Susan Sontag

Jonathan Cott

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One of my oldest crusades is against the distinction between thought and feeling, which is really the basis of all anti-intellectual views: the heart and the head, thinking and feeling, fantasy and judgment . . . and I don t believe it s true. . . . I have the impression that thinking is a form of feeling and that feeling is a form of thinking.
Susan Sontag, one of the most internationally renowned and controversial intellectuals of the latter half of the twentieth century, still provokes. In 1978 Jonathan Cott, a founding contributing editor of "Rolling Stone" magazine, interviewed Sontag first in Paris and later in New York. Only a third of theirtwelve hours of discussion ever made it to print. Now, more than three decades later, Yale University Press is proud to publish the entire transcript of Sontag s remarkable conversation, accompanied by Cott s preface and recollections. Sontag s musings and observations reveal the passionate engagement and breadth of her critical intelligence and curiosities at a moment when she was at the peak of her powers. Nearly a decade after her death, these hours of conversation offer a revelatory and indispensable look at the self-described "besotted aesthete" and "obsessed moralist."
I really believe in history, and that s something people don t believe in anymore. I know that what we do and think is a historical creation. . . .We were given a vocabulary that came into existence at a particular moment. So when I go to a Patti Smith concert, I enjoy, participate, appreciate, and am tuned in better because I ve read Nietzsche.
There s no incompatibility between observing the world and being tuned into this electronic, multimedia, multi-tracked, McLuhanite world and enjoying what can be enjoyed. I love rock and roll. Rock and roll changed my life. . . .You know, to tell you the truth, I think rock and roll is the reason I got divorced. I think it was Bill Haley and the Comets and Chuck Berry that made me decide that I had to get a divorce and leave the academic world and start a new life.

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ISBN: 9780300189797
Publication Date: 22-Oct-2013
Publisher: Yale University Press