After dividing critics with her National Book Award-winning novel In
America, Susan Sontag has released an anthology of forty-one essays
that should hush any naysayers. Where the Stress Falls covers over
twenty years of sharp analysis and opinion that run the gamut of topics:
literature, autobiography, film, photography, activism, Sontag's experiences
in Sarajevo, and her own literary career. Divided into three sections
"Reading," "Seeing," and "There and Now"
here is a testament to a career of intellectual rigor. Surprising
in its variety and impressive in its perspicacity, these essays are united
by Sontag's unique brand of observation fierce, provocative, but
always imploring the reader to think for themselves. First and foremost
an essayist, Sontag is on home terrain here. Where the Stress Falls proves Sontag, once
again, to be one of America's most significant cultural
thinkers. Georgie, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
An engaging new novel about love, onstage and off.
In the spring of 1971, Will Bartlett, an ambitious director at a small resident theater, has an idea: he will invite his cast of Steinbecks Of Mice and Men to his country farm for a month, giving them the opportunity of "becoming" their characters and enhancing the realistic atmosphere of his next production. Wills family grudgingly agrees to his sudden change of plan, but events and personalities rapidly spiral out of his control. The cast of nine men and one woman is already unevenly balanced, but the situation is made even worse when Melinda -- the woman playing the part of Curleys wife -- fails to turn up at the farm as expected. Wills wife, Myra, takes the role, although she has not been on stage since their daughter, Beth, was born. Sixteen-year-old Beth is furious, having already decided that the part should be hers. When the self-obsessed Will remains oblivious to the problems between Myra and Beth, as well as the increasing distance between himself and his wife, Myra finds herself looking at her husbands best friend in a new light. The tension grows among the members of Wills family, and the other actors find themselves drawn into a complex tangle of relationships, leading them to question not only how well they know one another but also how well they know themselves.
"One of the few Americans to manage superbly the dual roles of public intellectual and novelist....There is no one quite like Sontag, and her many admirers will enjoy following up on her reading tips and engaging in debate with her via this book." Ivan R. Dee, Publishers Weekly
"[H]er criticism is art in its own right, so gorgeously formed and creative, so vital and searching, deeply rooted in passionately intelligent reading and unstinting curiosity....a substantial and wonderfully musical collection that makes matters literary and artistic urgent and thrilling." Donna Seaman, Booklist
Susan Sontag has said that her earliest idea of what a writer should be was "someone who is interested in everything." Thirty-five years after her first collection of essays, the now classic Against Interpretation
, our most important essayist has chosen more than forty longer and shorter pieces from the last two decades that illustrate a deeply felt, kaleidoscopic array of interests, passions, observations, and ideas.
"Reading" offers ardent, freewheeling considerations of talismanic writers from her own private canon, such as Marina Tsvetaeva, Randall Jarrell, Roland Barthes, Machado de Assis, W. G. Sebald, Borges, and Elizabeth Hardwick. "Seeing" is a series of luminous and incisive encounters with film, dance, photography, painting, opera, and theatre. And in the final section, "There and Here," Sontag explores some of her own commitments: to the work (and activism) of conscience, to the concreteness of historical understanding, and to the vocation of the writer.
Where the Stress Falls records a great American writer's urgent engagement with some of the most significant aesthetic and moral issues of the late twentieth century, and provides a brilliant and clear-eyed appraisal of what is at stake, in this new century, in the survival of that inheritance.
Two decades of indispensable work by a great American writer. Thirty-five years after her first collection of essays, Sontag has chosen more than 40 longer and shorter pieces that illustrate a deeply felt, kaleidoscopic array of interests, passions, observations, and ideas.
Thirty-five years after her first collection, the now classic Against Interpretation, America's most important essayist has chosen more than forty longer and shorter pieces from the last twenty years. Divided into three sections, the first "Reading" includes ardent pieces on writers from her own private canon - Machado de Assis, Barthes, W. G. Sebald, Borges, Tsvetaeva, and Elizabeth Hardwick. In the second, "Seeing" she shares her passions for film, dance, photography, painting, opera, and theater. And in the final section, "There and Here" Sontag explores her own commitments to the work (and activism) of conscience and to the vocation of the writer.
About the Author
Susan Sontag is the author of four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover and In America; I, etcetera, a collection of stories; several plays; and five works of nonfiction, among them On Photography and Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. She lives in New York City. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work.
Table of Contents
A Poet's Prose
Where the Stress Falls
Afterlives: The Case of Machado de Assis
A Mind in Mourning
The Wisdom Project
Writing Itself: On Roland Barthes
A Letter to Borges
A Century of Cinema
Novel into Film: Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz
A Note on Bunraku
A Place for Fantasy
The Pleasure of the Image
A Lexicon for Available Light
In Memory of Their Feelings
Dancer and the Dance
An Ecstasy of Lament
One Hundred Years of Italian Photography
A Photograph is Not an Opinion. Or Is It?
There and Here
Homage to Halliburton
Writing As Reading
Thirty Years Later . . .
Questions of Travel
The Idea of Europe (One More Elegy)
The Very Comical Lament of Pyramus and Thisbe (An Interlude)
Answers to a Questionnaire
Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo
"There" and "Here"
On Being Translated