Susan Sontag Sontag, Susan (Vol. 195) - Essay


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Susan Sontag 1933 -

American essayist, novelist, short-story writer, critic, playwright, screenplay writer, and film director.

The following entry provides an overview of Sontag's career through 2004. See also Susan Sontag Criticism (Volume 1), and Volumes 2, 10, 31, 105.

Sontag is widely noted as one of the most influential and controversial contemporary American essayists and social commentators. Considered a popular icon for her role in the development of modern culture and intellectual thought, Sontag addresses issues of interpretation and has exposed Americans to the works of modern European intellectuals. Through her essays on illness, she has discredited many of the misinformed opinions and negative associations attached to such diseases as cancer and AIDS, and she has argued for a new understanding of disease based on clinical evidence and free from social stigma. In her fiction Sontag frequently experiments with form and style and uses narrative to underscore the universality of human emotion and actions, to illustrate the fine line between reality and fiction, and to ponder the bounds of free will.

Biographical Information

Sontag was born on January 16, 1933, in New York City, but spent her youth in Tucson and Los Angeles. She was a gifted student and skipped several years in school, graduating from high school at age fifteen. She then entered the University of California, Berkeley, and transferred after one year to the University of Chicago, where she earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1951. While attending the University of Chicago, Sontag met Philip Rieff, a social psychologist. The couple married in 1950 and had a son, David, but divorced nine years later. Sontag pursued graduate studies at Harvard from 1951 to 1957, earning master's degrees in English (1954) and philosophy (1955). She later continued her graduate studies at St. Anne's College, Oxford, and at the Sorbonne, Paris. Sontag was a regular contributor to the Partisan Review, Harper's Weekly, the Nation, and the New York Review of Books while holding teaching positions at institutions including the University of Connecticut, City College of the City University of New York, Sarah Lawrence College, and Rutgers University. Sontag soon retired from her academic career and began writing full-time; her first novel, The Benefactor, was published in 1963 and her first collection of essays, Against Interpretation and Other Essays, appeared in 1966. In the early 1970s Sontag was diagnosed with breast cancer and her experiences with disease as well as others' reaction to it served as the basis for her Illness as a Metaphor (1978), which in turn led to the writing of AIDS and Its Metaphors (1989). In the early 1990s, Sontag made numerous trips to war-torn Yugoslavia for humanitarian purposes. While there, she also directed a production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Sontag has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a National Book Award nomination in 1966 for Against Interpretation and Other Essays, a National Book Critics Circle prize in 1978 for On Photography (1977), and the National Book Award in 2000 for the novel In America (2000).

Major Works

Sontag addresses social, artistic, and political issues, as well as contemporary complacency in her essays. In her first collection, Against Interpretation and Other Essays, Sontag eschewed standard critical methods that rely on analysis of content and various levels of meaning, asserting instead that the function of criticism is to show “how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than show what it means.” Included in this collection is the famous essay “Notes on ‘Camp’,” in which Sontag defends “camp” as a serious art form. Styles of Radical Will (1969) contains the essay “The Pornographic Imagination,” in which Sontag argues that pornography is a valid literary genre. Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors both deal with the way in which western society interprets and creates cultural myths about diseases. In Illness as Metaphor, Sontag examines the stigma associated with cancer and cancer patients and attempts to defuse the negative power that words have in dealing with such an illness. She takes this approach one step further in AIDS and Its Metaphors exposing misconceptions and confusion about AIDS and AIDS patients. Under the Sign of Saturn (1980) is a volume of essays that explore theories in literary criticism. Sontag further delves into the arts and the artist in Where the Stress Falls (2001); this volume also includes the essay titled “Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo,” which focuses on her time in Sarajevo during the war in Yugoslavia. Sontag studies photographs and images and their effects on viewers in On Photography and Regarding the Pain of Others (2003) and comments on humanity's reaction to and morbid fascination with photos and images of the pain of others. Sontag emphasizes the dangerous desensitizing of Westerners who are bombarded by such images on television, in magazines, and films. Sontag has also written several works of fiction, including a play, Alice in Bed (1993), about Alice James, sister to Henry and William James; the novels The Benefactor and Death Kit (1967); and a collection of short stories titled I, etcetera (1978). Most notable among her fiction are The Volcano Lover (1992) and In America (2000). The Volcano Lover is an unusual account of Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson's love affair as told from the point of view of Hamilton's husband, Sir William Hamilton. This novel provides a sweeping look at Italian society between 1764 and 1780, with which the author contrasts contemporary culture and highlights the timeless repetition of human folly and foibles. In America is also a historical novel, and concerns a Polish actress and immigrant and her quest for fame, fortune, and the American dream.

