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Danielle Spencer is the author of Metagnosis: Revelatory Narratives of Health and Identity (Oxford University Press, 2021) and co-author of Perkins-Prize-winning The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (OUP, 2017). A faculty member in the Columbia University Narrative Medicine Graduate Program, her scholarly and creative work appears in diverse outlets, from The Lancet to Ploughshares. Formerly artist/musician David Byrne’s Art Director, Spencer holds a B.A. from Yale University, an M.S. in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, and has been awarded fellowships at MacDowell and Yaddo. Lives in New York city.

Metagnosis: Revelator Narratives of Health and Identity, by Danielle Spencer - book cover


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“I think that [Metagnosis] is an extraordinary book. […] It's really rare in the broad general field that encompasses us both to encounter something that is genuinely original. And this book is full of insights that I had never had before. Indeed, it describes an entire category of experience—diagnostic in large part—and how it's played out in our society. And I think like, for example, Susan Sontag's Illnesses as Metaphor, it really changes the way that we think about things that we thought we knew all about. And so I don't have enough words of praise for what has been accomplished here, and accomplished, it should be added, in thrilling and readable prose, so that it remains deeply, deeply engaging. I mentioned Susan Sontag; it also has some of the kind of riveting charm of an Oliver Sacks book. It really captures the experiences of individual people and then draws profound conclusions from them." 

Andrew Solomon, winner of the National Book Award; author of National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity


Visit The METAGNOSIS Project website

“Narrative Medicine: The Book at the Gates of Biomedicine.”
Danielle Spencer. The Use and Abuse of Stories: New Directions in Narrative Hermeneutics,
edited by Hanna Meretoja and Mark Freeman, Oxford University Press, 2023, 305–339. PDF

“Illness Narratives: From Analysis to Answerability.” Danielle Spencer and Arthur Frank. Handbook on the Sociology of Health and Medicine, edited by Alan Petersen, Edward Elgar, 2023, 124–137. PDF

Philosophy Casting Call S3 E2: Metagnosis and Narrative Medicine with Danielle Spencer,
hosted by Élaina Gauthier-Mamaril,  12 January 2023

Shaddow // Yaddo S2 E14: State of Mind, with Andrew Solomon, 8 September 2022

“Wizards, Masks, and Metagnosis: Is the Pandemic Truly Changing Us?” 
Danielle Spencer. Literature and Medicine, vol. 39, no. 2, Fall 2021, 198–211. PDF

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