Authors — S

Quotations by Susan Sontag

A family’s photograph album is generally about the extended family — and, often, is all that remains of it.

A fiction about soft or easy deaths is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning.

A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of “spirit” over matter.

AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences: suicide. Or murder.

AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them.

Al l forms of consensus about “great” books and “perennial” problems, once stabilized, tend to deteriorate eventually into something philistine. The real life of the mind is always at the frontiers of “what is already known.” Those great books don’t only need custodians and transmitters. To stay alive, they also need adversaries. The most interesting ideas are heresies.

All … forms of consensus about “great” books and “perennial” problems, once stabilized, tend to deteriorate eventually into something philistine. The real life of the mind is always at the frontiers of “what is already known.” Those great books don’t only need custodians and transmitters. To stay alive, they also need adversaries. The most interesting ideas are heresies.

Although none of the rules for becoming more alive is valid, it is healthy to keep on formulating them.

Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.

American “energy”… is the energy of violence, of free-floating resentment and anxiety unleashed by chronic cultural dislocations which must be, for the most part, ferociously sublimated. This energy has mainly been sublimated into crude materialism and acquisitiveness. Into hectic philanthropy. Into benighted moral crusades, the most spectacular of which was Prohibition. Into an awesome talent for uglifying countryside and cities. Into the loquacity and torment of a minority of gadflies: artists, prophets, muckrakers, cranks, and nuts. And into self-punishing neuroses. But the naked violence keeps breaking through, throwing everything into question.