Critical Reception

Sontag's work has generated much reaction from reviewers and ordinary readers alike. Many of her views have run contrary to majority political and intellectual thought and Sontag has actually reversed some of her earlier opinions. Her studies of American culture have earned her both favorable and negative criticism, as well as observations that her own work proves her points in ironic, presumably unintentional ways. For example, some commentators have asserted that her essays censuring American culture of the 1960s and early 1970s are actually themselves a product of the era's discourse. While some reviewers have praised her novel interpretation of modern culture and her championing of contemporary European writers and intellectuals, others contend that Sontag's arguments are not supported adequately and that she often diverges from her central themes. Sontag's groundbreaking works on the power of words to create associations for certain physical ailments are universally well received. Although some note that Sontag's use of epigrams and clichés is at times tedious, most critics approve of her descriptive narrative style and her depiction of historical trends and settings, praising her experiments with language and literary form.

Principal Works

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Benefactor (novel) 1963

Against Interpretation and Other Essays (essays) 1966

Death Kit (novel) 1967

Duet for Cannibals [and director] (screenplay) 1969

Styles of Radical Will (essays) 1969

Trip to Hanoi (essay) 1969

Brother Carl: A Filmscript [and director] (screenplay) 1971

Promised Lands [and director] (screenplay) 1974

On Photography (nonfiction) 1977

I, etcetera (short stories) 1978

Illness as Metaphor (nonfiction) 1978

Under the Sign of Saturn (essays) 1980

A Susan Sontag Reader (essay collection) 1982

Unguided Tour [and director] (screenplay) 1983

“The Way We Live Now” [republished as a novella in 1991] (short story) 1986

AIDS and Its Metaphors (nonfiction) 1989

The Volcano Lover: A Romance (novel) 1992

Alice in Bed: A Play in Eight Scenes (drama) 1993

In America: A Novel (novel) 2000

Where the Stress Falls (essays) 2001

Regarding the Pain of Others (nonfiction) 2003

John Simon (review date 15 December 1980)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Simon, John. “From Sensibility toward Sense.” New Leader 63, no. 23 (15 December 1980): 22-4.

[In the following review, Simon judges that many of the phrases in Sontag's collection Under the Sign of Saturn are nonsensical and overly verbose, creating confusion for the reader.]

According to an adage that often performs also as an analogy, if we watched ourselves walking, we could not walk at all. In the process of speculating about just how we propel ourselves forward by putting one foot in front of the other, we would end up paralyzed or falling on our faces. Whether or not this is the truth about ambulation, it unfortunately is not true of...

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Walter Goodman (review date 13 December 1982)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Goodman, Walter. “Fair Game.” New Leader 65, no. 23 (13 December 1982): 9-10.

[In the following review of A Susan Sontag Reader, Goodman studies the vehemence and political leanings of Sontag's essays throughout her career. Goodman asserts that Sontag is becoming less radical and extremist as she matures, detecting a more moderate stance in her views and writings.]


Her position has been certified everywhere from Vogue to Rolling Stone. Readers of People magazine know her as “America's prima intellectual assoluta,” and she also holds the ambiguous title of “the Natalie...

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Geoff Dyer (review date 17 March 1989)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Dyer, Geoff. “The Way We Live Now.” New Statesman 2, no. 41 (17 March 1989): 34-5.

[In the following review, Dyer judges Sontag as a master of the essay form, praising her work AIDS and Its Metaphors as well as the earlier essay Illness as Metaphor.]

