Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag

Birth
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 28 Dec 2004 (aged 71)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 2, Section 2, 1 East, 28 North, concession number 3PA2005
Memorial ID 10183501 · View Source
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Author. One of her more famous books was "Illness as Metaphor" (1978) where she dealt head on with her own struggle for over thirty years with intermittent cancer. Born in Manhattan, her father was a fur trader in China. Her younger sister and she would spend long periods with relatives during their parents' absence in these early years. When only five years old, her father died in China from tuberculosis. Her mother moved to Tucson, Arizona seeking relief for her daughter's asthma. It was there that her mother met a World War II veteran, Captain Nathan Sontag, who had been sent there to recuperate. They married and moved to Los Angeles with the girls taking their step-father's name. Graduated from high school before her 16th birthday, she would spend one semester at the University of California at Berkeley before transferring to the University of Chicago, from which she received a bachelor's degree in 1951. Here too, she met, and 10 days later married the instructor Dctor Philip Rieff. The marriage was short lasted but produced one son, David Rieff, who survives her, and it got her to the East coast. She earned two masters degrees from Harvard, one in English and the other in philosophy after moving to Boston with her husband. After further study at Oxford and in Paris, she arrived in New York early in 1959, as she would later say, with "$70, two suitcases and a 7-year-old." Her first novel "The Benefactor" (1963) was followed by the essay "Notes on "Camp"(1964). This was also was a springboard to and through a diverse cross section of creative individuals which she would alternately offend and embrace. These would include Lionel and Diana Trilling; Tallulah Bankhead; Erik Rhodes and many others which would lead her to write "Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It's not a lamp, but a 'lamp'; not a woman, but a 'woman.' To perceive...Being-as-Playing-a-Role. ...of life as theater." Later she would be filmed by Andy Warhol and helped spawn the pop revolution. Her talks with Edgar de Evia and other photographers would lead to "On Photography" (1977) which The Washington Post Book World called "a brilliant analysis" stating that it "merely describes a phenomenon we take as much for granted as water from the tap." In a 1992 interview with The Times Magazine, she said "I don't want to express alienation. It isn't what I feel. I'm interested in various kinds of passionate engagement. All my work says, be serious, be passionate, wake up."

Bio by: D C McJonathan-Swarm


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Richard Lombard
  • Added: 28 Dec 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10183501
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Susan Sontag (16 Jan 1933–28 Dec 2004), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10183501, citing Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .