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Twenty-six years after the publication of her influential collection of essays On Photography (1977), Sontag (In America) reconsiders ideas that are "now fast approaching the status of platitudes," especially the view that our capacity to respond to images of war and atrocity is being dulled by "the relentless diffusion of vulgar and appalling images" in our rapaciously media-driven culture. Sontag opens by describing Virginia Woolf's essay on the roots of war, "Three Guineas," in which Woolf described a set of gruesome photographs of mutilated bodies and buildings destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. Woolf wondered if there truly can be a "we" between man and woman in matters of war. Sontag sets out to reopen and enlarge the question. "No `we' should be taken for granted when the subject is looking at other people's pain," she writes. The "we" that Sontag has come to be much more aware of in the decades since On Photography is the world of the rich. She has come to doubt her youthful contention that repeated exposure to images of suffering necessarily shrivels sympathy, and she doubts even more the radical yet influential spin that others put on this critique-that reality itself has become a spectacle. "To speak of reality becoming a spectacle... universalizes the viewing habits of a small, educated population living in the rich part of the world...." Sontag reminds us that sincerity can turn a mere spectator into a witness, and that it is the heart rather than fancy rhetoric that can lead the mind to understanding.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The impact of violent images: Sontag's first full-length work on imagery since her acclaimed On Photography 25 years ago.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
First of all, my condolences...I didn't even know that Susan Sontag died...ten years ago. I know, it sounds lame. But to me she is still alive! I have met her in Paris. Read morePublished 11 months ago by FJNanic
The book was delivered in a timely way. Its what I expected and i am very happy with it.Published 12 months ago by JR
They were so nice, I wrote a review, I didn't mean for it to be bad. But they were so nice and above my expectations. I just wanted to tell them how nice they were. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jenny Pace
Sontag's little book contains deep reflections on the effects of violent and brutal image on the audience. It raises a lot of critical issues. Read morePublished 16 months ago by dominic yang
I am on my third reading of this book. Every now and then, I come across a book that I want to have in my back pocket to read in those quiet moments for inspiration--this is one... Read morePublished 16 months ago by M. Schirack