Download Against Interpretation and Other Essays by Susan Sontag PDF

By Susan Sontag

First released in 1966, this celebrated book--Sontag's first choice of essays--quickly grew to become a latest vintage, and has had a tremendous impact in the USA and in a foreign country on brooding about the humanities and modern tradition. in addition to the identify essay and the recognized "Notes on Camp," Against Interpretation contains unique and provocative discussions of Sartre, Simone Weil, Godard, Beckett, science-fiction video clips, psychoanalysis, and modern non secular pondering. This variation includes a new afterword by way of Sontag.

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Sometimes the best way to deal with my writer's block is to luxuriate in gloom for a while, perhaps in a long bath or perhaps hiding in bed. Sometimes the writer's block is prolonged by fighting it, for I'm left divided between the depression and the self-loathing I feel for allowing myself to become blocked and depressed. At other times, though, I force myself to sit at the word-processor and work my way through to the other side of the block. This strategy requires me to keep writing even when its hollowness disgusts me and my lack of confidence terrifies me.

Given this inability to distinguish directly the figurative and literal, lexicographers rely on relative conventionality to identify the usages to be honoured with dictionary entries. Dictionaries are catalogues of partly forgotten and congealed metaphors, changing as usages become more or less conventional. Consider the sociological term 'class struggle'. People may have once treated class struggle metaphorically, but familiarity has introduced it into dictionaries, lent it the self-certainty of the literal, and led sociologists to search in vain for the real thing it names.

This boredom is a not insincere way of coping with university, but it offers little challenge to the institutional order. If enforced passivity generates boredom, blase attitudes are an insincere boredom used to shield a fantasy of stable individuality from the destabilising effect of too many stimuli and possibilities. If boredom responds to university at its worst, blase attitudes may be a defence against university at its confronting best. University can suddenly remove the ground rules of your school life; instead of being a disinterested consumer of knowledge, you're expected to engage actively in new knowledge games you don't understand; you're assailed with new ideas that threaten the fantasies of self you bring to university and which you think of as yourself; lost in the labyrinth of the library and bureaucracy and the vastness of the campus, alone and lonely in the crowds, you hope no-one will insult you with pity; your panic rises as familiar words empty themselves of meaning, and with a cold and dreadful certainty you know you're the only one really having trouble.

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