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Sontag, Susan.

Aids and Its Metaphors.


Sontag, Susan. AIDS and Its Metaphors. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, (1989).
8vo.; dark grey cloth; spine stamped in silver; white dust-jacket, printed in red, black and grey. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
First edition; published simultaneously in Canada. A presentation copy, inscribed before publication: for dearest Joan,/who escorted this book/and its author/all the way…/with my love,/as always -  / Susan/Dec. 7/1988. "Joan" is Joan Macintosh, the actress who played Alice in Sontag's "Alice in Bed," which was published in 1993, and staged in 2000 (this was Sontag's only published play). The play is a fictionalized account of Alice James's life; she was the bedridden younger sister of novelist Henry James.
This book is a sequel to Sontag's earlier Illness as Metaphor (1978); the arguments presented in that book have been used to better understand AIDS, as well as mental illness, cancer and other diseases.
This triumphantly lucid book will change the way people think about AIDS and dispel many of the myths and prejudices that afflict those with the illness. Sontag's book aims to free both AIDS patients and a population panicked by AIDS from the tyranny of a set of meanings that stand not for medical reality but, rather, carry the burden of fears about the future, such as global pollution, that haunt the developed world at this end of a millennium. AIDS and Its Metaphors is a passionate, powerfully argued comment on the temper of our society. It is also an extraordinary literary achievement, in which Sontag draws on her exhilarating breadth of interests, ranging from philosophy, literature, opera, painting and film to religion, politics and contemporary popular culture. (dust-jacket)
Sontag was spurred to write Illness as Metaphor after her own bout with cancer; however, the book does not reflect her personal experience. Rather, it examines cultural myths that are constructed around an illness and these effects on people.

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