An overused word but in this case very apt. Susan Sontag has a way of approaching the familar and making you view it from an entirely fresh angle. Academic, yet never wilfully obscure, she gets straight to the heart of the subject and interrogates it so throughly you'll think you never really knew it before. Illness as Metaphor, explores the history of illness, how illness is spoken about,how the ill are treated and placed within society. She draws parrallels between the approaches to incurable illnesses in previous centuries and the present- startling similar inspite of modern medicine. Of fundamental importance to anyone suffering illness, caring for the sick or just interested in attitudes to illness is the notion of blame and personality traits that these uncured diseases accrue. The mythology that attaches to illness is especially cruel in the light of how it dissolves and coallates around a new condition as soon as the cause/cure is discovered. Sontag is a truly original thinker and this book, whilst deeply intellectually inspiring, was also for me a personal liberation from an illness that I have often been encouraged to feel is 'my own fault'. Life changing.
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