“Author photographs, in the 1960s, were increasingly put to bold use. Susan Sontag pops out of a 1963 ad for her first novel, The Benefactor, glancing provocatively from the page as if she were an intellectual Cleopatra.”
—from Read Me: A Century of Classic American Book Advertisements by Dwight Garner, via.
Art is a form of nourishment (of consciousness, the spirit)
Aphorisms are rogue ideas. Aphorism is aristocratic thinking: this is all the aristocrat is willing to tell you: he thinks you should get it fast, without spelling out all the details. Aphoristic thinking constructs thinking as an obstacle race: the reader is expected to get it fast, and move on. An aphorism is not an argument; it is too well-bred for that. To write aphorisms is to assume a mask—a mask of scorn, of superiority.
“This is why speech is so much easier + more copious compared to the labor of keeping a journal + the pathetic paucity of entries over months of time as compared to all that one says in a single evening.”
From Reborn: Journals & Notebooks 1947 - 1963, by Susan Sontag. Picador, page 80. This quotation is from 1955.
“The masculinization of homosexuality—no longer alienated; no longer identify with culture (against nature). Being homosexual no longer facilitates a critical attitude to society. Now h’s affirm some of the worst, +most conventional, tastes of his society: sexism (hatred of women), consumerism, brutality, promiscuity emotional dissociation.”
From As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980, by Susan Sontag. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, page 506. This quotation is from 1980.
(a) That there is no personal god or life after death
(b) That the most desirable thing in the world is free to be true to oneself, i.e., Honesty
(c) That the only difference between human beings is intelligence
(d) That the criterion of an action is its ultimate effect on making the individual happy or unhappy
(e) That it is wrong to deprive any man of life
From Reborn: Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963, by Susan Sontag. Picador, page 3. This quotation is from 1947.
Harriet said something very striking yesterday, apropos of Sam W.’s enormous library, that collecting books in that way was “like marrying someone in order to sleep with him.”
From Reborn: Journals & Notebooks 1947 - 1963, by Susan Sontag. Picador, page 190. This quotation is from 1958.
“Problem of writing a novel now: No story seems that important to tell. Why? Because we are unable to draw any moral (meaning: judgment) from it. Tolstoy has subjects: the nature of marriage (ANNA KARENINA); of history, etc. (WAR AND PEACE). … If no story [,no] narrative seems that important or necessary. The only material that seems to have any character of inevitability is the writer’s own consciousness.”
From As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980, by Susan Sontag. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, page 416. This quotation is from 1977.
“Only thing Fitzgerald wrote that will last is THE GREAT GATSBY—- the rest (TENDER IS THE NIGHT, THE LAST TYCOON) is midcult junk.”
From As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980, by Susan Sontag. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, page 409. This quotation is from 1976.
“Intelligence—beyond a certain point—is a liability to the artist. Leonardo da Vinci and Duchamp were too intelligent to be painters. They saw through it …”
From As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980, by Susan Sontag. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, p. 384. This quote is from 1975.
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