Title: NOTES ON SONTAG - Scarce Pristine Copy of ...
Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. 247 pages. Published in 2009. Book-length account on subject. The first volume in the "Writers On Writers" Series. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original by a University Press. The cover utilizes a lovely portrait of Susan Sontag by Henri Cartier-Bresson. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Phillip Lopate's "Notes On Sontag". The inaugural volume in a new and exciting Series: A writer is commissioned by Princeton University to write a book about another writer. The writer is free to choose his subject and writing style (criticism, memoir, biography, even "meta-fiction"). Lopate has chosen to combine formal literary criticism with personal recollections of Susan Sontag, whom he knew but did not consider a friend or even colleague. His title is an allusion to Sontag's single most famous essay, "Notes On Camp", which immediately established her as the "foremost interpreter of our recent contemporary moment". Lopate is admirably and genuinely humble in describing himself as a "mid-list" writer (he is much more than this) whereas he considers Sontag, who was on friendly terms with him, a cultural phenomenon. "Phillip Lopate is so sensible that we can overlook just how smart and audacious he also is. In 'Notes on Sontag', he manages a dazzling, melancholy anatomy as Robert Burton would have understood the notion, and his interrogation of Sontag is all the more impressive and resonant because this is a self-interrogation too. Shrewd, ardent, skeptical, canny" (Robert Polito). A gem of a book that one will admire, agree, and argue with. An absolute "must-have" title for Susan Sontag and Phillip Lopate collectors. This title is now collectible. This is one of few copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: It should not be confused with subsequent printings, which most copies available online are. A scarce copy thus. One of the finest living critics on one of the most influential and important American writers of the 20th century. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER SUSAN SONTAG, C. K. WILLIAMS "ON WHITMAN", AND COLM TOIBIN "ON ELIZABETH BISHOP" TITLES IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 0691135703. Bookseller Inventory # 14452
Notes on Sontag is a frank, witty, and entertaining reflection on the work, influence, and personality of one of the "foremost interpreters of . . . our recent contemporary moment." Adopting Sontag's favorite form, a set of brief essays or notes that circle around a topic from different perspectives, renowned essayist Phillip Lopate considers the achievements and limitations of his tantalizing, daunting subject through what is fundamentally a conversation between two writers. Reactions to Sontag tend to be polarized, but Lopate's account of Sontag's significance to him and to the culture over which she loomed is neither hagiography nor hatchet job. Despite admiring and being inspired by her essays, he admits a persistent ambivalence about Sontag. Lopate also describes the figure she cut in person through a series of wry personal anecdotes of his encounters with her over the years.
Setting out from middle-class California to invent herself as a European-style intellectual, Sontag raised the bar of critical discourse and offered up a model of a freethinking, imaginative, and sensual woman. But while crediting her successes, Lopate also looks at how her taste for aphorism and the radical high ground led her into exaggerations that could do violence to her own common sense, and how her ambition to be seen primarily as a novelist made her undervalue her brilliant essays. Honest yet sympathetic, Lopate's engaging evaluation reveals a Sontag who was both an original and very much a person of her time.
From the Inside Flap:
"Phillip Lopate is so sensible that we can overlook just how smart and audacious he also is. In Notes on Sontag, he manages a dazzling, melancholy anatomy as Robert Burton would have understood the notion, and his interrogation of Sontag is all the more impressive and resonant because this is a self-interrogation too, shrewd, ardent, skeptical, canny."--Robert Polito, director of the New School Writing Program
"Susan Sontag was an indispensable writer, and she has now been engaged by an equally indispensable writer whose essential charm, irreverence, and gift for the unexpected make him an ideal guide to Sontag's work. Lopate's book is at once intensely personal and rigorous, never less than passionate in its commitment to what is most bracing and individual in Sontag's writing."--Robert Boyers, editor of Salmagundi
"This is just what we need: a book on Susan Sontag by a writer allergic to hype and genuinely fascinated by Sontag's ideas and the implications of her cultural presence. Lopate is exacting in his estimates--able to praise and criticize with equal sureness. He speaks straight, from eye-level, as a literary colleague: he knew Sontag and has heard all the stories. More important, he knows the work and its subjects--the novels, films, and debates--deeply. Notes on Sontag is a portrait of the author; it is also a portrait of an era in American intellectual life."--Sven Birkerts, author of Reading Life: Books for the Ages
"Lopate and Sontag are an inspired pairing. Lopate has just the right distance on Sontag--neither sycophant nor peer--to write trenchantly and sympathetically about her achievements, but he's also unsparing about her occasional idiocies. Some of the best things in the book are the personal vignettes about close encounters with Sontag, where Lopate stands in for the reader and fan, often getting burned in the process."--Christopher Benfey, Mount Holyoke College
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