highslide for wordpress

SONTAG’S DEBRIEFING

“I was thinking, Ursula said to Quentin, that the difference between a story and a painting or a photograph is that in a story you can write, He’s still alive. But in a painting or a photo you can’t show ‘still.’ You can just show him being alive. He’s alive, Stephen said.” — from “The Way We Live Now” (1986), Susan Sontag

According to Benjamin Taylor—editor of the new collection of Susan Sontag’s short fiction, DEBRIEFING—when it came to work published while she was alive, Susan Sontag had a case of “autobiographophobia.” (The private journals published posthumously tell another story.)

The idea of being shelved categorically—”woman writer,” “Jewish writer,” “lesbian writer”—was abhorrent to Sontag, and most of the characters and events in the eleven stories collected in DEBRIEFING (eight of which were published in I, Etcetera, in 1978) are “veiled”—despite their form, which is often memoiristic, diaristic, documentary.

(The opening story, “Pilgrimage,” is a slightly fictionalized report of the visit a teenage Sontag paid to Thomas Mann in Pacific Palisades.)

 

SUSAN SONTAG—DEBRIEFING: COLLECTED STORIES

Edited and with an introduction by Benjamin Taylor, (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.)

us.macmillan.com/debriefing/susansontag

susansontag.com

See Jonathan Cott’s 1979 interview with Sontag:

rollingstone.com/susan-sontag

Image credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

9780374100759

Leave A Comment