Sontag

Sontag

Her Life

Summary

WINNER OF THE 2020 PULITZER PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY

Selected as a Book of the Year 2019 by the SPECTATOR, TELEGRAPH, NEW STATESMAN and FINANCIAL TIMES

'Definitive and delightful' Stephen Fry

'There can be no doubting the brilliance - the sheer explanatory vigour - of Moser's biography... a triumph of the virtues of seriousness and truth-telling that Susan Sontag espoused' New Stateman

The definitive portrait of one of the twentieth century's most towering figures: her writing and her radical thought, her public activism and her private face


Susan Sontag was our last great literary star. Her brilliant mind, political activism and striking image made her an emblem of the seductions - and the dangers - of the twentieth-century world.

Her writing on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, medicine and drugs, Fascism and Freudianism, Communism and Americanism, reflected the conflicted meanings of a most conflicted word: modernity. She was there when the Cuban Revolution began and the Berlin Wall came down, in Vietnam under American bombardment, in wartime Israel. Sontag tells these stories and examines the work upon which her reputation was based, exploring the private woman hidden behind the formidable public face.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews conducted from Maui to Stockholm and from Manhattan to Sarajevo - and featuring nearly one hundred images, many never seen before - Sontag is the first book based on the writer's restricted archives, and on access to many people who have never before spoken about her, including Annie Leibovitz. It is an indelible portrait of one of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers, who lived one of that century's most romantic - and most anguished - lives.

Reviews

  • Moser intelligently brings together both public and private, onstage and off-. His scrutiny of her essays, fiction, films, and political activism is clear-eyed, his analysis of her tumultuous affective life sympathetic... Sontag offers a thoroughly researched chronicle of an unparalleled American figure and the institutions tied to her... deft and sometimes dishy
    Bookforum

About the author

Benjamin Moser

Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award and his work bringing Clarice Lispector to international prominence was recognized with Brazil's State Prize for Cultural Diplomacy. He has published translations from several languages, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and worked as a books columnist for Harper's magazine and The New York Times Book Review. He lives in the Netherlands and France.
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