Completists' Club discussion

Susan Sontag
This topic is about Susan Sontag
75 views
Authors Q-T > Susan Sontag

Comments Showing 1-50 of 59 (59 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Ned (last edited Dec 20, 2012 08:06PM) (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments Fiction

(1963) The Benefactor
(1967) Death Kit
(1977) I, etcetera (Collection of short stories)
(1991) The Way We Live Now (short story)
(1992) The Volcano Lover
(1999) In America

Plays

(1991) "A Parsifal"
(1993) Alice in Bed
(1999) "Lady from the Sea"

Nonfiction
Collections of essays

(1966) Against Interpretation
(1969) Styles of Radical Will
(1980) Under the Sign of Saturn
(2001) Where the Stress Falls
(2007) At the Same Time: Essays & Speeches

Monographs

(1977) On Photography
(1978) Illness as Metaphor
(1988) AIDS and Its Metaphors (a continuation of Illness as Metaphor)
(2003) Regarding the Pain of Others

Films

(1969) Duett för kannibaler (Duet for Cannibals)
(1971) Broder Carl (Brother Carl)
(1974) Promised Lands
(1983) Unguided Tour AKA Letter from Venice

Other

(2004) Contribution of phrases to Fischerspooner's third album "Odyssey."
(2002) Liner notes for Patti Smith album Land.
(2008) Reborn: Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963
(2012) As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980


message 2: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments Quite a long way to go with the fiction (I've only read the first two novels) but have read most of the non-fiction. The novels are largely very rarely read seemingly (a clunky sentence if ever I've seen one).


message 3: by Jim (last edited Mar 05, 2013 07:35AM) (new)

Jim Fred wrote: "Quite a long way to go with the fiction (I've only read the first two novels) but have read most of the non-fiction. The novels are largely very rarely read seemingly (a clunky sentence if ever I'v..."

For the films, are they films she wrote screenplays for? Or films she produced?

I've only read I, etcetera, On Photography, and Illness as Metaphor. I like her writing very much and should explore her novels.



NOTE: This is my first post here, so the group rules just popped up. Here we go:

"This fucking group is a bleeding bordel de merde if I've ever bloody well seen one, you wankers!!"

I am now in compliance...


message 4: by Traveller (last edited Jan 13, 2013 01:17AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Jim wrote: "@#$%^%^%^&^&^&*&*())(*^&@."

Hmmm. Although swearing might be encouraged, i don't see any rule about insulting the rest of us! Your swearing is supposed to be directed at non-members, not at us!
And may i say something back to you, Jim. "Idiot".
Ha, now i'll probably get kicked out of BP.


message 5: by Jim (last edited Mar 05, 2013 07:35AM) (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "Jim wrote: "@#$%^%^%^&^&^&*&*())(*^&@."

Hmmm. Although swearing might be encouraged, i don't see any rule about insulting the rest of us! Your swearing is supposed to be directed at non-members,..."


After re-consulting the rules, I see no mention of directing said swearing. Sorry if I got some on you. There is mention of the potential for "cleverness", but that's pretty friggin' subjective if you think about it.

Would it be more acceptable if I modified it to read:

"This fucking world is a bleeding bordel de merde if I've ever bloody well seen one, and is filled to the rafters with wankers!!"

This is more generally misanthropic and the kind of rant you can hear on any city street once the liquor stores open. Yes, I think this might be the solution.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I used to say that when the liquor stores closed.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim Ian wrote: "I used to say that when the liquor stores closed."

Of course! I bow to the master...


message 8: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments Jim wrote: "Fred wrote: "Quite a long way to go with the fiction (I've only read the first two novels) but have read most of the non-fiction. The novels are largely very rarely read seemingly (a clunky sentenc..."

The films she wrote and directed, I think the screenplays were released as books but are quite hard to get. The first film is available on ubuweb in its entirety (http://www.ubu.com/film/sontag_duet.html), despite that I still haven't watched it. It's in Swedish, btw.


message 9: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments People often don't like the novels so much, it seems.
Her last film is an adaptation of the short story 'debriefing' from I, Etcetera.


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim Fred wrote: "Jim wrote: "Fred wrote: "Quite a long way to go with the fiction (I've only read the first two novels) but have read most of the non-fiction. The novels are largely very rarely read seemingly (a cl..."

