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Regarding the Pain of Others

Regarding the Pain of Others Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A brilliant, clear-eyed new consideration of the visual representation of violence in our culture — its ubiquity, meanings, and effects.

Watching the evening news offers constant evidence of atrocity — a daily commonplace in our "society of spectacle." But are viewers inured or incited to violence by the daily depiction of cruelty and horror? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the universal availability of imagery intended to shock?

In her first full-scale investigation of the role of imagery in our culture since her now-classic book On Photography defined the terms of the debate twenty-five years ago, Susan Sontag cuts through circular arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent or foster violence as she takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity — from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and Dachau and Auschwitz to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

Review:

"[Regarding the Pain of Others] focuses on how we look at photographs of calamities and the moral implications of such observation...a revisionistic coda of sorts to On Photography." The New York Times

Review:

"Regarding the Pain of Others examines the intersection of aesthetics, politics and ethics in elegant, intelligently constructed prose. [This is] a timely meditation on politics and ethics." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Review:

"In her 1977 book, On Photography, Sontag argued that 'photographs shrivel sympathy,' but here she revisits that idea, amending it to suggest that nothing, short of being in a war, can provoke the sympathy that war requires." The Denver Post

Review:

"We ought to be grateful to Susan Sontag." Charles Simic, The New York Review of Books

Review:

"A fiercely challenging book....Immensely thought-provoking." The Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"Sontag reminds us that sincerity can turn a mere spectator into a witness, and that it is the heart rather than fancy rhetoric that can lead the mind to understanding." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Amid debates about how television and print media frame and filter information, Sontag's cautionary remarks about war photography have a welcome sobriety. They offer comfort neither to pro-war nor to anti-war readers." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"With her usual sizzling way of connecting literature, art, music, and politics, Sontag illustrates the role of representation in reflecting reality by ranging over writers and artists from Virginia Woolf, Wordsworth, and Baudelaire to Plato and Leonardo da Vinci." Orlando Sentinal

Synopsis:

Twenty-five years after her classic On Photography, Susan Sontag returns to the subject of visual representations of war and violence in our culture today.

How does the spectacle of the sufferings of others (via television or newsprint) affect us? Are viewers inured--or incited--to violence by the depiction of cruelty? In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and the Nazi death camps, to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

In Regarding the Pain of Others Susan Sontag once again changes the way we think about the uses and meanings of images in our world, and offers an important reflection about how war itself is waged (and understood) in our time.

Synopsis:

A brilliant, clear-eyed new consideration of the visual representation of violence in our culture--its ubiquity, meanings, and effects

Watching the evening news offers constant evidence of atrocity--a daily commonplace in our society of spectacle. But are viewers inured -or incited--to violence by the daily depiction of cruelty and horror? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the universal availability of imagery intended to shock?

In her first full-scale investigation of the role of imagery in our culture since her now-classic book On Photography defined the terms of the debate twenty-five years ago, Susan Sontag cuts through circular arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent or foster violence as she takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and Dachau and Auschwitz to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

As John Berger wrote when On Photography was first published, All future discussions or analysis of the role of photography in the affluent mass-media societies is now bound to begin with her book. Sontag's new book, a startling reappraisal of the intersection of information, news, art, and politics in the contemporary depiction of war and disaster, will be equally essential. It will forever alter our thinking about the uses and meanings of images in our world.

Susan Sontag's most recent books are a collection of essays, Where the Stress Falls, and a novel, In America, for which she won the National Book Award. Among her earlier books are three novels, a collection of stories, a play, and five works of nonfiction, among them On Photography and Illness As Metaphor. In 2001 Ms. Sontag was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work. In 2003 she received the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. Ms. Sontag was recognized by the jury for having produced literary works in different genres that are of outstanding quality from an aesthetic point of view, and which confront the essential issues of our time with profound depth of vision.

A New York Times Notable Book

A Los Angeles Times Best Book

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book

One of the distinguishing features of modern life is that it supplies countless opportunities for regarding (at a distance, through the medium of photography) horrors taking place throughout the world. Images of atrocities have become, via the little screens of the television and the computer, something of a commonplace. But are viewers inured--or incited--to violence by the depiction of cruelty? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the daily barrage of such images? What does it mean to care about the sufferings of people in faraway zones of conflict?

