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Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963

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"I intend to do have one way of evaluating experience—does it cause me pleasure or pain, and I shall be very cautious about rejecting the painful—I shall anticipate pleasure everywhere and find it too, for it is everywhere! I shall involve myself wholly...everything matters!"

So wrote Susan Sontag in May 1949 at the age of sixteen. This, the first of three volumes of her journals and notebooks, presents a constantly and utterly surprising record of a great mind in incubation. It begins with journal entries and early attempts at fiction from her years as a university and graduate student, and ends in 1964, when she was becoming a participant in and observer of the artistic and intellectual life of New York City.

Reborn is a kaleidoscopic self-portrait of one of America's greatest writers and intellectuals, teeming with Sontag's voracious curiosity and appetite for life. We watch the young Sontag's complex self-awareness, share in her encounters with the writers who informed her thinking, and engage with the profound challenge of writing itself—all filtered through the inimitable detail of everyday circumstance.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 27, 2008 – The first of three planned volumes of Sontag’s private journals, this book is extraordinary for all the reasons we would expect from Sontag’s writing—extreme seriousness, stunning authority, intolerance toward mediocrity; Sontag’s vulnerability throughout will also utterly surprise the late critic and novelist’s fans and detractors. At 15, when these journals began, Sontag (1933–2004) already displayed her ferocious intellect and hunger for experience and culture, though what is most remarkable here is watching Sontag grow into one of the century’s leading minds. In these carefully selected excerpts (many passages are only a few lines), Sontag details her developing thoughts, her voluminous reading and daily movie-going, her life as a teenage college student at Berkeley discovering her sexuality (“bisexuality as the expression of fullness of an individual”), and meeting and marrying her professor Philip Rieff, with whom, at the age of 18, she had David, her only child. Most powerful are the entries corresponding to her years in England and Europe, when, apart from Philip and their son, the marriage broke down and Sontag entered intense lesbian relationships that would compel her to rethink her notions of sex, love (“physical beauty is enormously, almost morbidly, important to me”) and daughter- and motherhood, and all before the age of 30. Watching Sontag become herself is nothing short of cathartic.
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 27, 2009
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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