Twelve years ago, when Susan Sontag became a cancer patient, she felt compelled to write a book about the disease, not a confessional account of the struggle against illness—“a narrative, it seemed to me, would be less useful than an idea”—but a broader genealogy and history of the metaphors associated with disease. Like a vaccine for which the world had been waiting, Illness as Metaphor...

(The entire section is 664 words.)

Sara Maitland (review date 25 March 1989)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Maitland, Sara. “Practising Safe Language.” Spectator 262, no. 8385 (25 March 1989): 29.

[In the following review, Maitland agrees with Sontag's assessment in AIDS and Its Metaphors that society views certain diseases as more than physical ailments, but also as social issues centering on the contraction of the disease.]

Compared to heart attacks, cancer, even road deaths, few people have died of Aids. Yet we have rushed to attach meaning to the condition more than to any other. (We have proliferated so much meaning, indeed, that we have, by and large, lost any sense: ‘God's punishment on homosexuals’ suggests a very bizarre...

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Leon S. Roudiez (review date autumn 1989)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Roudiez, Leon S. Review of AIDS and Its Metaphors, by Susan Sontag. World Literature Today 63, no. 4 (autumn 1989): 685.

[In the following review, Roudiez contends that AIDS and Its Metaphors is not as cohesive as Illness as Metaphor, but contends that the new essay effectively clarifies confusing facts and misconceptions regarding AIDS.]

In Illness as Metaphor (1977) Susan Sontag had contrasted tuberculosis, the disease that the nineteenth century found “interesting” and even “romantic,” with the “great epidemic diseases of the past, which strike each person as a member of an afflicted community.” In the seventies it was...

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Sohnya Sayres (essay date autumn 1989)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sayres, Sohnya. “Susan Sontag and the Practice of Modernism.” American Literary History 1, no. 3 (autumn 1989): 593-611.

[In the following essay, Sayres examines both Sontag's fiction and her essays, focusing on her epigrammatic style, her multilayered studies into contradictions and negations, and modernist theories.]

Most of Sontag's fictional characters are neither heroes nor antiheroes as we have come to understand these figures. They lack the appeal of having mirrored our condition, satirically or otherwise. They live too separately; they are too much governed by dreams. In a sense, her fiction itself displays what the characters suffer...

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Harriet Gilbert (essay date 29 March 1991)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gilbert, Harriet. “Education of the Heart.” New Statesman and Society 4, no. 144 (29 March 1991): 23-4.

[In the following essay, Gilbert discusses Sontag's writings on cancer and AIDS, using interview quotes to illustrate the author's opinions and confusion surrounding the social implications involved with these diseases.]

Like Woody Allen in Zelig, Susan Sontag appears to have been there, boots planted centre-stage, at every cultural high spot of the last quarter-century: the “youth movement” of the 1960s; opposition to the Vietnam war; feminism; anti-censorship … Aptly enough, she even popped up in Zelig itself.


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Elin Elgaard (review date autumn 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Elgaard, Elin. Review of The Volcano Lover, by Susan Sontag. World Literature Today 67, no. 4 (autumn 1993): 825-26.

[In the following review, Elgaard finds flaws in the narrative style in The Volcano Lover, yet compliments Sontag's characterizations, and especially the development of the protagonist, Emma.]

Set in revolution-threatened, late-eighteenth-century Naples and subtitled “A Romance,” The Volcano Lover casts a net of passions: a British envoy's for Vesuvius, his first wife Catherine's for him, his own for second wife Emma, and finally hers, requited, for Admiral Nelson. Crisscrossing the net run other loves: the...

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Tess Lewis (review date spring 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lewis, Tess. “Wild Fancies.” Belles Lettres 9, no. 3 (spring 1994): 25-6.

[In the following review, Lewis provides a negative assessment of Alice in Bed, contending that the character's words and actions are inaccurate, implausible, and laden with banalities and trite cliches.]

“How wild can be the fancies of the unimaginative female!” the bedridden Alice James wrote in her diary in 1891. Unfortunately, wild, self-indulgent fancy rather than quickening imagination is the guiding spirit of Alice in Bed, Susan Sontag's play based on Henry and William James's invalid sister. Intended as a play “about women, about women's anguish and women's...

