Susan Sontag burst on the American literary scene with her controversial collection of essays, Against Interpretation (966). Since then, Sontag has been a bit of a cult figure. Her pronouncements about literature and culture carried enormous weight. This new Library of America volume (865 pages!) collects Sontag’s essays from 1980 to the 21st Century. Along the way, Sontag comments on artists, books, movies, novelists, philosophers, and social movements. AIDS and Its Metaphors (1989) might be her best known book from this phase of her writing career. Sontag’s opinions and analysis still have the power to generate conversations and arguments. I don’t always agree with Susan Sontag, but I’m almost always moved by her insights. GRADE: B+
Under the Sign of Saturn (1980)
On Paul Goodman
Approaching Artaud
Fascinating Fascism
Under the Sign of Saturn
Syberberg’s Hitler
Remembering Barthes
Mind as Passion
AIDS and Its Metaphors (1989)
Where the Stress Falls (2001)
A Poet’s Prose
Where the Stress Falls
Afterlives: The Case of Machado de Assis
A Mind in Mourning
The Wisdom Project
Writing Itself: On Roland Barthes
Walser’s Voice
Danilo Kiš
Gombrowicz’s Ferdydurke
Pedro Páramo
A Letter to Borges
A Century of Cinema
Novel into Film: Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz
A Note on Bunraku
A Place for Fantasy
The Pleasure of the Image
About Hodgkin
A Lexicon for Available Light
In Memory of Their Feelings
Dancer and the Dance
Lincoln Kirstein
Wagner’s Fluids
An Ecstasy of Lament
One Hundred Years of Italian Photography
On Bellocq
Borland’s Babies
Certain Mapplethorpes
A Photograph Is Not an Opinion. Or Is It?
There and Here
Homage to Halliburton
Writing As Reading
Thirty Years Later
Questions of Travel
The Idea of Europe (One More Elegy)
The Very Comical Lament of Pyramus and Thisbe (An Interlude)
Answers to a Questionnaire
Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo
“There” and “Here”
Joseph Brodsky
On Being Translated
Regarding the Pain of Others (2003)
At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches (2007)
Preface by Paolo Dilonardo and Anne Jump
Foreword by David Rieff
An Argument About Beauty
1926 . . . Pasternak, Tsvetayeva, Rilke
Loving Dostoyevsky
A Double Destiny: On Anna Banti’s Artemisia
Unextinguished: The Case for Victor Serge
Outlandish: On Halldór Laxness’s Under the Glacier
A Few Weeks After
One Year After
Photography: A Little Summa
Regarding the Torture of Other
The Conscience of Words
The World as India
On Courage and Resistance
Literature Is Freedom
At the Same Time: The Novelist and Moral Reasoning

13 thoughts on “SONTAG: LATER ESSAYS

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    I give you credit. 865 pages of Susan Sontag is way more than I’d ever want to read. It may be shallow, but I’m more fascinated by her personal life.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, Susan Sontag lived a colorful life! I read about a dozen of her essays each day until I made it through the entire Library of America volume.

    1. george Post author

      Patti, Joan Didion’s We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (Everyman’s Library) is one of my favorite books!

  2. Bill Crider

    Yikes! A doorstopper of essays. I’m sure they’re all fascinating stuff, and I’ve even read a couple of them, but I’d never tackle more than 800 pages of them at once. Probably not even if I read only a few at a time.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    I’ve read a lot of the Didion collections. I guess I need to catch up on the last couple.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, Joan Didion’s early work, like THE WHITE ALBUM and Slouching Towards Bethlehem, are classics! Didion still has the power to amaze with books like THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING.

  4. Deb

    I really enjoyed her fictional work, THE VOLCANO LOVER, about Lady Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s mistress. About as far removed from the Laurence Olivier/Vivian Leigh movie “That Hamilton Woman” as you can imagine.


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