This article analyzes two of Susan Sontag's most notorious essays -“Against interpretation” (1964) and Illness as Metaphor (1978)- to explore its argumentative lines and its ways of interweaving the different thoughts and their implicit ideas. In both texts it is possible to recognize a certain iconoclastic gesture, consisting in going, from the literary essay, against interpretation, on the one hand, and against metaphor, on the other. The following reflections explore not only the parallelisms, but also and more importantly, the differences between both texts, and the gestures involved in them. If in “Against interpretation” Sontag pleads for the signifier, suspending meaning (while labeling the search for the signified as conservative and authoritarian), in Illness as Metaphor is it possible to recognize a necessity of restoring a signified.
- Susan Sontag