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). Academic Director of the Columbia University Master of Science in Narrative Medicine 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. She is a 2019 MacDowell Fellow and 2022 Yaddo Fellow. 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