Susan Sontag

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Susan Sontag
Susan Rosenblatt
BirthplaceNew York City, United States
Novelist, essayist

Sontag, Susan

(sŏn`täg), 1933–2004, American writer and critic, b. New York City. She grew up in Arizona and California, studied philosophy at the Univ. of Chicago, Harvard, and Oxford, absorbed Gallic culture in Paris, and settled (1959) in New York City. Regarded as a brilliant and original thinker and highly visible as one of the most prominent public intellectuals of the second half of the 20th cent., Sontag became known for her vividly written critical essays on avant-garde culture in the 1960s. Most of these were collected in Against Interpretation (1966), in which she popularized the word camp, referring to exaggerated reproductions of the style and emotions of pop culture.

Sontag's essays on radical politics are collected in Styles of Radical Will (1969). She meditated on the nature of photography in On Photography (1977), explored the ways in which disease is demonized in Illness as Metaphor (1978) and AIDS and Its Metaphors (1989), analyzed various modernist writers and filmmakers in Under the Sign of Saturn (1980), and reassessed her ideas on photography's relationship to human suffering in her last book, Regarding the Pain of Others (2003). Many of her short nonfiction pieces from the 1980s and 90s were collected in Where the Stress Falls (2001). The late essays and speeches in the posthumous collection At the Same Time (2007) reflect her often less than sanguine views of post-9/11 political life and culture.

Her other works include short stories (collected in Debriefing, 2017) and such novels as The Benefactor (1963), Death Kit (1967), and the best-selling historical fictions The Volcano Lover (1992) and In America (2000). Sontag also wrote and directed four motion pictures, including the chamber drama Duet for Cannibals (1969) and the documentary Promised Lands (1974), directed theatrical productions, and was the author of a play, Alice in Bed (1992).


See journals and notebooks ed. by D. Rieff, her son (2 vol., 2008–); L. Poague, ed., Conversations with Susan Sontag (1995), and J. Cott, Susan Sontag: The Complete Rolling Stone Interview (2013); memoirs by D. Rieff (2008) and S. Nunez (2011); biography by C. E. Rollyson and L. Paddock (2000), B. Moser, Sontag: Her Life and Work (2019); studies by S. Sayres (1990), L. Kennedy (1995), C. E. Rollyson (2001), C. Seligman (2004), B. Ching and J. A. Wagner-Lawlor, ed. (2009), and P. Lopate (2009).

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Sontag, Susan

(1933–  ) critic, writer; born in New York City. She grew up in Arizona and Los Angeles, took degrees from the University of Chicago and Harvard, then did postgraduate work at Oxford before settling in New York City to teach and write. She first gained attention with her essay, "Notes on Camp" (1964), and went on to publish several novels including The Volcano Lover (1992); but she is best known for her critical essays and cultural analyses such as On Photography (1976) and Illness as Metaphor (1978); she also directed her own movie, Duet for Cannibals (1969). The nature of her concerns and writings have gained her the reputation as America's answer to "Continental intellectuals." Her son by an early marriage, David Rieff, is the author of Los Angeles, Capital of the Third World (1991).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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To learn about Sontag via short stories such as "Pilgrimage" and "Project for a Trip to China"--with its layered auto-biographical fragments and ruminations about her father, a fur trader who died in Manchuria when Sontag was five--is to understand her greatest creation, Susan Sontag, more fully.
The company's first full-scale production is a new adaptation of Susan Sontag's raucous and joyful play Alice in Bed.
The reader's interaction with the story is shadowed by the fraught interaction between David Rieff and Susan Sontag. Inside Reborn's hall of mirrors, the fragile son morphs into the empowered editor of a brilliant but messy manuscript by a fledgling author young enough to be his own child.
In this case, are we better off following the cinema or shall we heave it over and follow Susan Sontag wherever she leads?
Candleflowerdance, which Morris dedicated to the late Susan Sontag, knows its limits and never transgresses.
Dennis Hopper, Helen Mirren (right) and Harvey Keitel are to star in a big screen version of Susan Sontag's In America.
Right now, though, he's working on The Death of Photography and Other Modern Fables on the Visual Arts, a 400-page book about the relationship of photography in society and all cultures; it will include essays from up-and-coming writers, as well as influential critics such as Susan Sontag and lean Baudrillard.
In 1967, Susan Sontag played that role in her essay "What's Happening in America?" It was the last performance of the ritual of any importance, for the very notion that Cold War liberalism might have a radical margin was already looking anachronistic.
One of the birth mothers of the revolution, Susan Sontag, wrote in 1967, "The white race is the cancer of human history."
AWARD-WINNING author Susan Sontag, regarded as one of America's leading intellectuals, has died aged 71.