Thursday, January 20, 2005

On Susan Sontag (again)

Scott McLemee in The American Prospect has the best tribute I've read yet to Susan Sontag. He discovered her, as I did, at a young age in Texas:

My first recollection of reading her goes back a quarter-century, to the moment when (determined to get an education, despite the best efforts of the Texas public-school system to the contrary) I got hold of a copy of Against Interpretation and Other Essays from the Carnegie-funded public library in the next county. It was the original hardback, from 1966, its dust jacket wrapped in Mylar. Before opening the book itself, I sat looking at the photo on the back. It showed a woman looking down, so lost in thought that she could not possibly be aware of her own beauty.

At the end of the title essay, Sontag wrote, “In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.” For me, this sentence meant, for one thing, an appointment with the dictionary. . . .

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