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Extracts from the journals of Susan Sontag
September 14, 2006 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Extracts from the journals of Susan Sontag dating from the 1950s and 1960s were published in this morning's Guardian G2.
posted by nthdegx (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's always a little disappointing to read the posthumous journal entries of a favorite essayist - journals almost always create a false impression that the writer is vain, arrogant and totally self-infatuated. You have to constantly remind yourself that the writer in question would probably have been mortified by the thought that millions were reading their private entries.
posted by slatternus at 10:28 AM on September 14, 2006


The journals will not be fully publishnes for a few years. For a writer so gifted, her pieces given here and in the New York Times Magazine Section not very exciting.
posted by Postroad at 10:30 AM on September 14, 2006


"You have to constantly remind yourself that the writer in question would probably have been mortified by the thought that millions were reading their private entries."

Heh - maybe, but did you read it?

"Confessions, I mean sincere confessions of course, can be more shallow than actions. I am thinking now of what I read today in H's journal about me - that curt, unfair, uncharitable assessment of me which concludes by her saying that she really doesn't like me but my passion for her is acceptable and opportune. God knows it hurts, and I feel indignant and humiliated. We rarely do know what people think of us (or, rather, think they think of us) . . . Do I feel guilty about reading what was not intended for my eyes? No. One of the main (social) functions of a journal or diary is precisely to be read furtively by other people, the people (like parents + lovers) about whom one has been cruelly honest only in the journal. Will H ever read this?"
posted by nthdegx at 10:35 AM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


"...and my habit of criticising people if other people invite it ... I have always betrayed people to each other. No wonder I've been so high-minded and scrupulous about how I use the word "friend"!"

Some interesting reading in there. Also enjoy her lists, even though I don't understand some of the items.
posted by artifarce at 10:48 AM on September 14, 2006


NYC with its intelligentsia, its liberal consensus, is in relationship to the rest of USA like Vatican in the midst of Italy, a tiny private state with immense power + wealth, but separate...

One of my strongest and most fully employed emotions: contempt. Contempt for others, contempt for myself...

Joe [Chaikin] asks me tonight how I feel when I discover, say, three-fours through something I'm writing that it is mediocre, inferior. I reply that I feel good and plow on to the end. I'm discharging the mediocre in myself. (My excremental image of my writing.) It's there. I want to get rid of it. I can't negate it by an act of will. (Or can I?) I can only allow it its voice, get it "out". Then I can do something else. At least, I know I won't need to do that again.

In Calif, a stranger is a [potential] friend until he proves otherwise; in NY, a stranger is an enemy until he proves otherwise. One uses up a lot of energy in NY by that hypothesis...
An intelligent thinking human being revealed--it is not without interest.
posted by y2karl at 11:11 AM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Her take on 911.
Note the date.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:33 PM on September 14, 2006


previously on mefi: broadcast interview, offline article on the face of war, nyt obit, new yorker op-eds, on the great atlantic divide

books and writers, wikipedia

regarding the torture of others, notes on camp
posted by ravelite at 4:39 PM on September 14, 2006


"I believe that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:10 PM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sontag's writing is acidic and even venomous. She's the classic 'internet troll' done up in ribbons and bows of academic praise.
posted by Sukiari at 1:58 PM on September 15, 2006


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