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AIDS and Its Metaphors by Susan Sontag

AIDS and Its Metaphors

by Susan Sontag

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Sontag's work here follows on her earlier work, Illness as Metaphor, but explicitly focuses on HIV/AIDS. With a careful look at how the experience and presentation (through media) of the disease are both similar and different from other diseases (in particular: cancer, tuberculosis, and syphilis), Sontag manages a full introduction to concerns and conversations related to HIV/AIDS, with a significant focus on metaphors and the development of those metaphors.. This is a strong introduction to the related concerns and to the disease itself. The caveat, as might be expected, is that the work is dated. Whereas Sontag's earlier work focused on long known diseases which were well established as medical concerns, research on HIV/AIDS was still in early stages upon Sontag's work in 1988. That said, the work is still incredibly worthwhile--readers should just be aware that, in some cases, the specifics of Sontag's more scientific research/work have been outdated. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Nov 26, 2012 |
Written ten years after Illness as metaphor, AIDS and its metaphors explores the same question in largely the same way, using the same methodology. However, the result is not the same. Section one is a capitulation of the earlier essay, so the essay about
AIDS and its metaphors doesn't really start until section two.

While Susan Sontag was a cancer patient herself, her writing about AIDS would not be as engaged. However, a bigger problem is that in 1988, very little was understood about AIDS, even less than about cancer when Sontag wrote about it. As a result, she mainly refers to AIDS, and spends little time on HIV. Writing about TB and cancer in Illness as metaphor, the author could cite sources going back to the Middle Ages, but in 1988, very few literary works, fiction or non-fiction, were published, and supposedly her analysis is largely based on the language use in the media. The author does not give any moment's though to the idea that that media might be influenced by her own earlier publication. AIDS and its metaphors lacks the thoroughness and inquisitiveness of Illness as metaphor. In the former, the author seems to be almost dogmatic, whereas in the original work the essay was largely explorative. ( )
  edwinbcn | Jan 2, 2012 |
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This LT work is Susan Sontag's 1989 book, AIDS and Its Metaphors. Please do not combine it with the omnibus edition, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. Thank you
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