THE IMPERSONALITY of so much of Sontag’s writings—an impersonality by turns bold, willful, and elegant—naturally leaves us wondering whether a different kind of writer will be revealed in her journals and notebooks. Will the writing be more spontaneous and less guarded? Will it turn out that there was some lyric mode that she chose to suppress in what she published? The first volume of her journals, Reborn, which came out four years ago, took her from fourteen to thirty and was very much a portrait of the artist as a young woman. There was a winning guilelessness about the person revealed in those pages, the California adolescent hungry for experience, equal parts passionate and confused. Now, with the second of three volumes of journals and notebooks skillfully edited by her son, the writer David Rieff, we are in the period when Sontag was a figure to be reckoned with. As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh moves from 1964 to 1980, the years when she published three works of fiction and five works of non-fiction, ranging from her earliest essay collection, Against Interpretation, through On Photography, Under the Sign of Saturn, and Illness as Metaphor.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
… Jed Perl Reviews Susan Sontag’s “As Consciousness Is Harnessed To Flesh: Journals And Notebooks, 1964–1980” | The New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)