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Susan Sontag and Edward Hirsch (interview date July 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sontag, Susan, and Edward Hirsch. “Susan Sontag: The Art of Fiction CXLIII.” Paris Review 37, no. 137 (winter 1995): 176-208.

[In the following interview, conducted in July, 1994, Sontag reveals the authors who have inspired and influenced her literary career, comments on the craft of writing, and elaborates on the different approaches she takes between writing essays and writing fiction.]

Susan Sontag was interviewed in her Manhattan apartment on three blisteringly hot days in July, 1994. She had been traveling back and forth to Sarajevo—she has now been there nine times—and it was gracious of her to set aside time for the interview. Sontag is a...

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Stacy Olster (essay date spring 1995)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Olster, Stacy. “Remakes, Outtakes, and Updates in Susan Sontag's The Volcano Lover.Modern Fiction Studies 41, no. 1 (spring 1995): 117-39.

[In the following essay, Olster analyzes the imagery and the romantic form of The Volcano Lover, examining the novel within the context of postmodern theories and focusing on Sontag's use of language to depict the continuity of human experiences and actions through the ages.]

Our friend Sir William is well. He has lately got a piece of modernity from England which I am afraid will fatigue and exhaust him more than all the Volcanos and antiquities in the Kingdom of Naples.


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Roger Kimball (essay date February 1998)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kimball, Roger. “Reflections on a Cultural Revolution-VI: The New Sensibility.” New Criterion 16, no. 6 (February 1998): 5-11.

[In the following essay, Kimball explores the inconsistencies he has found in several of Sontag's essays. Kimball argues against many of Sontag's conclusions, noting that she frequently contradicts herself in her own essays.]

Everyone who feels bored cries out for change. With this demand I am in complete sympathy, but it is necessary to act in accordance with some settled principle. … Nil admirari [nothing is to be marveled at] is … the real philosophy. No moment must be permitted so great a...

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Michael Silverblatt (review date 27 February 2000)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Silverblatt, Michael. “For You O Democracy.” Los Angeles Times Book Review (27 February 2000): 1-2.

[In the following review, Silverblatt comments on the disillusionment and Americanization of the characters in Sontag's novel In America.]


Susan Sontag's new novel is a brilliant and profound investigation into the fate of thought and culture in America. Like Sontag's previous novel, The Volcano Lover, In America masquerades as historical fiction, flaunting the stuff of drama and romance. It is something restless, hybrid, disturbing, original.

At its center is a true story. As Sontag tells us in a...

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James Wood (review date 27 March 2000)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wood, James. “The Palpable Past-Intimate.” New Republic 222, no. 13 (27 March 2000): 29-33.

[In the following review, Wood contends that in contemporary society the historical novel has become an overworked and tedious genre, but that In America is an exception, characterizing the book as nicely balanced with insight, theatricality, and riveting narration.]

Is it still possible to write the historical novel? There would seem to be powerful arguments, and powerful modern instances, against it. First, it is the least innocent of forms in an all-too-knowing age; one might say, paradoxically, that at this late stage it represents the novel at its most...

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Carl Rollyson (review date April 2000)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rollyson, Carl. “The Will & the Way.” New Criterion 18, no. 8 (April 2000): 80-2.

[In the following review, Rollyson judges Sontag's In America as a trite, underdeveloped historical novel.]

In America begins with an epigraph from Langston Hughes: “America will be!” It is a fitting start to the story of a group of Poles who travel to Anaheim, California in 1876 to establish a utopian community. Their leader is Maryna Zaleska, Poland's greatest actress, who has forsaken her career in order to establish a farming commune. She is aware of the likelihood of failure, but the romance of starting anew, the challenge of succeeding where...

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Diana Postlewaite (review date June 2000)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Postlewaite, Diana. “Scene Stealer.” Women's Review of Books 17, no. 9 (June 2000): 5-6.

[In the following review, Postlewaite maintains that In America is not only a superbly written historical novel, but that Sontag's characterization of protagonist Maryna provides insight into Sontag's mind and personality.]