Susan Sontag's now classic book On Photography defined the terms of this debate twenty-five years ago. Her new book is a profound rethinking of the intersection of news, art, and understanding in the contemporary depiction of war and disaster. She makes a fresh appraisal of the arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent, foster violence, or create apathy, evoking a long history of the representation of the pain of others--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographic documents of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi death camps, and contemporary images from Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Israel, and Palestine, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

This also a book about how war itself is waged (and understood) in our time, replete with vivid historical examples and a variety of arguments advanced from some unexpected literary sources. Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Edmund Burke, Wordsworth, Baudelaire, and Virginia Woolf all figure in this passionate reflection in the modern understanding of violence and atrocity. It includes as well a stinging attack on the provincialism of media pundits who denigrate the reality of war, and a political understanding of conflict, with glib talk about a new, worldwide society of spectacle. Just as On Photography challenged how we understand the very condition of being modern, Regarding the Pain of Others will alter our thinking not only about the uses and meaning of images, but about the nature of war, the limits of sympathy, and the obligations of conscience.

Sontag offers a fresh, meticulous, and deeply affecting dissection of the role images of suffering play in our lives . . . Writing with electrifying clarity and conciseness, Sontag traces the evolution of the 'iconography of suffering' from paintings by Goya, to photographs of concentration camps, to the first live and in-color war coverage to rage across television screens, that of the Vietnam War, to images of the destruction of the World Trade Center taken by amateurs and professionals alike. Sontag parses the difference in our response to images of terrorism at home versus abroad, and forthrightly addresses our pornographic fascination with images of the wounded and dead. Ultimately, Sontag, scrupulous in her reasoning and exhilarating in her arguments, arrives at a paradox: although we're inundated more than ever before by stark visual evidence of the 'pain of others, ' we've yet to increase our capacity to do something about it.--Donna Seaman, Booklist

Sontag reappraises many of the opinions she laid out in her well known 1977 book On Photography. That earlier volume gave us a searing indictment of photography, arguing that it limits 'experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir' . . . Regarding the Pain of Others] focuses on how we look at photographs of calamities and the moral implications of such observation . . . Nuanced . . . a revisionistic coda of sorts to On Photog

About the Author

Susan Sontag's most recent novel, In America, won the National Book Award in 2000. Her other books include four novels, a collection of stories, a play, and nonfiction works, among them On Photography and Illness as Metaphor. She lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374248581
Author:
Temerson, Catherine
Author:
Frisardi, Andrew
Author:
Sontag, Susan
Author:
Bidart, Frank; Gewanter, David
Publisher:
Picador
Location:
New York
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Conflict Resolution
Subject:
Mass Media - Electronics Media
Subject:
Violence
Subject:
Photojournalism
Subject:
War and society
Subject:
Atrocities
Subject:
War photography
Subject:
War in art
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
Violence in Society
Subject:
Media Studies - Electronic Media
Subject:
General Social Science
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
144-02
Publication Date:
20040201
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
YES
Pages:
144
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Journalism » Media Studies

Regarding the Pain of Others
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 144 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374248581 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[Regarding the Pain of Others] focuses on how we look at photographs of calamities and the moral implications of such observation...a revisionistic coda of sorts to On Photography."
"Review" by , "Regarding the Pain of Others examines the intersection of aesthetics, politics and ethics in elegant, intelligently constructed prose. [This is] a timely meditation on politics and ethics."
"Review" by , "In her 1977 book, On Photography, Sontag argued that 'photographs shrivel sympathy,' but here she revisits that idea, amending it to suggest that nothing, short of being in a war, can provoke the sympathy that war requires."
"Review" by , "We ought to be grateful to Susan Sontag."
"Review" by , "A fiercely challenging book....Immensely thought-provoking."
"Review" by , "Sontag reminds us that sincerity can turn a mere spectator into a witness, and that it is the heart rather than fancy rhetoric that can lead the mind to understanding."
"Review" by , "Amid debates about how television and print media frame and filter information, Sontag's cautionary remarks about war photography have a welcome sobriety. They offer comfort neither to pro-war nor to anti-war readers."
"Review" by , "With her usual sizzling way of connecting literature, art, music, and politics, Sontag illustrates the role of representation in reflecting reality by ranging over writers and artists from Virginia Woolf, Wordsworth, and Baudelaire to Plato and Leonardo da Vinci."
"Synopsis" by ,
Twenty-five years after her classic On Photography, Susan Sontag returns to the subject of visual representations of war and violence in our culture today.

