like all really successful metaphors, the metaphor of TB was rich enough to provide for two contradictory applications...It was both a way of describing sensuality and promoting the claims of pa...more
I really enjoyed the history of it. Really, that's all it is.
in another note, keep an eye out for the annie lei...more
While some of the information in the book is now fairly out-of-date,...more
All I took away from this book until now was a sense of whining. I might go back and read it again if I have nothing else to do, but I just thought the writing was dry and that alone turns me off from attempting to re-read it.
"Illness is the night-side of life, a more 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."
That about sums it up.
In this book, Sontag compares attitudes about tuberculosis in the 19th century to attitudes about cancer in the 20th century. Fascinating stuff.