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Susan Sontag: A Biography Hardcover – August 15, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A decade after National Book Award winner Susan Sontag’s death, German critic Schreiber presents a supple biography focused primarily on her life of the mind. He does insightfully cover the biographical essentials: Sontag’s lonely, fatherless childhood in the Arizona desert, her starting college at 16, her early marriage to a professor and the birth of her son, her rejection of matrimony and academia, her bisexuality, and her extraordinary rise to fame as a fiercely independent and unceasingly controversial intellectual and activist. Schreiber chronicles the life-saving loyalty of Sontag’s publisher, Roger Straus, and considers the star power of Sontag’s “irresistible mixture of intelligence, hipness, sex, and beauty.” Voraciously curious world traveler Sontag immersed herself in literature, film, music, dance, art, and theater. Proud of her fiction, Sontag is renowned for her brilliantly intrepid essays about everything from illness to photography, works that erased the line between highbrow and popular cultures and mapped fresh aesthetic and moral terrain. Just as Sontag embraced European sensibilities, Schreiber brings a European perspective to his analysis of the complexities of Sontag’s fiery temperament, adventurously creative life, and profound achievements. --Donna Seaman

About the Author

DANIEL SCHREIBER is a Berlin-based writer. An art and literary critic, he contributes to numerous German and Swiss magazines and newspapers, including Die Zeit, DUdas Kulturmagazin, Philosophie Magazin, Litera turen, and Weltkunst, as well as the radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur. He is a columnist for the daily tazdie tageszeitung, and his essays on art and culture appear in a number of anthologies. He was previously contributing editor to Monopol and headed the culture section of the magazine Cicero.

DAVID DOLLENMAYER is emeritus professor of German at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is the winner of the 2008 Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for his translation of Moses Rosenkranz’s Childhood: An Autobiographical Fragment.

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; 1 edition (August 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810125838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810125834
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Flush on November 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this biography. I am a great admirer of Susan Sontag's criticism and have read the various published memoirs that concern her such as Nunez, Hitchens, White, Castle and others. Daniel Schreiber has added much to the picture that we have had of Sontag to date. He has interviewed important players in the story and provides much detail of the intellectual life of Sontag's time. Sontag was such an important figure and her books, notably Against Interpretation and Styles of Radical Will, are crucial landmarks our cultural history. I think Mr. Schreiber did her justice. I understand that there is an authorized biography in the works and I look forward to reading it as well. But there is no doubt that all future authors will be indebted to Mr. Schreiber's research and perceptions. Read this book if you are interested in learning about one of the twentieth century's towering critical figures! And of course read the texts themselves.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S-Bahn on August 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a truly engaging and comprehensive portrait of Susan Sontag that draws from a myriad of sources, including interviews of her contemporaries, letters, archives and diaries. Translated from the original German - a rare accomplishment in and of itself - the biography focuses on Sontag's achievements as a brilliant writer and intellectual. Daniel Schreiber's carefully researched work is the first of its kind in that it takes into account the entirety of Sontag's life story - from her childhood to the years spent carving out a role for herself as an intellectual woman. With great respect and admiration, Schreiber explores her legacy, while also shedding light on some of her deepest personal and professional dilemmas.
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I just love this biography - its sensitivity, the balance between facts, anecdotes and analysis. A page turner about one of the most fascinating characters of our times. Brilliantly told, beautifully written!
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