Susan Sontag (1933–2004) spoke of the promiscuity of art and literaturethe willingness of great artists and writers to scandalize their spectators through critical frankness, complexity, and beauty. Sontag's life and thought were no less promiscuous. She wrote deeply and engagingly about a range of subjectstheater, sex, politics, novels, torture, and illnessand courted celebrity and controversy both publicly and privately. Throughout her career, she not only earned adulation but also provoked scorn. Her living was the embodiment of scandal.
In this collection, Terry Castle, Nancy K. Miller, Wayne Koestenbaum, E. Ann Kaplan, and other leading scholars revisit Sontag's groundbreaking life and work. Against Interpretation, "Notes on Camp," Letter from Hanoi, On Photography, Illness as Metaphor, I, Etcetera, and The Volcano Loverthese works form the center of essays no less passionate and imaginative than Sontag herself. Debating questions raised by the thinker's own images and identities, including her sexuality, these works question Sontag's status as a female intellectual and her parallel interest in ambitious and prophetic fictional women; her ambivalence toward popular culture; and her personal and professional "scandals." Paired with rare photographs and illustrations, this timely anthology expands our understanding of Sontag's images and power.
"[The Scandal of Susan Sontag] yields new insights on a most complex sensibility... with sophisticated admiration... [and] the requisite doses of wit." — Publishers Weekly
"An exhilarating read that succeeds in constructing a complex and multi-faceted portrait of the woman and her ideas, which remain as vital and thought-provoking as ever.The West AustralianThe West Australian" — The West Australian
"The Scandal of Susan Sontag offers revealing insights into the work of one of America's most famous and provocative intellectuals" — Charles Green, The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review
"The Scandal of Susan Sontag includes essays by well-known critics who bring pertinent areas of expertise to bear on an iconic figure. Considering not only Sontag's essays and novels but also her forays into theater, film, and painting, this anthology impressively covers her extensive corpus." — Susan D. Fraiman, University of Virginia