Additional Information on Susan Sontag

 * Sontag graduated from high school at age 15 and then attended UC Berkeley before transferring to the University of Chicago (UC), where she met lecturer Philip Rieff and married him just ten days after their first meeting. The marriage would last eight years and produce one son.

* After earning a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at UC when she was 18, Sontag obtained a master’s degree in Philosophy at Harvard University before doing additional postgraduate work at Oxford University and the Sorbonne. When she returned to the U.S. in the late 1950s, she settled in New York City and started to establish a reputation as a writerHer debut novel, The Benefactor, was published in 1963.

* Sontag taught freshman English at the University of Connecticut for the 1952–53 academic year.

* While working on her stories in the early 1960s, Sontag taught philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College and the City University of New York. She also taught in the Religion Department at Columbia University from 1960-64. Moreover, Sontag held a writing fellowship at Rutgers University in 1964-65 before leaving academia in favor of a full-time freelance writing career.

* In 2000, Sontag won National Book Award for her novel, In America.

 * Sontag had lesbian relationships with Eva Kollisch and photographer Annie Leibovitz, with whom she collaborated on the 1999 book, Women.

 * Sontag once wrote that “the AIDS epidemic serves as an ideal projection for First World political paranoia.”

* On another occasion, Sontag wrote that “risk-free sexuality is an inevitable reinvention of the culture of capitalism.”

* In a February 1982 speech, Sontag equated Communism with Fascism:

”What the recent Polish events illustrate is something more than that Fascist rule is possible within the framework of a Communist society, whereas democratic government and worker self-rule are clearly intolerable and will not be tolerated,” she concluded.

“I would contend that what they illustrate is a truth that we should have understood a very long time ago: that Communism is Fascism — successful Fascism, if you will. What we have called Fascism is, rather, the form of tyranny that can be overthrown — that has, largely, failed. ‘Facism With a Human Face’

”I repeat: not only is Fascism (and overt military rule) the probable destiny of all Communist societies — especially when their populations are moved to revolt — but Communism is in itself a variant, the most successful variant, of Fascism. Fascism with a human face.’ …

“Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Reader’s Digestbetween 1950 and 1970, and someone in the same period who read only The Nation or The New Statesman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of Communism? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?”

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