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Bookwaves – July 18, 2019: Susan Sontag (1933-2004)

Susan Sontag (1933-2004) was an essayist, novelist, activist, film-maker, philosopher and teacher. On March 16, 2000, while on tour for what would be her final novel, “In America,” she was interviewed by Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff in San Francisco.

From Wikipedia (with links): Among her best known works are  On PhotographyAgainst InterpretationStyles of Radical WillThe Way We Live NowIllness as MetaphorRegarding the Pain of OthersThe Volcano Lover, and In America.

From Wikipedia: “Sontag was active in writing and speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture and media, AIDS and illness, human rights, and communism and leftist ideology. Although her essays and speeches sometimes drew controversy, she has been described as “one of the most influential critics of her generation.”

In her final four years after this interview, Susan Sontag published a long essay, Regarding the Pain of Others in 2003, concerning the visual representation of war and violence. Following her death, a collection of essays and speeches was published in 2007, and her journals and notebooks were published in two volumes, in 2008 and 2012. She died of leukemia on December 28, 2004 at the age of 71. Her illness and death were chronicled in the book Swimming in a Sea of Death by her son David Rieff. Am award-winning 2014 documentary on her life, Regarding Susan Sontag, is now available on Kanopy, the streaming app available free through your local library.

This interview and was digitized and re-edited in 2006 by Richard Wolinsky and has not been aired in thirteen years. An 34-minute extended version can be found as a Radio Wolinsky podcast.

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