Sontag: Her Life and Work

Category: Book
By (author): Moser, Benjamin
Subject:  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: September 2020
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 832
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 1.69in
Our Price:
$ 27.00
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*


Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award

Finalist for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by: O Magazine, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Seattle Times

The definitive portrait of one of the American Century's most towering intellectuals: her writing and her radical thought, her public activism and her hidden private faceNo writer is as emblematic of the American twentieth century as Susan Sontag. Mythologized and misunderstood, lauded and loathed, a girl from the suburbs who became a proud symbol of cosmopolitanism, Sontag left a legacy of writing on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, medicine and drugs, radicalism and Fascism and Freudianism and Communism and Americanism, that forms an indispensable key to modern culture. She was there when the Cuban Revolution began, and when the Berlin Wall came down; in Vietnam under American bombardment, in wartime Israel, in besieged Sarajevo. She was in New York when artists tried to resist the tug of money-and when many gave in. No writer negotiated as many worlds; no serious writer had as many glamorous lovers. Sontag tells these stories and examines the work upon which her reputation was based. It explores the agonizing insecurity behind the formidable public face: the broken relationships, the struggles with her sexuality, that animated-and undermined-her writing. And it shows her attempts to respond to the cruelties and absurdities of a country that had lost its way, and her conviction that fidelity to high culture was an activism of its own. 

Utilizing hundreds of interviews conducted from Maui to Stockholm and from London to Sarajevo-and featuring nearly one hundred images-Sontag is the first book based on the writer's restricted archives, and on access to many people who have never before spoken about Sontag, including Annie Leibovitz. It is a definitive portrait-a great American novel in the form of a biography.

Review Quote*"A landmark biography, the first major reintroduction of an incomparable literary heavyweight to the public since her death."
Review Quote*"Utterly riveting and consistently insightful . . . The book takes this larger-than-life intellectual powerhouse-formidable, intimidating, often stubbornly impersonal in her work-and makes her life-size again . . . fascinating."
Review Quote*"Fascinating  . . . Moser's biography of Sontag is an education in Sontag, but also in what Sontag wanted and why, as well as an education in the worlds that inspired her and fought her."
Review Quote*"A skilled, lively, prodigiously researched book that, in the main, neither whitewashes nor rebukes its subject: It works hard to make the reader see Sontag as the severely complex person she was. [Moser] writes vividly of a woman of parts determined to leave a mark on her time; and makes us feel viscerally how large those parts were - the arrogance, the anxiety, the reach! No mean achievement." 
Review Quote*"Moser's epic portrait of the iconic writer and critic winds through American history, entwining its subject to pivotal points in our culture and reshaping her legacy in the process."
Review Quote*"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 again and again but was conspicuously and often quite consciously unable to force herself to live by."
Review Quote*"Persuasive and illuminating . . . does what a biography ought to do: it enriches our understanding of its subject."
Review Quote*"Enlightening and finely tuned . . . because his tone is so reserved, so disinterested in passing judgement, none of what he writes about comes off as dishy or inappropriate. More to the point, his critical distance from his subject makes him an echo of Sontag herself."
Review Quote*"A towering figure like Susan Sontag deserves a towering tome, and Moser's 700-plus-page biography of the iconic cultural critic delivers . . . this blockbuster à la Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra is both granular and grand-an opus fit for the writer-philosopher who ‘created the mold, and then she broke it.'"