The Scandal of Susan Sontag

Edited by Barbara Ching and Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor

Columbia University Press

The Scandal of Susan Sontag

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Pub Date: November 2009

ISBN: 9780231149174

280 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.00£24.00

Pub Date: November 2009

ISBN: 9780231149167

280 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $95.00£70.00

Pub Date: November 2009

ISBN: 9780231520454

280 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $31.99£24.00

The Scandal of Susan Sontag

Edited by Barbara Ching and Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor

Columbia University Press

Susan Sontag (1933–2004) spoke of the promiscuity of art and literature—the 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 subjects—theater, sex, politics, novels, torture, and illness—and 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 Lover—these 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 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

[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

About the Author

Barbara Ching is an associate professor of English at the University of Memphis. She is the author of Wrong's What I Do Best: Hard Country Music and Contemporary Culture and the coeditor of Knowing Your Place: Rural Identity and Cultural Hierarchy.

Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor is associate professor of women's studies and English at Penn State University. She is the author of A Moment's Monument: Revisionary Poetics and the Nineteenth-Century Sonnet.