from the issue
Camp is dead, and you’re invited to its autopsy the Monday after the Super Bowl. That’s when the new NBC series Smash premieres (though it’s already available online). The drama takes place behind the scenes of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, following the cast and crew through their various personal and professional Read More
In 1978, when People wanted to interview Susan Sontag, the writer wondered aloud how Samuel Beckett might respond given the same opportunity. It was not unusual for her to invoke Beckett in this way. “When she worried she was making too many compromises,” Sigrid Nunez recalls in Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag (Atlas, Read More
Is it just me, or is there a kind of suspended-animation feel to these mid-December weeks? Santa Claus is coming to town, but he’s not here yet; Barack Obama is coming, too, but that’s not till January. ’Tis the season to be waiting—and to help us understand our predicament, we have Harold Schweizer’s On Waiting Read More
SWIMMING IN A SEA OF DEATH
By David Rieff
Simon & Schuster, 179 pages, $21
There’s something obscene about sitting at a desk, in a chair that corrects the posture, sipping warm, sugary tea, yawning or scratching, barely aware of the fug of felt life, all the while getting ready to give Read More
In March 2004, the novelist and critic Susan Sontag delivered the first Nadine Gordimer lecture to audiences in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The title of the speech was “At the Same Time: The Novelist and Moral Reasoning,” and in addition to offering an appreciation of Gordimer’s writing, it was a long reflection on the Read More
At first glance, the cover of Susan Sontag’s final book—the almost-complete manuscript she left at her death in December 2004—seems antiseptic and ultra-modern, like an architectural photograph of the Düsseldorf School. Designed by Winterhouse, a small press run by her friend William Drenttel, it features a neutral vertical gray panel beside a photograph of Sontag’s Read More
Through the glass door at the W Hotel Bar in Union Square, I saw him: the screenwriter from L.A. My Internet Cyrano, the person I’d been talking to every night for the last month. My first instinct was to turn and sprint. Not just because he was holding a single long-stemmed rose that was clearly Read More
Annie Leibovitz, the grand dame of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone covers, was the one facing flashbulbs. The other morning she gave a private press tour of her new show at the Brooklyn Museum.
“Walk slowly. Watch your cameras,” she said. Microphone booms swung through the air, nearly knocking the photos off the Read More
This collection of 20 recent essays by Cynthia Ozick begins with a memorial appreciation of Susan Sontag. It’s noble and notable that Ms. Ozick should appreciate Sontag, a vanquishing rival for literary reputation and, equally to the point, a liberal emanating from the old Partisan Review, while Ms. Ozick stands with the Commentary crowd Read More