14 March 2007

At The Same Time

I find Susan Sontag's writings on photography incredibly wrong-headed. But they obviously set the terms of critical discussion in many ways. I find her writings on art and aesthetics almost equally exasperating in part because, as she says in the 1996 afterword to Against Interpretation & Other Essays she too often writes as "a barely closeted moralist." But on such topics too she is forthright and provocative in many ways. I have often found her political broadsides inspiring, even if their force presumed a level of celebrity that she herself would want to disown. Having said all that, I today bought her most recent, posthumous collection At the Same Time: Essays & Speeches (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). In the book Sontag takes up a miscellany of subjects - literature, politics and photography. I suspect I'll use my long plane flight tomorrow as an occasion to be provoked and exasperated.

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