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As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 19, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified 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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2014
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.) "Liberalism" seems a vast, obscure, swampy territory one never emerges from, no matter how one tries - and perhaps never should."

A book to ponder.

Anyway...great read.

Craig Middleton
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Her journals are dense and an education in themselves...worth the lists she endlessly makes: what to see, listen to, view and read. A good investment, especially off Amazon.
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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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on March 25, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
No Susan Sontag fan should be without it. Hey David Rieff, When is the 3rd volume coming out?
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It is known that Susan was hungry for words, was an avid consumer of culture and generator of knowledge - here we are able to see a bit more of the woman, now more mature, behind the books, chronicles and essays.

If you are looking for inspiration, give this book a try.
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on December 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Utterly fascinating. I really enjoyed this volume.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Excellent condition and a great book dealer.
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