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Susan Sontag Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Plays

Duet for Cannibals (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Brother Carl (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alice in Bed (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

I, etcetera (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Against Interpretation and Other Essays (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Susan Sontag Reader (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Debriefing (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
On Women (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Journals of Susan Sontag Books

Reborn (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Notes on (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Against Interpretation (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trip to Hanoi (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Styles of Radical Will (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Art of Revolution (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
On Photography (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Illness as Metaphor (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
Under the Sign of Saturn (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
AIDS and Its Metaphors (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dancers on a Plane (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Women (With: Annie Leibovitz) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Where the Stress Falls (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Regarding the Pain of Others (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
At the Same Time (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sontag on Film (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Essays of the 1960s & 70s (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Later Essays (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Susan Sontag on Women (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Granta 1: New American Writing(1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Granta 5: The Modern Common Wind(1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Essays 1992(1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Robert Bresson(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Good Parts(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wonderful Town(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Short Stories of the Century(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writers on Writing(2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Paperback L.A. Book 1(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Maestros & Monsters: Days & Nights with Susan Sontag & George Steiner(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag was born in New York City on January 16, 1933 as Susan Rosenblatt, the daughter of Jack and Mildred Rosenblatt, both of whom were Jews of Polish and Lithuanian descent.

Her dad managed a fur trading business in China, where he died of tuberculosis in 1939, when Susan was just five years old. Seven years later, her mom remarried to US Army Captain Nathan Sontag. Both Susan and Judith (her sister) took their stepdad’s surname, even though he didn’t adopt them formally. She didn’t have a religious upbringing and said she hadn’t entered into a synagogue until her mid-twenties.

Susan was active in speaking and writing about, or traveling to, areas of conflict, including during the Siege of Sarajevo and the Vietnam War. She wrote extensively about culture and media, photography, illness and AIDS, leftist ideology, and human rights. Her speeches and essays drew controversy, and she’s been described as being one of the most influential critics of her generation.

Susan had a rather unhappy childhood, with a distant and cold mom who was constantly away. She lived on Long Island, New York, then in Tucson, Arizona, and later in the San Fernando Valley in southern California, where she took refuge in books and wound up graduating from North Hollywood High School when she was just fifteen years old.

She started her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, but transferred to the University of Chicago in admiration of the school’s prominent core curriculum. While at Chicago, she undertook studies in ancient history, philosophy, and literature alongside some of her other requirements. At the age of eighteen, she graduated with an AB and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. While she was at Chicago, she became friends with film director Mike Nichols, a fellow student. For the first time, her work appeared in print in 1951 in the Chicago Review’s winter issue.

She married Philip Rieff at the age of 17, and they stayed together from 1950 until 1959 to, they had a son, named David Rieff. He went to be his mom’s editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as well as a writer in his own right.

While she studied at Chicago, she went to a summer school taught by Hans Heinrich Gerth, the sociologist, who became a friend and later influenced her study of German thinkers. Susan, upon finishing her Chicago degree taught freshman English at the University of Connecticut during the 1952-53 year.

Then she went to Harvard University for grad school, initially studying literature with Harry Levin and Perry Miller before moving on to theology and philosophy.

Susan was awarded an American Association of University Woman’s fellowship for the 1957-58 academic year to St. Anne’s College, Oxford, where she traveled without her son and husband. There, she had classes with A. J. Ayer, Iris Murdoch, H. L. A. Hart, and Stuart Hampshire, while also going to the B. Phil seminars of J. L. Austin and lectures of Isaiah Berlin.

Oxford didn’t appeal to her, though and she transferred after Micaelmas term of ‘57 to the University of Paris. While in Paris, she socialized with expat artists and academics including Harriet Sohmers, Allan Bloom, Jean Wahl, Alfred Chester, and Maria Irene Fornes.

She remarked that her time in Paris was possibly the most important period of her whole life. It provided the basis of her long artistic and intellectual association with the culture of France. She would also move to New York in 1959 in order to live with Fornes for the next seven years, regain custody of her son, and teaching at different universities as her literary reputation grew.

As she worked on her stories, she taught at Sarah Lawrence College and City University of New York and the Philosophy of Religion from 1960 to 1964 in Colombia University’s Religion Department. Susan held a writing fellowship at Rutgers University for a year before she ended her relationship with academia in favor of focusing on freelance writing full time.

Susan became aware of her bisexuality during her early teen years. At the age of fifteen she wrote of feeling she had lesbian tendencies. And at sixteen she had this sexual encounter with a woman. She lived with this woman, Harriet Sohmers Zwerling (model and writer), from 1958-1959.

She also had a close relationship with Annie Leibovitz, after meeting in the year 1989, when both had established a notability in their careers already. They were together until Susan’s death.

She died at the age of 71 in New York City on December 28, 2004 from complications of myelodysplastic syndrome which had evolved into acute myelogenous leukemia.

“The Benefactor” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 1963. Introducing a new and unique writer to the world, in the form of a memoir by a latter day Candide called Hippolyte. The novel leads us on a sort of psychic Grand Tour, in which Hippolyte’s violent imaginative dream life gets indistinguishable from his surprising experiences in the ‘real world’.

Susan’s book supplies this acerbic, fascinating, and knowing portrait of a certain bohemian demimonde which flourished in France. This is, more importantly, a novel about ideas (particularly religious ideas), unlike any other: disturbing, funny, profound, and acrobatic.

“In America” is a stand alone novel and was released in 1999. In the year 1876, this group of Poles, led by Maryna Zalewska, Poland’s greatest actress, travel to California in order to found a “utopian” commune. Maryna, who has entirely renounced her career, is accompanied by her young son and husband, and in her entourage is a rising young writer that’s in love with her. The novel depicts the West that is still empty primarily, where white settlers confront Asian coolies and native Californians.

The image of California and of America (as escape, as fantasy, and as radical simplification) constantly meets a much more complex reality. The commune fails and the majority of the emigres head back home, however Maryna remains and triumphs on the American stage.

This is a juicy, big, and surprising novel, about one woman’s search for self-transformation, about the fate of idealism, about the theater world, which will captivate readers right from the first page.

Winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Susan Sontag

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