Thank you Fred!


message 11: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Jim wrote: "Would it be more acceptable if I modified it to read:

"This fucking world is a bleeding bordel de merde if I've ever bloody well seen one, and is filled to the rafters with wanking twats!!"

This is more generally misanthropic and the kind of rant you can hear on any city street once the liquor stores open. Yes, I think this might be the solution.
"


Indeed. I feel decidedly less picked on. ;)


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "And may i say something back to you, Jim. "Idiot". ..."

Well, I can only give you 2 points for originality, maybe a point for cleverness, but I'm slightly drunk right now, so 6 points for spelling and punctuation.

And this is the last g-damned time I follow the group rules!


message 13: by Traveller (last edited Jan 14, 2013 02:08PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Stufu Jim. EDIT : I was joking here, and gently teasing in response to what i had initially perceived to be simply joking, coming from Jim. Have i read what i assumed to be humor incorrectly? Oi, internet, thou deceitful conduit!


I thought you might have been dipping too deeply into your stash of Bordeaux wine.

Btw, i was referring to Dostoyevsky. But you weren't clever enough to realize it. :P

You may blame your lack of sobriety, if you wish.


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "Stufu Jim.

I thought you might have been dipping too deeply into your stash of Bordeaux wine.

Btw, i was referring to Dostoyevsky. But you weren't clever enough to realize it. :P..."


Plus 2 points for knowing a word from Dostoyevsky, but minus 3 for not capitalizing "I".

It's true, the Bergerac blanc and the two bottles of Bergerac rouge played a part, but really, it was the poire eau de vie that pushed me over the edge.

Back to Sontag, I started Pedro Páramo last might and the Foreword was by Susan Sontag. Time to read some of her work; maybe a re-read of On Photography.


message 15: by Ian (last edited Jan 14, 2013 12:08PM) (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I only bought On Photography for the pictures.


message 16: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Jim wrote: " but minus 3 for not capitalizing "I""

Please explain to me why "I" or "i" has to be capitalized?


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "Jim wrote: " but minus 3 for not capitalizing "I""

Please explain to me why "I" or "i" has to be capitalized?"


Oh too bad! We'll have to dock you another minus 8 points for asking that question. That puts you out of the running for the grand prize, but you won't go home empty-handed. We have a copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style to help you for future appearances on our show.

That wraps it up for today folks! Tune in next week for our panel discussion, "Why today's grad students need remedial education."


message 18: by Traveller (last edited Jan 14, 2013 09:01AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments You haven't answered my question, Jim. I'd like to hear out of your own mouth--or rather, from your own keyboard, why "i" needs to be capitalized.

Are you talking about the personal pronoun "I"? You obviously have not been following any of the discussions i have had in this regard.

I'd like you to give me a good reason why the first person pronoun must be capitalized in the English language. It is not done in any other language except by the arrogant Anglophones.


message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "You haven't answered my question, Jim. I'd like to hear out of your own mouth--or rather, from your own keyboard, why "i" needs to be capitalized.

Are you talking about the personal pronoun "I"? ..."


Sorry. I didn't know you aren't a native English speaker. Rules of English grammar are that the personal pronoun "I" is always capitalized. You can confirm this with Queen Elizabeth.

As for arrogance, if you're going to use a language, it is polite to follow its rules.

That being said, out of respect for the dead, we ought to return this thread to Ms. Sontag.


message 20: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments That' fine, she didn't like to talk about herself either.


message 21: by Traveller (last edited Jan 14, 2013 10:01AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Jim wrote: "As for arrogance, if you're going to use a language, it is polite to follow its rules.."

I was asking the question from a philosophical POV.

Polite towards whom?

It is my own language, and i don't deem it polite to aggrandize myself by referring to myself with a capital letter, while not extending the same courtesy to the person i am addressing.

Language is a living thing, Jim. We, the people, make the language. We don't speak it like we used to 500 years ago, the Americans don't speak the mother language anymore, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparis...
, and modern Britons don't speak it the way they did 800 years ago.

Have you tried to read Chaucer in the original? Or worse, texts like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight or Beowulf?

