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Fourth Printing. Finally, in her famous "Notes on 'Camp,'" Sontag outlines her seminal theory of camp as a type of aesthetic understanding that emphasizes, style, exaggeration, and theatricality in forms of mode art. First published in 1966, this celebrated book--Sontag's first collection of essays--quickly became a modern classic, and has had an enormous influence in America and abroad on thinking about the arts and contemporary culture. She has written novels like The Benefactor (1964) and Death Kit (1968) . Two essays near the end of this section discuss recent transgressive or avant-garde films, Jack Smith's controversial "Flaming Creatures" and Alain Resnais' "Muriel." What, then, does Sontag mean by “interpretation”? Immediately download the Against Interpretation summary, chapter-by-chapter analysis, book notes, essays, quotes, character descriptions, lesson plans, and more - everything you need for studying or teaching Against Interpretation. Against Interpretation Susan Sontag The earliest experience of art must have been that it was incantatory, magical; art was an instrument of ritual. Part 3 moves to the arena of the theater. And the artists and intellectuals she discusses – Nietzsche, Camus, Godard, Barthes etc – demonstrate that she knew which horses to back. Though they bear the stamp of their time, Sontag was remarkably prescient; her project of analysing popular culture as well as high culture, the Doors as well as Dostoevsky, is now common practice throughout the educated world. As well as the title essay and the famous "Notes on Camp," "Against Interpretation" includes original and provocative discussions of Sartre, Simone Weil, Godard, Beckett, science-fiction movies, psychoanalysis, and contemporary religious thinking. "Against Interpretation" is Sontag's influential essay within Against Interpretation and Other Essays that discusses the divisions between two different kinds of art criticism and theory: that of formalist interpretation, and that of content-based interpretation. The book was a finalist for the Arts and Letters category of the National Book Award . Part 1 contains two of her more conceptual or theoretical essays, "Against Interpretation" and "On Style." The main factor which determines Sontag’s position in regards to art criticism is the fact that our society is one of excessiveness, especially in a generation that’s media capability allows for… He concluded, "Miss Sontag has written a ponderable, vivacious, beautifully living and quite astonishingly American book. Originally published in 1966, it has never gone out of print and has influenced generations of readers all over the world. Part 2 discusses a swathe of European intellectuals, providing critical reviews of their work as well as expository introductions for her decidedly American audience. This is the issue of interpretation. This edition features a new afterword by Sontag. In an essay on performance art and proto-flash mobs, "Happenings: An Art of Radical Juxtaposition" Sontag examines that work of performance art pioneer Allan Kaprow and places his work and legacy in conversation with important historical antecedents such as the Surrealist movement. The next set of essays contained in part 4 of the book deal with individual films, film directors, and cinema itself as a new, burgeoning form of art in the 20th century. That is, to approach art works with a strong emphasis on form, to “reveal the sensuous surface of art without mucking about in it.”, In a contemporary review of the book, Benjamin DeMott of The New York Times praised Against Interpretation as "a vivid bit of living history here and now, and at the end of the sixties it may well rank among the invaluable cultural chronicles of these years." To Sontag, modernity means a loss of sensory experience and she believes (in corroboration with her theory of the damaging nature of criticism) that the pleasure of art is diminished by such overload of the senses. She provides an overview of American trends in psychoanalysis and Freudian scholarship through a dense, mostly positive review of a recent book on the topic in "Psychoanalysis and Norman O. Sontag is strongly averse to what she considers to be contemporary interpretation, that is, an overabundance of importance placed upon the content or meaning of an artwork rather than being keenly alert to the sensuous aspects of a given work and developing a descriptive vocabulary for how it appears and how it does whatever it does. The essay "The Death of Tragedy" takes a broad step back and examines the state of the dramatic form of theater itself and its relationship to the Western self through the cipher of Lionel Abel's delimitation of the genre of tragedy and his idea of metatheater. The modern style of interpretation is particularly despised by Sontag in relation to the previous classical style of interpretation that sought to “bring artworks up to date”, to meet modern interests and apply allegorical readings. In each essay and with each individual Sontag selects and reviews a single work that is, on her reading, especially representative of the author's entire body of work. reads like a short journal of Sontag's theater and movie going experiences in the summer of 1964, examining figures as diverse as James Baldwin, Arthur Miller, and Stanley Kubrick, and highlighting the importance of single cinematic and theatrical works like Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" and Peter Brook's production of "King Lear.". Where this type of interpretation was seen to resolve conflict between past and present by revamping an art work and maintaining a certain level of respect and honour, Sontag believes that the modern style of interpretation has lost sensitivity and rather strives to “excavate...destroy” a piece of art. In this group of essays, Sontag discusses single dramatic productions like Rolf Hochhuth's "The Deputy" and Peter Weiss's "The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade" as well as single, influential playwrights like Eugene Ionesco. In the first two essays, Sontag tasks herself with introducing the influential French film directors Robert Bresson and Jean-Luc Godard to her American audience by way of a few of their more accessible works. " Brandon Robshaw of The Independent later observed, "This classic collection of essays and criticism from the 1960s flatters the reader's intelligence without being intimidating." Susan Sontag’s ‘Against Interpretation’ – a 1964 seminal essay is one of her most famous works. In this way, Sontag asserts that inevitably, the modern style of interpretation separates form and content in a manner that damages an artwork and one's own sensorial appreciation of a piece. Against Interpretation and Other Essays Summary - eNotes.com First published in 1966, this celebrated book--Sontag's first collection of essays--quickly became a modern classic, and has had an enormous influence in America and abroad on thinking about the arts and Sontag is strongly averse to what she considers to be contemporary interpretation, that is, an overabundance of importance placed upon the content or meaning of an artwork rather than being keenly alert to the sensuous aspects of a given work and devel… He added, "...the essays are unfailingly stimulating. Immediately download the Against Interpretation summary, chapter-by-chapter analysis, book notes, essays, quotes, character descriptions, lesson plans, and more - everything you need for studying or teaching Against Interpretation. These figures include the religious thinker Simone Weil, French philosophers Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, the French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, the Hungarian literary critic Georg Lukacs, and the French writer Nathalie Saurrate. help you understand the book. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969. It is yet another rule of construction that when the words of the statute are clear, plain and unambiguous, then the courts are bound to give effect to that meaning, irrespective of the consequences. Susan Sontag is an avante-guarde writer (who discards conventions) who belongs to the American school of criticism. It includes some of Sontag's best-known works, including "On Style," and the eponymous essay "Against Interpretation." Susan Sontag, in “Against Interpretation,” takes a very interesting critical standpoint on the idea of literary interpretation. The final section of the book, Part 5, contains a miscellany of various essays that cannot be neatly gathered under a single heading. "Going to theater, etc." ", In their introduction to Critique and Postcritique (2017), Rita Felski and Elizabeth S. Anker argue that the title essay from Sontag's collection has played an important role in the field of postcritique, a movement within literary criticism and cultural studies that attempts to find new forms of reading and interpretation that go beyond the methods of critique, critical theory, and ideological criticism.
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