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About the Author

Susan Sontag was born in Manhattan in 1933 and studied at the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Oxford. Her non-fiction works include Against Interpretation, On Photography, Illness as Metaphor, AIDS and its Metaphors and Regarding the Pain of Others. She is also the author of four novels, a collection of stories and several plays. Her books are translated into thirty-two languages. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work, and in 2003 she received the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. She died in December 2004. Penguin will publish Sontag on Film in October 2016.

Reviews

Written at the end of Sontag's life, these 16 essays demonstrate her continued humanist concerns and brilliance as a thinker. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Literature and politics are inextricably intertwined and unified by moral purpose in this powerful collection of pieces (a couple not previously published in English or at all) by iconic critic and novelist Sontag (Regarding the Pain of Others), who died in 2004. Sontag was a dedicated champion of literature in translation, and the book opens with several introductions to such works, led off by a meditation on beauty. The section might have been called "Art and Ardor," so laced is it with artistic passion, both Sontag's own and that of the writers she celebrates, such as Leonid Tsypkin and Anna Banti. Part three contains speeches Sontag gave in accepting the Jerusalem Prize and other awards, and honoring others whose moral courage she admired. But most striking is to re-read the pieces she wrote in the wake of 9/11 and the Abu Ghraib scandal, which constitute the book's middle section. Sontag's controversial attack on the Bush administration immediately after 9/11 may have been an act of courage or of folly, but from a distance of five years, her critique seems on the mark. Sontag's brilliance as a literary critic, her keen analytical skill and her genius for the searingly apt phrase (like her damning "the photographs are us" in relation to the Abu Ghraib photos) are all fiercely displayed here. (Mar. 6) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"What ultimately matters about Sontag . . . is what she has defended: the life of the mind, and the necessity for reading and writing as 'a way of being fully human.'"--Hilary Mantel, "Los Angeles Times Book Review

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"A generously personal volume addressing her greatest ardors and gravest concerns . . . She was both artist and hero."--Donna Seaman, "Booklist """ "What ultimately matters about Sontag . . . is what she has defended: the life of the mind, and the necessity for reading and writing as 'a way of being fully human.'"--Hilary Mantel, "Los Angeles Times Book Review


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