Share via Email Susan Sontag, the "Dark Lady" of American intellectual life for over four decades, has died of cancer. Sontag was a tall, handsome, fluent and articulate woman. She settled in New York, where she lived, off and on, after separating from her husband, the social thinker Philip Rieff, inand her career went stellar there. She regarded all provincialisms, of Paris, Oxford or New York, as uninteresting.
On this issue a pious consensus prevails.
Most of the same critics who disclaim, in passing, the notion that style is an accessory to content maintain the duality whenever they apply themselves to particular works of literature. It is not so easy, after all, to get unstuck from a distinction that practically holds together the fabric of critical discourse, and serves to perpetuate certain intellectual aims and vested interests which themselves remain unchallenged and would be difficult to surrender without a fully articulated working replacement at hand.
Merely by employing the notion, one is almost bound to invoke, albeit implicitly, an antithesis between style and something else. Many critics appear not to realize this. They think themselves sufficiently protected by a theoretical disclaimer on the vulgar filtering-off of style from content, all the while their judgments continue to reinforce precisely what they are, in theory, eager to deny.
Another is the frequency with which a very complex style is regarded with a barely concealed ambivalence.
Still, it is clear that such a style is often felt to be a form of insincerity: I will have nothing hang in the my, not the richest curtains. What I tell I tell for precisely what it is. Nevertheless, the notion of a style-less, transparent art is one of the most tenacious fantasies of modem culture.
Artists and critics pretend to believe that it is no more possible to get the artifice out of art than it is for a person to lose his personality.
Yet the aspiration lingers—a permanent dissent from modem art, with its dizzying velocity of style changes. Like all discourse about totalities, talk of style must rely on metaphors. By likening style to a curtain, he has of course confused style with decoration and for this would be speedily faulted by most critics.
To conceive of style as a decorative encumbrance on the matter of the work suggests that the curtain could be parted and the matter revealed; or, to vary the metaphor slightly, that the curtain could be rendered transparent.
But this is not the only erroneous implication of the metaphor. What the metaphor also suggests is that style is a matter of more or less quantitythick or thin density. And, though less obviously so, this is just as wrong as the fancy that an artist possesses the genuine option to have or not to have a style.
Style is not quantitative, any more than it is superadded. Indeed, practically all metaphors for style amount to placing matter on the inside, style on the outside.
It would be more to the point to reverse the metaphor. The matter, the subject, is on the outside; the style is on the Inside. Style is the soul, and unfortunately with us the soul assumes the form of the body. In fact, such a disjunction is extremely rare.
In almost every case, our manner of appearing is our manner of being. The mask is the face. There are no style-less works of art, only works of art belonging to different, more or less complex stylistic traditions and conventions.
This means that the notion of style, generically considered, has a specific, historical meaning. Were it not for departures from, or experimentation with, previous artistic norms which are known to us, we could never recognize the profile of a new style.
Awareness of style as a problematic and isolable element in a work of art has emerged in the audience for art only at certain historical moments—as a front behind which other issues, ultimately ethical and political, are being debated.
That all representation is incarnated in a given style easy to say. That there is, therefore, strictly speaking, no such thing as realism, except as, itself, a special stylistic convention a little harder.
Still, there are styles and styles. Everyone is acquainted with movements in art-two examples: They seem to be preoccupied with stylistic questions and indeed to place the accent less on what they are saying than on the manner of saying it.
When that happens, when style and subject are so distinguished, that is, played off against each other, one can legitimately speak of subjects being treated or mistreated in a certain style. Creative mistreatment is more the rule.
And as subjects are understood to be fairly far along In this process of exhaustion, they become available to further and further stylization.
The best of the early Sternberg films have pronounced stylistic features, a very sophisticated aesthetic surface But we do not fed about the narrative of the sailor and the prostitute in The Docks of New York as we do about the adventures of the Dietrich character in Blonde Venus or The Scarlet Empress, that it is an exercise in style.
This ambivalence is handled by maintaining, through the rhetorical overlay that is stylization, a special distance from the subject. But the common result is that either the work of art is excessively narrow and repetitive, or else the different parts seem unhinged, dissociated.
No doubt, in a culture pledged to the utility particularly the moral utility of art, burdened with a useless need to fence off solemn art from arts which provide amusement, the eccentricities of stylized art supply a valid and valuable satisfaction.Dec 13, · Susan Sontag - American essayist, novelist, short-story writer, critic, playwright, screenplay writer, and film director.
The following entry provides an overview of Sontag. Susan Sontag created a sensation in the mid’s with her essay “Against Interpretation.” Although she made it clear that she was not against all interpretation of works of art, her. essays on photography susan sontag homework service essay summary against is everything you need ap pdf Though each type of an essay has its own style and writing technique, at the same time all of them have lots of common features and one writing scheme.
Before getting started to write your piece of writing, study the major features of. Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag Garage publishing program in collaboration with Ad Marginem Press This is a sequel to Sontag’s collection of essays On Photography.
The Met Gala theme is framed around Susan Sontag’s essay “Notes on ‘Camp.’ ” The exhibition will focus on camp’s influence on art and culture. Against Interpretation is a collection of essays by Susan Sontag published in It includes some of Sontag's best-known works, including "On Style," and the eponymous essay "Against Interpretation.".