Heffernan Proposes Self as Sontag of the Internet

The New York TimesVirginia Heffernan has a book proposal out to publishers just in time for the Frankfurt Book Fair, via her literary agent, John Brockman. The former Times TV critic wants to write about her second love, the Internet, which she has covered for The Times Magazine since 2007 in a column called the Medium.

In the proposal, a copy of which was obtained by the Transom, Ms. Heffernan’s book is described as “a complete aesthetics of the Internet” that will treat the Web as a complex work of representational art, complete with “a poetics, a scale, a palette, a rhythm, a sensibility, a set of rituals and spectacles, a system of metaphors and an emotional range.”

By the sound of it, Ms. Heffernan’s book—tentatively titled The Pleasures of the Internet: How
to Live in the New Online Civilization
—will serve as a sunny companion piece to
Lee Siegel’s 2008 manifesto Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob.

In Mr. Brockman’s cover letter, Ms. Heffernan is quoted as saying that she wants to show readers how the pleasures of the Internet can be savored, “the way Ian Watt and Leslie Fiedler showed readers how to approach novels, Pauline Kael showed us how to approach movies, Lester Bangs showed us how to approach rock music, Susan Sontag showed us how to approach photography and George Trow and Marshall McLuhan showed us how to approach television.”

Neither Ms. Heffernan nor Mr. Brockman returned calls on Tuesday.

  Heffernan Proposes Self as Sontag of the Internet