In 1992, critics were surprised and readers delighted when Susan Sontag, formidable essayist of the au courant, published The Volcano Lover, a romantic historical fiction set in late eighteenth-century Naples. And now she's done it again: a nineteenth-century tale based on the true story of Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska, who...

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Sven Birkerts (review date October 2000)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Birkerts, Sven. “Fiction in Review.” Yale Review 88, no. 4 (October 2000): 158-62.

[In the following review, Birkerts contends that In America lacks dramatic tension and character plausibility.]

“In place of a hermeneutics,” wrote Susan Sontag in 1964 at the conclusion of her essay “Against Interpretation,” “we need an erotics of art.” It may have been the first arresting formulation in what has become a venerable career of pronouncements and instigatory postures, not to mention achieved works of prose in diverse genres. Through it all—and because of it all—Sontag has made herself into one of our very few brand-name intellectuals. She...

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Michael Wood (review date summer 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wood, Michael. “Susan Sontag and the American Will.” Raritan 21, no. 1 (summer 2001): 141-47.

[In the following review, Wood analyzes the depiction of self-determination in In America, noting that many of Sontag's theories on society, American culture, and human will are apparent in the novel.]

For Roland Barthes photographs were announcements of mortality, “imperious signs” of future death. The characters in Susan Sontag's new novel feel the same but at the moment of being photographed, not when they contemplate the result. And what dies for them is not a self but a project, a hope. In the very act of photography, one character writes—we are...

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Scott McLemee (review date 16 September 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: McLemee, Scott. “Notes from the Pedestal.” Washington Post Book World (16 September 2001): 9.

[In the following review, McLemee expresses his disappointment with the essays in Where the Stress Falls, finding Sontag's approach egotistical and clichéd, and asserting the writing lacks the biting observations of her earlier writings.]

Anyone who admires the work of Susan Sontag can only greet the publication of a new volume of her essays with mixed emotions, a blend of hope and worry. Her last collection appeared in 1980. That same year, she told an interviewer in Poland that there were no really great writers in America but that the country did have...

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Deborah L. Nelson (review date October 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Nelson, Deborah L. “Public Intellectual.” Women's Review of Books 19, no. 1 (October 2001): 4-6.

[In the following review, Nelson examines the changing tones amongst the essays collected in Where the Stress Falls.]

You showed that it was not necessary to be unhappy,” Susan Sontag writes in “A Letter to Borges,” “even while one is clear-eyed and undeluded about how terrible everything is.” Sontag's new collection of essays, Where the Stress Falls, drawn from her work of the past twenty years championing artists, art forms and causes, salvages tremendous comfort from acute disappointment. Her idiosyncratic moral aestheticism, which provokes...

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Carl Rollyson (essay date 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rollyson, Carl. “The Benefactor.” In Reading Susan Sontag: A Critical Introduction to Her Work, pp. 44-54. Chicago, Ill.: Ivan R. Dee, 2001.

[In the following essay, Rollyson explores the similarities between Hippolyte, the main character in The Benefactor, and John Neal, the protagonist in Kenneth Burke's Towards a Better Life.]



In certain respects, “Dreams of Hippolyte” is a more satisfying title for Sontag's first novel [The Benefactor]. For it is a book of dreams, a reverie reminiscent of Poe. In the first chapter, Hippolyte, the narrator, declares...

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Carl Rollyson (essay date 2001)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rollyson, Carl. “AIDS.” In Reading Susan Sontag: A Critical Introduction to Her Work, pp. 143-55. Chicago, Ill.: Ivan R. Dee, 2001.

[In the following essay, Rollyson examines Sontag's short story “The Way We Live Now” and her book-length essay AIDS and Its Metaphors, comparing and contrasting the two, their respective critical appraisals, and includes some commentary on each by Sontag herself.]

Stirred by the deaths of friends who had succumbed to a new, terrifying, and bewildering disease, Susan Sontag responded by writing two very different treatments of how AIDS attacked the health of individuals and society. Her story “The Way We...

