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Susan Sontag American Literature Analysis

❶Burns August 19,

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In the book, Sontag expresses her views on the history and present-day role of photography in capitalist societies as of the s. Sontag discusses many examples of modern photography. Among these, she contrasts Diane Arbus 's work with that of Depression -era documentary photography commissioned by the Farm Security Administration. She also explores the history of American photography in relation to the idealistic notions of America put forth by Walt Whitman and traces these ideas through to the increasingly cynical aesthetic notions of the s, particularly in relation to Arbus and Andy Warhol.

Sontag argues that the proliferation of photographic images had begun to establish within people a "chronic voyeuristic relation" [1] to the world around them. Among the consequences of photography is that the meaning of all events is leveled and made equal. This idea did not originate with Sontag, who often synthesized European cultural thinkers with her particular eye toward the United States.

As she argues, perhaps originally with regard to photography, the medium fostered an attitude of anti-intervention. Sontag says that the individual who seeks to record cannot intervene, and that the person who intervenes cannot then faithfully record, for the two aims contradict each other.

In this context, she discusses in some depth the relationship of photography to politics. In , William H. Gass , writing in The New York Times, said the book "shall surely stand near the beginning of all our thoughts upon the subject" of photography.

In a appraisal of the work, Michael Starenko, wrote in Afterimage that " On Photography has become so deeply absorbed into this discourse that Sontag's claims about photography, as well as her mode of argument, have become part of the rhetorical 'tool kit' that photography theorists and critics carry around in their heads.

Sontag's work is literary and polemical rather than academic. It includes no bibliography, and few notes. There is little sustained analysis of the work of any particular photographer and is not in any sense a research project as often written by doctoral students.

For example, in her discussion of The Family of Man exhibition she quotes almost word-for-word Roland Barthes ' critique in his book Mythologies , without acknowledgement; "By purporting to show that individuals are born, work, laugh, and die everywhere in the same way, "The Family of Man" denies the determining weight of history - of genuine and historically embedded differences, injustices, and conflicts.

Her father managed a fur trading business in China, where he died of tuberculosis in , when Susan was five years old. Army Captain Nathan Sontag. Susan and her sister, Judith, took their stepfather's surname, although he did not adopt them formally.

Remembering an unhappy childhood, with a cold, distant mother who was "always away", Sontag lived on Long Island, New York , [1] then in Tucson, Arizona , and later in the San Fernando Valley in southern California , where she took refuge in books and graduated from North Hollywood High School at the age of She began her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley but transferred to the University of Chicago in admiration of its famed core curriculum.

At Chicago, she undertook studies in philosophy, ancient history and literature alongside her other requirements. She graduated at the age of 18 with an A.

At 17, Sontag married writer Philip Rieff , who was a sociology instructor at the University of Chicago, after a day courtship; their marriage lasted eight years. The Mind of the Moralist prior to their divorce in , and contributed to the book to such an extent that she has been considered an unofficial co-author.

Sontag was awarded an American Association of University Women 's fellowship for the — academic year to St Anne's College, Oxford , where she traveled without her husband and son. Hart while also attending the B. Phil seminars of J. Austin and the lectures of Isaiah Berlin. Oxford did not appeal to her, however, and she transferred after Michaelmas term of to the University of Paris. Sontag's literary career began and ended with works of fiction. Sontag held a writing fellowship at Rutgers University for to before ending her relationship with academia in favor of full-time freelance writing.

At age 30, she published an experimental novel called The Benefactor , following it four years later with Death Kit Despite a relatively small output, Sontag thought of herself principally as a novelist and writer of fiction. Written in an experimental narrative style, it remains a significant text on the AIDS epidemic. She achieved late popular success as a best-selling novelist with The Volcano Lover At age 67, Sontag published her final novel In America The last two novels were set in the past, which Sontag said gave her greater freedom to write in the polyphonic voice:.

My very first thought—I don't think I have ever said this publicly—was that I would propose to FMR a wonderful art magazine published in Italy which has beautiful art reproductions that they reproduce the volcano prints and I write some text to accompany them. But then I started to adhere to the real story of Lord Hamilton and his wife, and I realized that if I would locate stories in the past, all sorts of inhibitions would drop away, and I could do epic, polyphonic things.

I wouldn't just be inside somebody's head. So there was that novel, The Volcano Lover. She wrote and directed four films and also wrote several plays, the most successful of which were Alice in Bed and Lady from the Sea. It was through her essays that Sontag gained early fame and notoriety. Sontag wrote frequently about the intersection of high and low art and expanded the dichotomy concept of form and art in every medium. She elevated camp to the status of recognition with her widely read essay " Notes on 'Camp' ", which accepted art as including common, absurd and burlesque themes.

In , Sontag published the series of essays On Photography. These essays are an exploration of photographs as a collection of the world, mainly by travelers or tourists, and the way we experience it. In the essays, she outlined her theory of taking pictures as you travel:. The method especially appeals to people handicapped by a ruthless work ethic—Germans, Japanese and Americans. Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun.

