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 :: 1933-, American Essayist

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A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.
~ Susan Sontag - [Family]

 

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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 - [Death and Dying]

 

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A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of ''spirit'' over matter.
~ Susan Sontag - [Psychology]

 

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AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences: suicide. Or murder.
~ Susan Sontag - [AIDS]

 

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AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them.
~ Susan Sontag - [AIDS]

 

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Al forms of consensus about ''great'' books and ''perennial'' problems, once stabilized, tend to deteriorate eventually into something philistine. The real life of the mind is always at the frontiers of ''what is already known.'' Those great books don't only need custodians and transmitters. To stay alive, they also need adversaries. The most interesting ideas are heresies.
~ Susan Sontag - [Political Correctness]

 

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Although none of the rules for becoming more alive is valid, it is healthy to keep on formulating them.
~ Susan Sontag - [Proverbs]

 

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Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.
~ Susan Sontag - [Ambition]

 

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American ''energy'' is the energy of violence, of free-floating resentment and anxiety unleashed by chronic cultural dislocations which must be, for the most part, ferociously sublimated. This energy has mainly been sublimated into crude materialism and acquisitiveness. Into hectic philanthropy. Into benighted moral crusades, the most spectacular of which was Prohibition. Into an awesome talent for uglifying countryside and cities. Into the loquacity and torment of a minority of gadflies: artists, prophets, muckrakers, cranks, and nuts. And into self-punishing neuroses. But the naked violence keeps breaking through, throwing everything into question.
~ Susan Sontag - [America]

 

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Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.
~ Susan Sontag - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance.
~ Susan Sontag - [Disease]

 

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Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe.
~ Susan Sontag - [Change]

 

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Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other.
~ Susan Sontag - [Bores and Boredom]

 

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Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style -- but a particular kind of style. It is love of the exaggerated.
~ Susan Sontag - [Exaggeration]

 

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Cancer patients are lied to, not just because the disease is (or is thought to be) a death sentence, but because it is felt to be obscene -- in the original meaning of that word: ill-omened, abominable, repugnant to the senses.
~ Susan Sontag - [Cancer]

 

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Depression is melancholy minus its charms -- the animation, the fits.
~ Susan Sontag - [Depression]

 

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Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.
~ Susan Sontag - [Existence]

 

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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 - [Sexuality]

 

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Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture, grandparents pots and pans -- the used things, warm with generations of human touch, essential to a human landscape. Instead, we have our paper phantoms, transistorized landscapes. A featherweight portable museum.
~ Susan Sontag - [Things and Little Things]

 

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For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.
~ Susan Sontag - [Death and Dying]

 

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