..and, since you want to take that particular stance on it, then, if you think about it, how polite are Americans then to have unilaterally changed the language their own language originated in, and now point out British usage (such as valour vs valor, armour vs armor, theater vs theatre, pullover vs sweater, pants vs trousers ) not to mention the entire page of different grammar usage that i linked to, as erroneous usage?


message 22: by Traveller (last edited Jan 14, 2013 10:27AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Sorry Fred, for messing up your thread. Maybe Jim and i should take our little linguistic tussle back to the Brain Pain group.

Are you up for starting a "linguistics/philosophy of language" thread/discussion there, Jim?

I know our attempts at Derrida failed, but maybe we could look at some Foucault and Saussure and others. Or just simply discuss language as a living, growing thing, and define it and so forth, for ourselves.


message 23: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments Please don't move on my account. I'm sure Susan would be pleased to be hosting such a discussion. If you moved I would only have to go find the discussion at some point - to peer. Susan can pop up as and when relevant.


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Fowler describes the capitalisation of "I" as a "minor curiosity". Obviously, this is an understatement.


message 25: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments In fact, this discussion has now made me feel like reading this: Against Interpretation and Other Essays by Susan Sontag.

It will have to wait in the queue, though.


message 26: by Traveller (last edited Jan 14, 2013 12:10PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments I have just had a peek at Fred's GR profile, and his field of interest with his studies, and i can see why he might be enjoying the discussion. :D

Not to mention that i like his GR profile very much.

PS. I can also see why he was not too bothered by my comment about the N.A. vs UK linguistic divide.


message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "It is my own language, and i don't deem it polite to aggrandize myself by referring to myself with a capital letter, while not extending the same courtesy to the person i am addressing..."

Then why don't you change your username to "traveller"? Apparent some portion of your ego is intact, no? And why capitalize "I" like you did in messages 21 & 22 & 26? Is your humbleness transitory? So many questions, so little purpose.

Honestly, I see no point in debating the topic with you. Apparently you have strong post-colonial feelings about the Brits and their language which doesn't interest me at all. If you want to go against the rules of English grammar, feel free.


message 28: by Traveller (last edited Jan 14, 2013 12:35PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Jim wrote: "Then why don't you change your username to "traveller"? Apparent some portion of your ego is intact, no? And why capitalize "I" like you did in messages 21 & 22 & 26? Is your humbleness transitory? So many questions, so little purpose.."

I have not capitalized "i" in those messages except as at the start of a sentence, as is customary with any other word. It is customary to capitalize names. However, we do not capitalize the third-person pronoun, do we?

Jim wrote: "Honestly, I see no point in debating the topic with you. Apparently you have strong post-colonial feelings about the Brits and their language which doesn't interest me at all. If you want to go against the rules of English grammar, feel free."

I have strong post-colonial feelings about myself and my own language? Nope, absolutely not, but thank you for your bringing your mind-reading abilities into play. I was not personally involved in anything that happened in centuries past, and i have zero feelings of guilt. In fact, i personally don't buy in the entire post-colonial guilt-trip thing. We could go into a long debate about that as well, but i suspect you would not be interested in that, either.

In fact, where does colonialism even come into play? Oh, you mean the America vs Britain thing?

I have absolutely nothing against Americans, especially since half of my family, including my sister, cousins, etc. are Americans. We are sitting on both sides of the divide, and i don't choose one side above the other.

I was not taking sides in the NA vs UK divide, i was merely pointing out that language is something that manifests though those who use it- it is not something that is static.


message 29: by Jim (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "I have not capitalized "i" in those messages except as at the start of a sentence, as is customary with any other word..."

Just to clarify your perspective - customary is sometimes good, sometimes not? Or is this only about the personal pronoun?

And you're a Brit?


message 30: by Traveller (last edited Jan 14, 2013 12:58PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Of course it is only about the personal pronoun - why would it be about anything else? This is what the entire discussion has been about, yes? Oh, just never mind, Jim.

I honestly don't have time for a discussion where the other participant has not even touched base re what we are discussing...

PS. FYI, Ambergris is the City of Saints and Madmen... ;)


message 31: by Jim (new)

Jim Traveller wrote: "Of course it is only about the personal pronoun - why would it be about anything else? This is what the entire discussion has been about, yes? Oh, just never mind, Jim.

I honestly don't have time ..."


