Susan Sontag

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Susan Sontag

* 16.01.1933

"The unceasing propaganda in our time for 'the individual' seems to me deeply suspect, as 'individuality' itself becomes more and more a synonym for selfishness. A capitalist society comes to have a vested interest in praising 'individuality' and 'freedom' — which may mean little more than the right to the perpetual aggrandizement of the self, and the freedom to shop, to acquire, to use up, to consume, to render obsolete. "I don’t believe there is any inherent value in the cultivation of the self. And I think there is no culture (using the term normatively) without a standard of altruism, of regard for others. I do believe there is an inherent value in extending our sense of what a human life can be. If literature has engaged me as a project, first as a reader and then as a writer, it is as an extension of my sympathies to other selves, other domains, other dreams, other words, other territories of concern."--Susan Sontag.

In October of 1977,

Susan Sontag delivered one of the institute’s five James Lectures for that year. Her topic was “Illness as Metaphor”. She explored the truth that it was no longer possible, as she wrote, “to take up one’s residence in the kingdom of the ill unprejudiced by the lurid metaphors with which it has been landscaped.” Though she did not directly reference it, she herself was being treated for breast cancer at the time. The lecture was published in 1978, first as three essays in the New York Review of Books, and then as a book. It went on to become one of Sontag’s best-known pieces of writing.

"I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them." Susan Sontag

Wenn Bücher verschwinden

"Wenn Bücher verschwinden, == wird die Geschichte verschwinden, und die Menschen werden ebenfalls verschwinden. Ich bin sicher, dass Sie recht haben. Bücher sind nicht nur die beliebige Summe unserer Träume und unser Gedächtnis. Sie bieten uns auch das Vorbild für Selbsttranszendenz. Manche Leute halten Lesen bloß für eine Art von Flucht: eine Flucht aus der "wirklichen" Welt des Alltags in eine imaginäre Welt, die Welt der Bücher. Bücher sind viel mehr. Sie sind eine Art und Weise, ganz und gar Mensch zu sein.

Ich muss Ihnen leider mitteilen, dass Bücher jetzt als eine gefährdete Gattung gelten. Mit Büchern meine ich auch die Bedingungen des Lesens, die Literatur und ihre Wirkung auf die Seele ermöglichen. Bald, so sagt man uns, werden wir uns jeden "Text" auf einen "Bücherschirm" abrufen, und wir werden in der Lage sein, sein Erscheinungsbild zu verändern, Fragen an ihn zu stellen, mit ihm in "Interaktion" zu treten. Wenn Bücher zu "Texten" werden, mit denen wir gemäß Nützlichkeitskriterien in "Interaktion" treten, wird das geschriebene Wort schlicht zu einem weiteren Aspekt unserer von der Werbung gesteuerten televisuellen Realität. Das ist die glorreiche Zukunft, die geschaffen wird und uns verheißen wird als etwas "Demokratischeres". Es bedeutet natürlich nichts Geringeres als den Tod der Innerlichkeit - und des Buches. Dann wird es nicht mehr nötig sein, eine große Feuersbrunst zu entfachen. Die Barbaren brauchen die Bücher nicht zu verbrennen." Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag and son

Born 13 January 1933 in New York City. Her father, Jack Rosenblatt, died when she was five, and her mother, Mildred Jacobsen, married Nathan Sontag. They move to Los Angeles.

1949 Admitted to the University of Chicago. Continues graduate study at Harvard, St Anne's College, Oxford and the Sorbonne.

1950 Sontag marries Philip Rieff, a young teacher at Chicago, after a 10-day courtship. They divorce in 1958.

1952 David Rieff is born in Boston, Massachusetts, the only son of Susan and Philip.

1978-89 David Rieff works as a senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux with authors including Joseph Brodsky, Philip Roth - and Susan Sontag.

Sontag's books include four novels; a collection of short stories, I, etcetera (1977); several plays, and eight works of non-fiction, including On Photography (1976) and Regarding the Pain of Others (2003).

Rieff's books include Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West (1995) and At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention (2005).

· Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir is published by Granta, £12.99.

via wikipedia david rieff

Wikipedia Susan Sonntag incl. das 1.Kapitel aus Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir


Kurzgeschichte „Wie wir jetzt leben“, 1986

Virus und Kommunikation

Der stumme Kranke

Im Jahr 1986 schrieb Susan Sontag die Kurzgeschichte „Wie wir jetzt leben“. Sie handelt von einer anderen Viruskrise und zeigt, wie sich die Kommunikation nach einer Ansteckung verändert. Eine Warnung in Zeiten der Pandemie.



INTERVIEWER: When did you begin writing?


I’m not sure. But I know I was self-publishing when I was about nine; I started a four-page monthly newspaper, which I hectographed (a very primitive method of duplication) in about twenty copies and sold for five cents to the neighbors. The paper, which I kept going for several years, was filled with imitations of things I was reading. There were stories, poems and two plays that I remember, one inspired by ÄŒapek’s R.U.R., the other by Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Aria de Capo. And accounts of battles—Midway, Stalingrad, and so on; remember, this was 1942, 1943, 1944—dutifully condensed from articles in real newspapers.

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“Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution.” —Susan Sontag

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