Category Archive '“Regarding Susan Sontag” (2014)'

09 Sep 2014

Susan Sontag



Emily St. John Mandel, in Humanities, discusses a new documentary, Regarding Susan Sontag, on the life and personality of the renowned critic and intellectual.

I was going to embed the trailer but, when I looked at it, I thought it was a completely distortive crock which was attempting, unnecessarily, to ramp up excitement over its subject by misleadingly portraying Sontag as some kind of danger-loving war correspondent and street-fighting activist.

Sontag, of course, was neither of the above. What she was was really an extraordinarily gifted and extraordinarily passionate autodidact, who by force of will lifted herself from 1950s American suburbia to a position of international fame as a critic, author, and engagée public intellectual.

The film apparently accurately, unlike the trailer, devotes itself to paying tribute to Sontag’s omniverous intellectual enthusiasm and unbridled capacity for taking pleasure in the exercise of the mind.

Reflecting on the collapse of his marriage with Sontag, in a story that appeared in the New York Observer a year after her death, Philip Rieff said, “I think what I wanted was a large family and what she wanted was a large library.”

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

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