Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Essay on Susan Sontag

The latest new york review of books has a nice essay on Susan Sontag. Also loved this about her hair:

An icon of braininess, she even developed, like Einstein, a trademark hairdo: an imperious white stripe, reminiscent of Indira Gandhi, as though she were declaring a cultural Emergency.

The posthumously published collection At the Same Time, which I did read a while back, has an essay (or actually a speech I think) titled "The World as India." It is about the value of translation and cross-language communication. She obviously didn't know much about India, at least not as must as she did about Europe, because then she would have realized that the metaphor is not correct. There is very little communication across different linguistic cultures in India. They are all small culture islands mostly disconnected from each other. Yet something holds everything together too. (In one of her other essays in the book she says that she had read all the German classics before she turned thirteen and that The Magic Mountain was already her favourite book!)

Update: Found the essay here. Quite long but definitely worth reading. (Was right about the speech bit too: "This is an edited version of the St Jerome Lecture given at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last year. It is dedicated to the memory of W. G. Sebald.")

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