Tag Archives: Susan Sontag

The use of language in health and illness narratives

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech  Malta   Portrait of Virginia Woolf in 1902. By George Charles Beresford. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. “While I was as busy as anyone on the sunny plain of life, I heard of you laid aside in the shadowy recess where our sunshine of hope and joy could never penetrate to you.” […]

Ladies in red: medical and metaphorical reflections on La Traviata

Milad Matta Gregory Rutecki Lyndhurst, Ohio, United States   Illustration by Jason Malmberg. “. . . phthisic beauty[’s] . . . most famous operatic embodiment was Violetta Valery . . .This physical type became not only fashionable but sexy . . . When a society does not understand—and cannot control—a disease, ground seems to open […]

The other kingdom

Jamie Samson Dublin, Ireland   Death and life by Gustav Klimt. The radical “otherness” of death is a fixture of art history, as illustrated here in Klimt’s ‘Death and Life’. 1915. Leopold Museum, Vienna “Everyone who is born,” Susan Sontag wrote in Illness as Metaphor, “holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and […]

Lessons from the black hole

Columba Quigley London, United Kingdom    Frida Kahlo, Wounded Stag The episode occurred some few years ago, when I was working in palliative medicine, caring for those with advanced and often incurable disease. As I walked onto the ward early one morning, a woman whom I had been seeing on a daily basis for symptom […]