The Sorry Significance of Susan Sontag

In a new biography, the critic emerges as an advanced exemplar of a nexus of glamor and moral self-regard.

November 12, 2019 | Michael Weingrad
About the author: Michael Weingrad is professor of Jewish studies at Portland State University and a frequent contributor to Mosaic and the Jewish Review of Books. 

Susan Sontag in New York on December 2, 1962. Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images.

A former schoolmate of Susan Sontag (1933-2004) recalls their first meeting. The then nine-year-old Susan Rosenblatt came up to him on a playground and asked whether he was in the school’s academically gifted program; a transfer student, she had been unable to enroll in time. When he answered yes, she said: “Can I talk to you? Because the kids in my class are so dumb I can’t talk to them.”

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