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Quotations From SUSAN SONTAG

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  • The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known. If there were no speaking or writing, there would be no truth about anything. There would only be what is.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. The Benefactor, ch. 1 (1963).

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  • Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. The Benefactor, ch. 1 (1963).
  • Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. AIDS and Its Metaphors, ch. 8 (1989).

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  • Authoritarian political ideologies have a vested interest in promoting fear, a sense of the imminence of takeover by aliens—and real diseases are useful material.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. AIDS and Its Metaphors, ch. 6 (1989).

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  • Fear of sexuality is the new, disease-sponsored register of the universe of fear in which everyone now lives.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. AIDS and Its Metaphors, ch. 7 (1989).

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  • A fiction about soft or easy deaths ... is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. AIDS and Its Metaphors, ch. 4 (1989).
  • The taste for worst-case scenarios reflects the need to master fear of what is felt to be uncontrollable. It also expresses an imaginative complicity with disaster.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. AIDS and Its Metaphors, ch. 8 (1989).

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  • It is not suffering as such that is most deeply feared but suffering that degrades.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. AIDS and Its Metaphors, ch. 4 (1989).
  • Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world—in order to set up a shadow world of "meanings."
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. repr. In Against Interpretation (1966). "Against Interpretation," sect. 4, Evergreen Review (December 1964).

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  • I do not think white America is committed to granting equality to the American Negro ... this is a passionately racist country; it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. repr. In Styles of Radical Will (1969). "What's Happening in America (1966)," Partisan Review (New Brunswick, N.J., Winter 1967).

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