They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: Sontag writes that the convenience of modern photography has created an overabundance of visual material, and "just about everything has been photographed". Sontag continued to theorize about the role of photography in real life in her essay "Looking at War: There she concludes that the problem of our reliance on images and especially photographic images is not that "people remember through photographs but that they remember only the photographs To remember is, more and more, not to recall a story but to be able to call up a picture" p.

She became a role-model for many feminists and aspiring female writers during the s and s. After Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa death sentence against writer Salman Rushdie for blasphemy after the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses that year, Sontag's uncompromising support of Rushdie was crucial in rallying American writers to his cause. A few years later, during the Siege of Sarajevo , Sontag gained attention for directing a production of Samuel Beckett 's Waiting for Godot in a candlelit theatre in the Bosnian city.

In the Daily Telegraph , Kevin Myers called it "mesmerisingly precious and hideously self-indulgent. To the people of Sarajevo, Ms. Sontag has become a symbol, interviewed frequently by the local newspapers and television, invited to speak at gatherings everywhere, asked for autographs on the street. Phillippe Morillon , to be so named. Sontag drew criticism [ citation needed ] for writing in in the Partisan Review:.

If America is the culmination of Western white civilization, as everyone from the Left to the Right declares, then there must be something terribly wrong with Western white civilization. This is a painful truth; few of us want to go that far The truth is that Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Marx, Balanchine ballets, et al , don't redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world.

The white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone—its ideologies and inventions—which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself. According to journalist Mark M. Goldblatt , Sontag later "recanted" the statement, saying that "it slandered cancer patients," [27] but according to Eliot Weinberger , "She came to regret that last phrase, and wrote a whole book against the use of illness as metaphor.

Modern critics of our culture who, like Susan Sontag, seem to know nothing of American history, who regard the white race as a "cancer" and assert that the United States was "founded on a genocide", may fantasize that the Indians fought according to the rules of the Geneva Convention.

But in the tragic conflict of which they were to be the chief victims, they were capable of striking terrible blows. Sontag's cool self-exile was a disaster for the American women's movement. Only a woman of her prestige could have performed the necessary critique and debunking of the first instant-canon feminist screeds, such as those by Kate Millett or Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar , whose middlebrow mediocrity crippled women's studies from the start No patriarchal villains held Sontag back; her failures are her own.

Paglia states that Sontag "had become synonymous with a shallow kind of hip posturing". Ellen Lee accused Sontag of plagiarism when Lee discovered at least twelve passages in In America that were similar to, or copied from, passages in four other books about Helena Modjeska without attribution.

I've used these sources and I've completely transformed them. There's a larger argument to be made that all of literature is a series of references and allusions. At a New York pro- Solidarity rally in , Sontag stated that "people on the left", like herself, "have willingly or unwillingly told a lot of lies".

Communism is Fascism—successful Fascism, if you will. What we have called Fascism is, rather, the form of tyranny that can be overthrown—that has, largely, failed. Fascism with a human face Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Reader's Digest between and , and someone in the same period who read only The Nation or [t]he New Statesman.

Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of Communism? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right? Sontag's speech reportedly "drew boos and shouts from the audience". The Nation published her speech, excluding the passage comparing the magazine with Reader's Digest.

Responses to her statement were varied. Some said that Sontag's current sentiments had been, in fact, held by many on the left for years, while others accused her of betraying "radical ideas".

Tom Wolfe once dismissed Sontag as "just another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering to the podium encumbered by her prose style, which had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review.

Sontag's mother died of lung cancer in Hawaii in Sontag had a close romantic relationship with photographer Annie Leibovitz. They met in , when both had already established notability in their careers.

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From its start, photography implied the capture of the largest possible number of subjects. Painting never had so imperial a scope. The subsequent industrialization of camera technology only carried out a promise inherent in photography from its very beginning: to democratize all experiences by translating them into images.

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Photography is the world's number one hobby. So when Susan Sontag's On Photography hit the bestseller list recently, it caused an uproar among photo professionals and hobbyists alike. "To photograph people," Sontag said, "is to violate them It turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.".

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Feb 02,  · Susan Sontag' book, On Photography, is a unique book examining society's relationship to photographs. In my analysis of the first chapter, "In Plato's Cave", I elaborate on what Sontag is trying to say and argue against some of her canlimacizlemek.tks: 1. I approached On Photography expecting a sense of warmth and intellect that Maria Popova paints Susan Sontag with. One essay in, I was slightly disappointed to feel no warmth. So, I read an interview of hers where the interviewer says the "yes and no" attitude is typical of her writing, something that I had experienced as well/5.

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On Photography [Susan Sontag] on canlimacizlemek.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Criticis m. One of the most highly regarded books of its kind4/5(). ON PHOTOGRAPHY Susan Sontag. Susan Sontag is an essayist and novelist. She has studied at Berkeley, Harvard, Ox­.