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"Illness as Metaphor" is an examination of the fantasies concocted around conditions such as cancer and tuberculosis in our cultural history. Susan Sontag argues that illness is not a metaphor and that the most truthful way of regarding illness - and the healthiest way of being ill - is to resist such thinking. Her examples of metaphors and images of illness are taken from medical and psychiatric thinking as well as from sources ranging from Greek and Medieval writings to Dickens, Thomas Mann, Henry James, Frank Lloyd Wright, Auden and others. "Aids and its Metaphors", the sequel, is obviously written in the light of the Aids crisis. Sontag states that our metaphors for Aids and its effects may be damaging; they suggest an apocalypse in personal and social terms, and therefore threaten not only the victims of the disease but all of society.
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About the Author

Susan Sontag was born in Manhattan in 1933 and studied at the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Oxford. Her non-fiction works include Against Interpretation, On Photography, Illness as Metaphor, AIDS and its Metaphors and Regarding the Pain of Others. She is also the author of four novels, a collection of stories and several plays. 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. She died in December 2004. Penguin will publish Sontag on Film in October 2016.

Reviews

"Susan Sontag's "Illness as Metaphor "was the first to point out the accusatory side of the metaphors of empowerment that seek to enlist the patient's will to resist disease. It is largely as a result of her work that the how-to health books avoid the blame-ridden term 'cancer personality' and speak more soothingly of 'disease-producing lifestyles' . . . "AIDS and Its Metaphors "extends her critique of cancer metaphors to the metaphors of dread surrounding the AIDS virus. Taken together, the two essays are an exemplary demonstration of the power of the intellect in the face of the lethal metaphors of fear."--Michael Ignatieff, "The New Republic"

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