"This book is a smorgasbord of erudition and delight. Sontag is always searching for the ethical in oppositions: the body and the mind; being good and being intelligent; the political and the aesthetic; censorship and freedom; religion and atheism."
"When there is no censorship the writer has no importance. So it’s not so simple to be against censorship."
From As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980, by Susan Sontag. Picador, page 441. This quotation is from 1977.
"Being intelligent isn’t, for me, like doing something ‘better.’ It’s the only way I exist. If I’m not [being] intelligent, I hover near being catatonic."
From As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980, by Susan Sontag. Picador, page 350. This quotation is from 1973.
An oldie but a goodie: The Paris Review examines the bookshelves of medieval monks and contemporary writers.
“‘You can tell how serious people are by looking at their books,’” Susan Sontag told Sigrid Nunez, long ago when Nunez was dating Sontag’s son. “She meant not only what books they had on their shelves, but how the books were arranged,” Nunez explains. “Because of her, I arranged my own books by subject and in chronological rather than alphabetical order. I wanted to be serious.”
“Whoever invented marriage was an ingenious tormentor. It is an institution committed to the dulling of the feelings. The whole point of marriage is repetition. The best it aims for is the creation of strong, mutual dependencies.”
From Reborn: Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963, by Susan Sontag. Picador. This quotation is from 1956.
THE PICADOR BOOK ROOM is a group publishing blog maintained by the employees of Picador Books. Any views expressed in these posts are those of the authors listed below.