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Frances Spalding (review date 21 January 2002)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Spalding, Frances. “Writer in a Critical Condition.” New Statesman 131, no. 4571 (21 January 2002): 49-50.

[In the following review, Spalding finds that Sontag's essays in Where the Stress Falls appear pessimistic concerning the state of current arts and society, and deems that Sontag is at her best when indignantly taking an unpopular stance on issues.]

Susan Sontag is America's most successful woman of letters, but she is also, right now, in a curious position, unable to please either the right or the left. Ten days after 11 September, the New Yorker carried an article by her in which she fired off at the “sanctimonious, reality-concealing...

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Maggie McDonald (review date 1 March 2003)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: McDonald, Maggie. “Show Me.” New Scientist 177, no. 2384 (1 March 2003): 49.

[In the following review, McDonald comments on Sontag's study Regarding the Pain of Others, noting the various potential effects that photographs can produce in modern viewers constantly inundated with images from news sources, advertising, and entertainment.]

“When Capa's falling soldier appeared in Life opposite a Vitalis ad, there was a huge, unbridgeable difference in look between the two kinds of photographs, ‘editorial’ and ‘advertising’. Now there is not,” says Susan Sontag in Regarding the Pain of Others.

Sontag is...

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Tzvetan Todorov (essay date 21-28 April 2003)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Todorov, Tzvetan. “Exposures.” New Republic 228, nos. 4605-06 (21-28 April 2003): 28-31.

[In the following essay, Todorov analyzes human preoccupation with suffering, and categorizes Regarding the Pain of Others as a valuable study in this phenomenon.]

One of the great platitudes of our epoch is that images, in particular photographic or filmed images, transmit messages that are much clearer and stronger than words, which disguise the truth more than they reveal it. But in truth nothing could be less certain: a photograph can stun us, but taken out of context it may not convey any significant meaning. You see a mutilated corpse, you are moved and...

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Alexander Nehamas (review date September 2003)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Nehamas, Alexander. “The Other Eye of the Beholder.” American Prospect 14, no. 8 (September 2003): 62-3.

[In the following review, Nehamas praises Sontag's opinions in Regarding the Pain of Others, contending that she makes honest assertions about the effects that pictures depicting brutality and suffering can have on the public.]

“Ever since cameras were invented in 1839, photography has kept company with death”: Thirty years after the first of the essays eventually collected in On Photography, which was published in 1977, Susan Sontag is still troubled by the aesthetic, moral and political ambiguities of the medium. Regarding the Pain...

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Arthur M. Kleinman (review date fall 2003)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kleinman, Arthur M. Review of Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag. Literature and Medicine 22, no. 4 (fall 2003): 257-61.

[In the following review, Kleinman praises Regarding the Pain of Others for not only displaying human fascination with images of death and pain, but for urging readers to view such images with sympathy and compassion.]

Susan Sontag has been, since the 1970s, one of the leading public literary figures in the United States. In addition to six novels, two film scripts, and a play, she has written eight books of essays. Two of the latter are widely cited meditations on medically relevant topics. Illness as Metaphor...

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Paul Lester (review date winter 2004)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lester, Paul. Review of Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 58, no. 4 (winter 2004): 392-94.

[In the following review, Lester compares and contrasts Regarding the Pain of Others with Brian Goldfarb's Visual Pedagogy: Media Cultures in and beyond the Classroom.]

All images that display the violation of an attractive body are, to a certain degree, pornographic.

—Susan Sontag in Regarding the Pain of Others, p. 95

I do not mean to downplay the radical potential of programs that engage students in...

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Further Reading

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)


Bedient, Calvin. “Passion and War: Reading Sontag, Viola, Forche and Others.” Salmagundi, nos. 141-142 (winter 2004): 243-62.

Provides discussion of visual and textual representations of war, focusing on several works including Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others.

Sontag, Susan, and Caroline Brothers. “Educating the Heart.” Meanjin 63, no. 1 (March 2004): 73-86.

Sontag describes her experiences in war torn Yugoslavia, elaborates on her views of wars past and present, and discusses her works and how they relate to her social and political views.

Sorensen, Sue. “Susan Sontag...

(The entire section is 199 words.)