How does the spectacle of the sufferings of others (via television or newsprint) affect us? Are viewers inured--or incited--to violence by the depiction of cruelty? In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and the Nazi death camps, to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

In Regarding the Pain of Others Susan Sontag once again changes the way we think about the uses and meanings of images in our world, and offers an important reflection about how war itself is waged (and understood) in our time.

"Synopsis" by , A brilliant, clear-eyed new consideration of the visual representation of violence in our culture--its ubiquity, meanings, and effects

Watching the evening news offers constant evidence of atrocity--a daily commonplace in our society of spectacle. But are viewers inured -or incited--to violence by the daily depiction of cruelty and horror? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the universal availability of imagery intended to shock?

In her first full-scale investigation of the role of imagery in our culture since her now-classic book On Photography defined the terms of the debate twenty-five years ago, Susan Sontag cuts through circular arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent or foster violence as she takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and Dachau and Auschwitz to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

As John Berger wrote when On Photography was first published, All future discussions or analysis of the role of photography in the affluent mass-media societies is now bound to begin with her book. Sontag's new book, a startling reappraisal of the intersection of information, news, art, and politics in the contemporary depiction of war and disaster, will be equally essential. It will forever alter our thinking about the uses and meanings of images in our world.

Susan Sontag's most recent books are a collection of essays, Where the Stress Falls, and a novel, In America, for which she won the National Book Award. Among her earlier books are three novels, a collection of stories, a play, and five works of nonfiction, among them On Photography and Illness As Metaphor. In 2001 Ms. Sontag was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work. In 2003 she received the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. Ms. Sontag was recognized by the jury for having produced literary works in different genres that are of outstanding quality from an aesthetic point of view, and which confront the essential issues of our time with profound depth of vision.

A New York Times Notable Book

A Los Angeles Times Best Book

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book

One of the distinguishing features of modern life is that it supplies countless opportunities for regarding (at a distance, through the medium of photography) horrors taking place throughout the world. Images of atrocities have become, via the little screens of the television and the computer, something of a commonplace. But are viewers inured--or incited--to violence by the depiction of cruelty? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the daily barrage of such images? What does it mean to care about the sufferings of people in faraway zones of conflict?

Susan Sontag's now classic book On Photography defined the terms of this debate twenty-five years ago. Her new book is a profound rethinking of the intersection of news, art, and understanding in the contemporary depiction of war and disaster. She makes a fresh appraisal of the arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent, foster violence, or create apathy, evoking a long history of the representation of the pain of others--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographic documents of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi death camps, and contemporary images from Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Israel, and Palestine, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

This also a book about how war itself is waged (and understood) in our time, replete with vivid historical examples and a variety of arguments advanced from some unexpected literary sources. Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Edmund Burke, Wordsworth, Baudelaire, and Virginia Woolf all figure in this passionate reflection in the modern understanding of violence and atrocity. It includes as well a stinging attack on the provincialism of media pundits who denigrate the reality of war, and a political understanding of conflict, with glib talk about a new, worldwide society of spectacle. Just as On Photography challenged how we understand the very condition of being modern, Regarding the Pain of Others will alter our thinking not only about the uses and meaning of images, but about the nature of war, the limits of sympathy, and the obligations of conscience.

Sontag offers a fresh, meticulous, and deeply affecting dissection of the role images of suffering play in our lives . . . Writing with electrifying clarity and conciseness, Sontag traces the evolution of the 'iconography of suffering' from paintings by Goya, to photographs of concentration camps, to the first live and in-color war coverage to rage across television screens, that of the Vietnam War, to images of the destruction of the World Trade Center taken by amateurs and professionals alike. Sontag parses the difference in our response to images of terrorism at home versus abroad, and forthrightly addresses our pornographic fascination with images of the wounded and dead. Ultimately, Sontag, scrupulous in her reasoning and exhilarating in her arguments, arrives at a paradox: although we're inundated more than ever before by stark visual evidence of the 'pain of others, ' we've yet to increase our capacity to do something about it.--Donna Seaman, Booklist

Sontag reappraises many of the opinions she laid out in her well known 1977 book On Photography. That earlier volume gave us a searing indictment of photography, arguing that it limits 'experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir' . . . Regarding the Pain of Others] focuses on how we look at photographs of calamities and the moral implications of such observation . . . Nuanced . . . a revisionistic coda of sorts to On Photog

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