In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2012. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 159-170.
The metaphor of illness in literature and political-philosophical discourse has a long tradition and often serves to describe or to criticize a particular society and its individuals. So too was the communism case. On one hand, proponents and theorists used it to praise communism as a medicine and condemn democracy and while heralding its decline. On the other hand this metaphor worked in the opposite way, to negate the communist system and its fundamental theories, ideology and practices. In this negative function five different famous authors of polish literature, all of them opponents or victims of communism such as Józef Mackiewicz, Jerzy Andrzejewski, Leopold Tyrmand, Andrzej Szczypiorski and Aleksander Wat, used different kinds of this metaphor. By using illnesses like plague, epidemic, tuberculosis, cataract and illness in general they not only negate the nature of communism, Stalinism or ‘really existing socialism’; they also carve out the characteristics and consequences that it brought to the people.