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The Cancer Journals:
Special Edition

by Audre Lorde

ISBN 1879960516 / 9781879960510 / 1-879960-51-6
Publisher Aunt Lute Books
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

First published in 1980, this new edition brings together posthumous tributes to Lorde from such writers and poets as Margaret Randall, Jewelle Gomez, and Barbara Smith, among others. The forthrightness and ferocity with which Audre Lorde greeted every social injustice is in full force in this courageous exploration of her breast cancer and mastectomy. Using the journal, memoir, and essay forms, Lorde gives voice to her "feelings and thoughts about the travesty of prosthesis, the pain of amputation, the function of cancer in a profit economy, confrontation with mortality, the strength of women loving, and the power and rewards of self-conscious living." Lorde powerfully weaves together the three literary forms, allowing her to leap from raw expressions of pain to her inimitably astute social observations.

Lorde began writing her journal entries six months after her radical mastectomy; they illustrate her process of integrating the crisis into her life, retelling her experience from detection to follow-up therapies. Lorde's most passionate battle was waged against silence. "This is it, Audre," Lorde wrote. "You're on your own." Where was the model? she asked, seeking another voice to speak to her experience. In The Cancer Journals, Audre Lorde has given us a rich, powerful model that is, alas, still relevant. [via]