Susan Sontag

The Publisher That Brought Us Sontag and Burroughs Returns

One of the most influential and essential American literary publications will return to readers after a long hiatus. Today it was announced that Evergreen Review, the longtime project of storied editor and publisher Barney Rosset (who passed away in 2012), will return in a partnership with the independent publisher OR Books. The joint venture will bring Evergreen’s properties — including titles by Samuel Beckett and Marguerite Duras — under the management of OR’s innovative direct-to-consumer publishing model. … Read More

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25 Essential Books About Death and Grief

If there’s one thing that every human on this earth has in common, it is that, at some point, we will have to deal with death. And while the contours of grief are different in every case, it is a comfort in a wild epoch to know that there are books out there, nonfiction and fiction, memoirs and beyond, that can provide something like comfort and succor. Here are 25 books that look straight into the face of death and reveal something new about what it’s like to be alive, saddled with that terrible knowledge that, someday, we will… Read More

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50 Books Guaranteed to Make You More Interesting

Everybody out there could stand to be a little more interesting. Yes, even you, trilingual lion-tamer astrophysicist reader. And you know what makes you more interesting? Books, of course. (You knew it was going to be books, because you’re already a little interesting) But not just any books. Some books have more capacity to raise your interest level than others. Here’s a list of 50 books that will make you smarter, funnier, deeper, and yes, more interesting — at least to some… Read More

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Was Susan Sontag the Last Public Intellectual? Nancy Kates on Making ‘Regarding Susan Sontag’

Trying to capture the range and brilliance of the late Susan Sontag, perhaps our most illuminating public intellectual, is a heady task, but documentarian Nancy Kates does a wonderful job of it in her documentary Regarding Susan Sontag. I went into this movie seeing Sontag as an idea, a voice on a page, and I came out of it with far more clarity about who Sontag was as a woman. Not just the quick-witted, sharp-barbed thinker who was able to clarify and elucidate our greatest achievements and most horrifying fears; she was, above all, a person, with all that entails — difficult and prickly, brave and curious, maddening and enlightening. Regarding Susan Sontag premieres on HBO Monday, December 8, and I took the chance to talk to Kates about how the documentary came together. … Read More

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35 Susan Sontag Quotes on Art, Writing, and Life

Susan Sontag’s prose style captivated readers, and her assertive critical stance never failed to invite controversy. This month marks the tenth anniversary of the author’s passing, and the documentary Regarding Susan Sontag airs on HBO tonight. In honor of both occasions, we revisited her journals and books to find some of Sontag’s most thought-provoking quotes on everything from relationships and art to war and pop… Read More

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Kim Kardashian’s Naked ‘Paper’ Magazine Cover Is About Camp, Not Sex

If sex is funny, then the butt is its punchline. Kim Kardashian’s greased-up naked ass coming out of a dress that looks like a trash bag on the cover of Paper Magazine isn’t best understood as wet-dream fodder, though I’m sure many young men will add it to their fapping collections alongside the sex tape that made Kardashian a household name. Rather, Kim K’s cover is a glorious joke, the most spectacular bit of trolling in the “Year of the Ass,” a declaration that says, “I am willingly objectifying myself, but I’m not taking myself too seriously.” It is pure camp. In fact, it’s a brilliant example of that sensibility — and on that count, more credit is due to Paper than to Kim, though it certainly portrays a different side of her too (HAR HAR). … Read More

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50 Essays Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person

It’s hard to be a person in the world today — or, really, any day, but today’s what we’ve got. Humans are striving creatures, and also empathetic ones, so most of us are always looking for an opportunity to improve ourselves, even in tiny, literary ways. We’ve already established that novels can make you a better person, but of course, novels also take you down a long winding road to get there. If you’re looking for a more direct shot to the heart, try an essay. After the jump, you’ll find 50 essays more or less guaranteed to make you a better person — or at least a better-read one — some recommended by notables of the literary and literary nonfiction world, some recommended by yours truly, incessant consumer of the written word. Don’t see the essay that changed your life? Please do add it to the list. … Read More

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Notes on a Budding Public Intellectual: An Excerpt From Daniel Schreiber’s Susan Sontag Biography

The first biography to be published after the writer and public intellectual’s death in 2004, Daniel Schreiber’s Susan Sontag has been translated from German into English, for release in America by Northwestern University Press, at a time when its subject’s star is the brightest it’s been since her passing. With her legacy well established, a new generation of writers is looking to Sontag as the gold standard for cultural criticism. … Read More

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Susan Hashtag, Oh No She Didion’t, and Other Punny Illustrations of Cultural Icons

Catherine Pearson’s Vaguely Important People series offers irreverent twists on subjects most would consider very important: from W.B. Yeats to Susan Sontag, Pearson tweaks art museum and college bookshelf staples into playful, pun-laden illustrations. Considering Sontag’s views on photography, we don’t imagine she’d be too happy with her portrait as a selfie-taking hashtag addict, but along with “DJ W.B. Beatz” and “Jane Birkinstock,” she’s certainly in good company. All of Pearson’s prints are available for purchase here; click through for a look at a sampling of her VIPs. … Read More

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