Talk:Susan Sontag

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Poor referencing of unhelpful source in introductory section[edit]

The introductory section includes the following phrase: "Although her essays and speeches sometimes drew controversy [3]...". The reference is to the book Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe, in which he describes Sontag as "just another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering to the podium encumbered by her prose style, which had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review." This quotation is given in full in the section "Other criticisms" (Note 39).

While it's fair to see this typically glib, gossipy remark by Wolfe as a type of "criticism", citing it as the sole example of supposed "controversy" in the global introduction seems somewhat pat. I'd also argue that the link itself - to Hooking Up on Google Books, with no specific page or section referencing - is of little use for the interested but uninformed reader.

Since a new biography of Sontag has just been published, there are many other sources we might look to for examples of controversy. Here is my suggestion: "No one held Susan Sontag in higher esteem than she did: Her Life reviewed" by Philip Hensher in The Spectator.

I'd also like to see references to more substantive criticisms of Sontag, who was after all a serious thinker with a long and varied career. The Wolfe comment is snide, superficial, delicious and utterly unconcerned with the content of her thinking. The Taleb criticism (Notes 40, 41) is more serious but is basically a simplistic accusation of hypocrisy, without substantively engaging with any of Sontag's ideas. It's basically analogous to "But Marx was middle class, so Marxism must be wrong".

EJLindon (talk) 01:49, 3 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"... Sontag attended a summer school taught by the Sociologist Hans Heinrich Gerth who became a friend and subsequently influenced her study of German thinkers"

No need to capitalize "sociologist". Comma before "who".

"Northwestern Afghanistan"

Really a need to capitalize? Is it a recognized region, such as the East Coast?

"U. C. Berkeley"

No space or periods in "UC".

"New York Times Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, defended"

No commas needed.

Early life[edit]

″Sontag lived on Long Island, New York,[1] then in Tucson, Arizona, and later in the San Fernando Valley in southern California..."

I'm reading Benjamin Moser's (authorized) biography of Sontag, and here's where he says she lived:

  • January 1933--summer 1933 Manhattan, NY
  • 1933--1936 Huntington, Long Island, NY
  • 1936--1939 Great Neck, Long Island, NY
  • 1939 Verona, New Jersey
  • 1939-1940 Miami Beach, Florida
  • 1940 Woodmere, Long Island, NY ("temporarily")
  • 1941-1942 Forest Hills, Queens, NY("where she spent fifth & sixth grade at PS 144")
  • 1943-1946 Tuscon, Arizona (address: 2409 East Drachman Street)
  • 1946-until college Sherman Oaks, California (address: 4540 Longridge Avenue)

As you can see, it's quite a few more places than the article mentions. I'm not sure how this would be incorporated, but I can't edit the page anyway since it's protected. So I thought I'd leave a comment here. (It's chapters 2&3 in Moser's book.) Chris1564 (talk) 06:36, 24 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

About that sentence's subordinate clause: "later in the San Fernando Valley in southern California, where she took refuge in books..." The refuge started sometime sooner than California, not sure when exactly. She was reading Goethe and the Modern Library in Tucson, and learned to read at age 3! --Chris1564 (talk) 06:55, 24 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Semi-protected edit request on 15 January 2022[edit]

Grandchildren - 1 [1] Plouve (talk) 09:04, 15 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format and provide a reliable source if appropriate. Uberlyuber (talk) 20:19, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]