Susan Sontag

This poet, author, and modernist emphasizes the role of interpretation in understanding art.

Print this page Print this page

Sontag became on outspoken critic of President Bush's response to the attacks, especially the U.S. war in Iraq; her final published work was Regarding the Torture of Others (May 23, 2004), an essay in the New York Times about American abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

Sontag, who had suffered from cancer intermittently for thirty years (she had been told after her original diagnosis in 1975 that she had a ten percent chance of surviving for two years), died of complications of acute myelogenous leukemia on December 28, 2004, two weeks shy of her seventy-second birthday.

Of the woman who once described a writer as one who should be "interested in everything," the New York Times wrote: "What united Sontag's output was a propulsive desire to define the forces--aesthetic, moral, political--that shape the modernist sensibility. And in so doing, she hoped to understand what it meant to be human in the waning years of the twentieth century."

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Tresa Grauer is a lecturer in the Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Her recent publications include "Identity Matters: Contemporary Jewish American Writing," in The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature, eds. Michael Kramer and Hana Wirth-Nesher, and "'The Changing Same': Narratives of Contemporary Jewish American Identity," in Mapping Jewish Identities, ed. Larry Silberstein.