Posts Tagged: susan sontag

Periphery: Exploring Bombs, Boundaries, and Family History

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Have you ever seen a feathery shadow at the edge of your eye? Was it a figure? Did it cross into your vision, like a hummingbird there and gone? ...more

There Is No Answer: Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles

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As Sentilles makes clear, she is against the wars the United States is currently involved in, and war in general, but she’s critical of what that means. ...more

The Aura of Baby Einstein, the Child, the Toy

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If there is no distinction between show and commercial, ethics and entertainment, what kind of distinctions, if any, exists between her imaginary play, her consumer life, and our reality? ...more

You Can’t Be a Snob with Bad Teeth: Talking with David Sedaris

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David Sedaris discusses his new collection of diary entries, Theft By Finding, his love for book signings, and his inevitable return to IHOP. ...more

Oscars Flub as Grand Finale for Camp

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On the Hollywood stage—amidst gasps, jaw drops, and pearl clutches—we witnessed one final, beautifully coded failure and an over-the-top dethroning of the serious. ...more

On Suffering and Sympathy

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What is the distance between sympathy and action? How do we travel from one to the other? ...more

The Ordinary Extraordinary

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In an interview with Mark Greif for Los Angeles Review of Books, Greg Gerke frames Against Everything as an essay collection that faces outward, more political and less personal, despite its origins in rarified academia. Greif cites the influence and inspiration of traditions of thought exemplified by Susan Sontag and Stanley Cavell, the latter whose philosophy was rooted in “the ordinary”:

In this extended vision of ordinary language, what was principally required was sensitive listening, and a certain persistence, or obstinacy, in contemplating what you heard—and modesty about the value of your answers, except insofar as they inspired others to talk, too.

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The Rumpus Interview with Brian Blanchfield

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Poet and writer Brian Blanchfield talks about his essay collection Proxies, touring in support of a prose collection versus a poetry collection, and frottage. ...more
Darryl Pinckney

The Saturday Rumpus Interview: Darryl Pinckney

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If your family or your people are looking over your shoulder, change your seat or push them away. Ask them to trust you with the truth. ...more

Sontag Syndrome

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Over at Hazlitt, Alana Massey walks us through the anxiety that so often accompanies reading great thinkers, laying bare her own insecurities at the altar of famed writer and critic, Susan Sontag. When she finally does sit down to read the writer she had so carefully side-stepped, her worst fears are confirmed, and she is confronted—as so many of us will be—with the intense volume of all that she does not know:

But the devastation of learning that one’s work is unoriginal is not nearly as painful as watching the circumference of the gap in one’s knowledge expand outward from a single piece of missing literature to the limitless, insurmountable pile of works yet unread.

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Anna March’s Reading Mixtape #10: Remember AIDS?

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AIDS isn’t over, but far too many think it is. Not everyone is haunted by remembering the dying, the friends gone gaunt, the lesions appearing, the artists dropping out of sight, the funerals, the lie-filled obituaries, the terrified waits for results of blood tests taken by nurses wearing masks and triple gloves.

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Treatment as Metaphor

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In our daily efforts to stay healthy, to invent solutions for staving off death, have we already put ourselves in treatment for diseases yet to come? Conner Habib writes about his cancer diagnosis over at The Stranger, challenging Susan Sontag’s argument against seeing illness as a metaphor by revealing the ways in which we can’t help but give it meaning:

We reach out to the hand that promises to pull us to shore.

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All Are Bad

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We’ve all read at least one: from “Against YA” to “Against Happiness,” essays that promise to dismiss entire abstract concepts using only rhetoric make for great click-bait. In The New Yorker, Ivan Kreilkamp explains why we keep overstating the case:

“Against [X]” is a symptom of a liberal culture’s longing to escape its own strictures; it’s the desire of thoughtful and nuanced people to shed their inhibitions and issue fearsome dicta.

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The Partisan Review, Digitized

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The Partisan Review, printed from 1934 to 2004, marked 69 years of cultural history in the US, with notable contributors such as Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Franz Kafka, Doris Lessing, George Orwell, Marge Piercy, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roger Shattuck, Susan Sontag, William Styron, Lionel Trilling, and Robert Penn Warren.

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Susan Sontag on Art: Illustrated Diary Excerpts

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Rumpus contributor Wendy MacNaughton has teamed up with Maria Popova (of Brain Pickings) to illustrate selected excerpts from Susan Sontag’s diaries.

The artwork is available on Etsy as an 11×14 print on heavy cotton rag paper with razored edges in a limited edition of 300, signed and numbered, bearing a hand-stamped inscription on the back.

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Harnessed to Flesh

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At Tablet, Adam Kirsch explores the recently released second volume of Susan Sontag’s journal entries, As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh, which Kirsch argues “contain a human drama more fascinating than anything in her essays or her fiction.”

“…The utter sincerity of the diaries, the sense that Sontag is always able to speak honestly to and about herself, is what makes them such compelling documents.”

(Via The Book Bench)

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Being Sontag’s Assistant

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“Then the book was fin­ished, or at least a com­pleted man­u­script was turned in—as I was to learn, for Susan, the book is never fin­ished. We spent a week holed up in her apart­ment comb­ing through the gal­leys and then another with the page proofs, tweak­ing and mas­sag­ing the text.

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