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- Against Interpretation and Other Essays (Penguin Modern Classics)
- Against Interpretation and Other Essays by Susan Sontag
The other essays are mainly reviews of books and films that, while interesting, often do not reach the levels of the aforementioned essays. Nevertheless, for Sontag's views of art criticism and on style, these essays are worthwhile reading and still are important today. LibraryThing member watki This short story, I could have done without.
However it did open up my mind to how someone else can analyze something and almost try to turn someone against interpreting something and how they percieve it. I thought that she was a little too rough and hard against interpreting what you read, and when she referred to the whole "X being an A" line, i read someone from the discussion hit it right on the head. He said what she probably really mean to say was "See this X?
I interpret things, in fact, everything that I read, i always try to resemble it to something that I am familiar with, or that I think that it can stand for something.
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Wierd huh? So all in all, I think that she had the right idea in what she was getting to, but she did not put it in user friendly words, or in fact, word it correctly what-so-ever. LibraryThing member gregorybrown. There don't seem to be as many public intellectuals around as there used to be.
Sure, there are more commentators than ever—look at the many, many bloggers out there, as well as other individuated voices carving out their own identity, even within larger publications. But the public intellectual in the middle of the 20th century seemed to comprise something different, something a bit larger in scope.
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These days, criticism tends to be done piecewise, either commenting or reacting incrementally on each new publication or event, or slowly embodying a larger critique through the slow, steady work of embodying it. Sontag and other writers of her era offer a different model, one with well-polished fusillades and other attacks levied against their contemporaries. The grasp of these essays seem to be more wide-ranging, composed than today's blog posts—not just because they're more formally edited, but because by necessity they have to encompass so much more.
There was the electrifying intellectual community in New York that met, discussed, and argued in person, of course. But there wasn't twitter, blogs, anything that could be used for large amounts of smaller pieces. These published maybe bi-weekly or monthly at most, meaning that they could only run so much, and that any reaction had to necessarily stand the test of time more than a snap blog-post that'll be obsolete in days. This isn't necessarily to bemoan the current condition, only to recognize that a certain sensibility is so hard to find these days, and that you have to really seek it out compared to earlier.
The New York Review of Books still exists and continues to put out superb work , but it isn't the center of the intellectual conversation the way it used to be. They just Wrote Differently back then, in a way that's hard to articulate without reading Didion, Sontag, Wilson, and others.
Against Interpretation and Other Essays (Penguin Modern Classics)
This, then is to say that Sontag comes across as very refreshing—not just because she's intellectually brilliant which she is , or that she provides a novel way of looking at art which she does , but because she writes so damn well that it's hard not to be carried away by her conclusions because they just sound so damn good. Sontag's larger point that "form" and "content" are often unjustly separated, and the latter elevated above the former, is laid out in the very first title essay, and expounded upon or eliptically mentioned in almost every single other essay.
The effect, which would be less noticable in reading each essay individually, is to see her argument substantiated in the richness of its results. In elevating content above form and I'll dispense with the air quotes, even though Sontag justly uses them throughout , we cut off the ways in which how a work formally functions determines its aim and effect on the audience. In a certain sense, focusing on the content reveals an impoverished vocabulary or schema for understanding a given art-form, a mistake that Sontag dearly wants to correct by foregrounding how a work And to her credit, Sontag's argument has seen an effect in much of the art criticism since.
In film, for example, editing is now recognized as one of the if not THE attributes that determine the essence of a movie.
In games, we see mechanics-oriented criticism on the rise, though that case is easier to make with the more explicit interaction compared to the way other art-forms will subtly shift our attention around. While a good chunk of the book is concerned with this kind of meta-criticism, there are some more traditional criticism of specific works—valuable because they instantiate and substantiate her larger program, but still kind of floaty if you haven't experienced the works she's talking about. When she's writing to introduce a body of work to the audience, such as some of the foreign thinkers, or her entertaining essay about the "happenings," she is lively and enjotable throughout.
But when she's writing an apologia for work she expects her intellectual community to already know, it can leave the average reader in the dark.
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This weakness is partially a function of time since contemporary works aren't so contemporary any more but also of the widening intellectual pluralism that she herself champions in essays like the famous "Notes on Camp. LibraryThing member encephalical. At best, provoking and original. LibraryThing member michaelm The peculiar relation between Camp taste and homosexuality has to be explained.
While it's not true that Camp taste is homosexual taste, there is no doubt a peculiar affinity and overlap.
Against Interpretation and Other Essays by Susan Sontag
Not all liberals are Jews, but Jews have shown a peculiar affinity for liberal and reformist causes. So, not all homosexuals have Camp taste. But homosexuals, by and large, constitute the vanguard -- and the most articulate audience -- of Camp. The analogy is not frivolously chosen. Originally published in , this collection has never gone out of print and has been a major influence on generations of readers, and the field of cultural criticism, ever since.
Susan Sontag was born in Manhattan and studied at the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Oxford. Her books are translated into thirty-two languages. Susan Sontag was born in Manhattan in and studied at the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Oxford. She is also the author of four novels, a collection of stories and several plays.
She died in December For the latest books, recommendations, offers and more. By signing up, I confirm that I'm over View all newsletter. Paperback Books Categories. Children's Children's 0 - 18 months 18 months - 3 years 3 - 5 years 5 - 7 years 7 - 9 years 9 - 12 years View all children's. Puffin Ladybird. Authors A-Z. Featured Authors. Articles, Games and more Penguin Shop Penguin Shop Book bundles.
More information about this seller Contact this seller 4. Ships with Tracking Number! May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be ex-library. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. More information about this seller Contact this seller 5. Condition: Fine. Published in Retrospective collection of the author's greatest essays. The First Slipcased Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a Slipcased Edition for distribution to libraries and LOA subscribers only.
None of the copies was sold to the public. An austerely elegant production: Regular-sized volume format. Text by Susan Sontag edited and annotated by David Rieff. Cream hard board slipcase. Printed to the highest standards on acid-free paper, utilizing sewn binding, closely woven rayon cloth boards, satin bound-in ribbon marker, and a page layout that is both readable and elegant. The book is guaranteed to last for several generations of readers and collectors despite frequent and regular use, the estimated life span of Library of America Editions is years; un-used, they will last forever.
Without DJ, as issued. Her first four collections of essays in their final form. The volume also includes five "Uncollected Essays", which appear in book form for the very first time, notably "The Double Standard of Aging" and "The Third World of Women", which are indispensable to an understanding of Sontag as a cultural philosopher of the first rank.
These previously unpublished essays alone are worth the price of entry. An absolute "must-have" title for Susan Sontag collectors. This title is a great collection. A rare copy thus. Shimon Peres, in awarding the Jerusalem Prize, described Sontag as "one of the world's finest writers and greatest minds". One of the most influential and important writer-intellectuals of the 20th century.