Quotations From SUSAN SONTAG


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  • A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family—and, often, is all that remains of it.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "In Plato's Cave," On Photography (1977).

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  • A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of "spirit" over matter.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. Illness As Metaphor, ch. 7 (1978).
  • Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. Illness As Metaphor, ch. 8 (1978).
  • Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly," On Photography (1977).
  • In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "Melancholy Objects," On Photography (1977).

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  • The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects—making it possible ... to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "Melancholy Objects," On Photography (1977).

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  • The taste for quotations (and for the juxtaposition of incongruous quotations) is a Surrealist taste.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "Melancholy Objects," On Photography (1977).
  • Anthropology has always struggled with an intense, fascinated repulsion towards its subject.... [The anthropologist] submits himself to the exotic to confirm his own inner alienation as an urban intellectual.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. Quoted in Neville Dyson-Hudson,"Structure and Infrastructure in Primitive Society," published in The Structuralist Controversy, eds. R. Macksey and E. Donato (1970).
  • Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "The Literary Criticism of George Luk√°cs," Against Interpretation (1966).
  • Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style—but a particular kind of style. It is the love of the exaggerated, the "off," of things-being-what-they-are-not.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. Originally published in Partisan Review (New Brunswick, NJ, 1964). Notes on "Camp," note 8, Against Interpretation (1966).

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