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The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde
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The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde


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Moving between journal entry, memoir, and exposition, Audre Lorde fuses the personal and political as she reflects on her experience coping with breast cancer and a radical mastectomy.

A Penguin Classic


First published over forty years ago, The Cancer Journals is a startling, powerful account of Audre Lorde’s experience with breast cancer and mastectomy. Long before narratives explored the silences around illness and women’s pain, Lorde questioned the rules of conformity for women’s body images and supported the need to confront physical loss not hidden by prosthesis. Living as a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Lorde heals and re-envisions herself on her own terms and offers her voice, grief, resistance, and courage to those dealing with their own diagnosis. Poetic and profoundly feminist, Lorde’s testament gives visibility and strength to women with cancer to define themselves, and to transform their silence into language and action.