I thought this was all about me accidentally calling you a "wanking twat"? There was more to it than that?


message 32: by Traveller (last edited Jan 14, 2013 01:50PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 81 comments Sigh, this has been becoming more and more unpleasant. Apologies yet again, Fred.

I have sent Jim a PM, and hope we can rather continue the discussion privately. I have no idea what brought Jim's antagonism on, (once upon a time we were friends) but i do hope we can settle it privately.


message 33: by Jim (new)

Jim Gee, and I was having so much fun!

Seriously though, if anything, it might be illuminating to submit the whole conversation to some sort of linguistic analysis to see what comes up. (Maybe we can bring Sontag into the fray via Ouija board.) During the skirmishes in the GR Feedback group re: The Ugly Green Button, I was definitely curious about language use in the nearly 3000 impassioned messages posted there. A whole study could be done on that thread alone.

The last time I did any kind of serious reading about language was Orwell's Politics and the English Language. For now, I'm amazingly content to hide out in the world of fiction.


message 34: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye If you manage to contact Sontag, please ask her why there aren't any photos in On Photography.


message 35: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments 'On Silence' says things, 'On Bergman's Persona' is not the place to go if you want to see the film. Barthes book on photography has photos, but little else of substance- it seems it's an either/or situation.

(I hope that doesn't come off as incredibly snide, even though, no doubt, it is)


message 36: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments I just started The Volcano Lover, as well.
Also recently read the two volumes of her diaries.


message 37: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I'm not trying to denigrate her writing, just that she chose not to say anything about a specific image that her readers could verify with their own eye. She also copped a bit of stick about it in the original reviews of the book, IIRC.


message 38: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments Well it's largely about photography in general, in such a way that anyone aware of the world in which we live (saturated with photographs) would recognise the main thrust of the arguments. She does mention some specific photographs, of course, and I too would prefer it if they were in the book, but I don't think it has a hugely negative effect.


message 39: by Ian (last edited Jan 15, 2013 12:41PM) (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye The words are perfect. Though for me it reveals that her principal method of communicating was verbal. Interesting that her last relationship was with Annie Leibovitz.


message 40: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments She often talked about how she avoided ever taking pictures herself. There are those films, though, I am curious.


message 41: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye She definitely expanded the ways of seeing and how we interpret more broadly.


message 42: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments Yeah, it was nice to come upon her and find that she said (much better and fuller, of course) things that I had already been thinking for quite some time, meaning that I could move onto other thoughts. (Mainly the ideas in 'Against Interpretation', the fact that I was spurred into thinking these things might mean she did not change the wider arena enough). I am sad to almost have exhausted her work so soon, of course I won't actually have exhausted it, rich as it is.


message 43: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I like the way she accepted no restraint on understanding a work.

How are you finding her fiction. I read The Benefactor in the early 80s and don't recall getting into it much.


message 44: by Ned (last edited Jan 15, 2013 02:08PM) (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments I really enjoyed both it and Death Kit. Both very different books, though. I'm a bit easy to please with dreams in books, and the Benefactor hinges entirely upon them. It seems that most people feel luke-warm to cold towards both of those, so I am an exception (which I always liked to think anyway), and I feel nervous recommending Death Kit because I can very much see how it could drive someone mad (you will have to hear the name 'Diddy' a lot), but why not? Read Death Kit.

A volcano Lover is very very different (so far), which is hardly surprising given the time gap. I 've been formulating my theories about it and its relation to the earlier novels.That theory is largely that she was incredibly (in the most literal and least pejorative sense) self-conscious, and in the earlier books attempted to entirely erase her own authorial presence and, in this later one, dealt with the fact by openly including her voice in the book. I think this allowed her to write a lot more freely, though I've yet to break 70 pages and am not yet sure of it.


message 45: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments That was a rather sideways answer, sorry.


message 46: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I'll have to check whether I read Death Kit.


message 47: by Ned (last edited Jan 15, 2013 02:17PM) (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments The name Diddy really should have brought it all back, if you did.
(maybe not it all, but just the name Diddy again and again and again)


message 48: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I'm on my walk and can only remember Do Wah Diddy


message 49: by Ned (new)

Ned Rifle | 33 comments Possibly a blessing


message 50: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Haha. Remind me to tell you my Philip Rieff story.


« previous 1
back to top