Susan Sontag: A Biography

Susan Sontag: A Biography


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Susan Sontag (1933–2004) was one of America’s first celebrity intellectuals. In the first biography to be published since her death, Daniel Schreiber portrays a glamorous woman full of contradictions and inner conflicts, whose life mirrored the cultural upheavals of her time.

While known primarily as a cultural critic and novelist, Sontag was also a filmmaker, stage director, and dramatist. It was her status as a pop icon that was unusual for an American intellectual: she was filmed by Andy Warhol and Woody Allen, photographed by Annie Leibovitz and Diane Arbus, and her likeness adorned advertisements for Absolut vodka. Drawing on newly available sources, including interviews with Nadine Gordimer, Robert Wilson, and Sontag’s son, David Rieff, as well as on myriad interviews given by Sontag and her extensive correspondence with her friend and publisher Roger Straus, Schreiber explores the roles that Sontag played in influencing American public cultural and political conversations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810125834
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 08/15/2014
Edition description: 1
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 846,651
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

DANIEL SCHREIBER is a Berlin-based writer. An art and literary critic, he contributes to numerous German and Swiss magazines and newspapers, including Die Zeit, DUdas Kulturmagazin, Philosophie Magazin, Litera turen, and Weltkunst, as well as the radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur. He is a columnist for the daily tazdie tageszeitung, and his essays on art and culture appear in a number of anthologies. He was previously contributing editor to Monopol and headed the culture section of the magazine Cicero.

DAVID DOLLENMAYER is emeritus professor of German at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is the winner of the 2008 Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for his translation of Moses Rosenkranz’s Childhood: An Autobiographical Fragment.

Table of Contents

Preface to the English-Language Edition vii

Prologue xi

Memories of a So-Called Childhood (1933-1944) 3

The Invention of Susan Sontag (1945-1948) 17

Intellectual Delirium (1949-1957) 27

Paris, a Romance (1958-1959) 41

The New York Nexus (1959-1963) 53

Camp (1964) 71

Styles of the Avant-Garde (1965-1967) 85

Radical Chic (1967-1969) 101

Behind the Camera (1969-1972) 111

In Semi-Exile (1972-1975) 123

The Kingdom of the Sick (1975-1979) 139

The Last Intellectual (1980-1983) 153

Small-Scale Politics (1984-1988) 167

Return to the Magic Mountain (1989-1992) 181

Theater at the Spiritual Front (1993-1997) 195

Life and Afterlife (1998-2001) 211

The Pain of Others (2001-2004) 225

Notes 241

Bibliography 265

Index of Names 273

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