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As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980 Hardcover – April 10, 2012

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As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980 + Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963 + Against Interpretation: And Other Essays
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374100764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374100766
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As in Reborn (2008), the first volume in the planned Sontag journals and notebooks trilogy, Sontag’s son, David Rieff, begins the second with a strikingly candid introduction. In the full-tilt, questioning, and expressive entries that follow, Sontag suffers epically over love and heartbreak in her relationships with women and her hasty marriage and grapples with haunting memories of her wounding childhood. Angst blooms repeatedly, followed by self-chiding for her emotional turmoil and an oft-repeated refrain, “I must be strong.” Toward her son, adoration flows unstintingly, however self-sustainingly. “One thing I know: if I hadn’t had David, I would have killed myself last year.” A champion list-maker, Sontag keeps track of books, movies, resolutions, even “qualities that turn me on.” Her journals accompany her all over the world as her stature rises. She writes incisively about the many remarkable writers, dancers, and artists she meets, and she is happiest recounting time spent with Joseph Brodsky. A truly moving and illuminating chronicle of the vital inner life of an exceptionally nuanced thinker and risk-taking artist coming into her full powers. --Donna Seaman

From Bookforum

Sontag is an enthusiast but not, properly speaking, a popularizer; she writes for the initiate, not the naif. The seduction of her sentences is their hardness and authority; they could never be accused of a light touch. She wears her learning like chain mail. —Christine Smallwood

More About the Author

Susan Sontag was born in Manhattan in 1933 and studied at the universities of Chicago, Harvard and Oxford. She is the author of four novels, a collection of stories, several plays, and six books of essays, among them Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. 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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on June 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The second volume of Susan Sontag's collected journals is an extraordinary testament to her brilliance and devotion to the creative life. This volume presents the perhaps the most productive and significant phase of her career as she publishes the major essays that were to appear in Against Interpretation. Here we find a truly voracious artist and intellectual-a thinker struggling with the tumultuous events of her time and struggling to develop a unique voice. Of course, we are entitled to see her lists-lists of authors, of movies, endless lists cataloging the trajectory of her creative life. There are really great and moving passages here-passages of vulnerability and self-doubt. Her personal life emerges as fairly frought and precarious. I was also suprised to see a great paucity of entries detailing her battle with cancer. Her son, David Rieff, has edited this collection. His comments reduce her work to that of a political commentator. I do not fully agree with his judgment that the reflections and entries about her trip to Vietnam are wise and incisive. And her trajectory as a political thinker was actually rather average for her generation. Yet was remains here, I believe, was the life of a real intellectual and artist. A thinker who devoted her undeniable gifts to novels, stories, film, and among the greatest American essays in modern letters.
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Format: Hardcover
"Not Worthy"

Completed reading "As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh"- Journals & Notebooks - 1964-1980 by Susan Sontag. In most cases, find reviewing a text or film a natural act. Over the years have written hundreds of reviews without a second thought. Sitting down to write about Sontag leaves me humble and unworthy.

It was my second year at university where Sontag was introduced; the text: "Against Interpretation", a collection of essays that shot this intellectual into the spotlight revealing her depth of thought and original notions about literature art and philosophy. We were required to write a 2000 word essay on the text, her propositions and ideas concerning literary theory. Well, dug around my files and found "that" essay, believing it might help with the review. The paper yellowing with age and written with my then, trusty electric typewriter - received a "Distinction", equivalent to a "B"; after reading this piece after so many years, I laughed ! Thinking , 'Courage in youth', what did my professor see in this rubbish to give me a "B"? Ah the audacity of my youth! I was wrong, the old essay did not help one bit.

It's true: The older and more you know, one realizes, the less you know.

Susan Sontag was one of the great literary critics of the 20th century - a novelist, filmmaker, and mostly, a life-long student of politics, philosophy, art the written word.

Down the line, might write a review but, at this moment, feeling:

"... not worthy!"

A favourite:

"Intellectuals played at crusaders and revolutionaries only to discover they were all patricians and liberals. (As kids played at being urban guerrillas and settled for being punks.
Read more ›
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Suzinne Barrett VINE VOICE on July 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've always had a thing for Susan Sontag. I guess it started w/ her appearance - tall and dark and knowing. But as for her actual writing, that's where I've had trouble connecting. This is the second of her journals to be published, and it's an interesting read. It's not revealing personality wise like other journals can be, however. In her journal, Susan just jotted down observations, notes to self, impression of friends, lovers or other people she's connected with. Not everything she writes has meaning for the uninformed reader. I know some about Susan Sontag, but to fully understand these writings, there's a lot of connecting the dots. Susan was a serious thinker and certainly known for her intellect, so it's well worth the effort to understand her intentions.

That said, her son David Rieff, is the editor of this journal (as well as the previous volume). He's a less intrusive presence here, and that just might be because readers complained about the previous volume. My only negative comment about this book is it's rather "heavy." Certainly, not beach reading. Some books you can pick up any old time and enjoy, but reading this one can easily leads toward introspection and just basic existential anxiety.

My advice: take to bed with an Ambien, perhaps?
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