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Reborn is the compelling and frank early diary of Susan Sontag.
'Vivid, exhilarating, often moving . . . charts the development of a good writer and an important critic'Sunday Telegraph
'I intend to do everything . . . I shall anticipate pleasure everywhere and find it too, for it is everywhere! I shall involve myself wholly . . .everything matters!'
This first selection from Susan Sontag's diaries (from 1947-1963) takes us from early adolescence though to when Sontag was in her early thirties. It is an astonishingly affecting, honest self-portrait which is also a fascinating, revealing account of an artist and critic being born. We see Sontag honing her skills and fashioning herself, by a supreme act of will, into an intellectual force.
'Fascinating. One can feel Sontag's mind beginning to ripen and bloom, and the full force of the intellectual originality that would be her hallmark emerging' Guardian
'Inspirational. Sontag shows us not just the importance, but the exhilaration of being earnest' New Statesman
'A fascinating document of her apprenticeship, charting her earnest quest for education, identity, and voice. Reborn is overwhelmingly a record of an inner landscape' New York Review of Books
'One of the finest American writers, thinkers, and political activists of the past four decades . . . an intimate portrait of her early life' Independent on Sunday
One of America's best-known and most admired writers, Susan Sontag was also a leading commentator on contemporary culture until her death in December 2004. Her books include four novels and numerous works of non-fiction, among them Regarding the Pain of Others, On Photography, Illness as Metaphor, At the Same Time, Against Interpretation and Other Essays and Reborn: Early Diaries 1947-1963, all of which are published by Penguin. A further eight books, including the collections of essays Under the Sign of Saturn and Where the Stress Falls, and the novels The Volcano Lover and The Benefactor, are available from Penguin Modern Classics.
The first of three planned volumes of Sontag s private journals, this book is extraordinary for all the reasons we would expect from Sontag s writing extreme seriousness, stunning authority, intolerance toward mediocrity; Sontag s vulnerability throughout will also utterly surprise the late critic and novelist s fans and detractors. At 15, when these journals began, Sontag (1933 2004) already displayed her ferocious intellect and hunger for experience and culture, though what is most remarkable here is watching Sontag grow into one of the century s leading minds. In these carefully selected excerpts (many passages are only a few lines), Sontag details her developing thoughts, her voluminous reading and daily movie-going, her life as a teenage college student at Berkeley discovering her sexuality ( bisexuality as the expression of fullness of an individual ), and meeting and marrying her professor Philip Rieff, with whom, at the age of 18, she had David, her only child. Most powerful are the entries corresponding to her years in England and Europe, when, apart from Philip and their son, the marriage broke down and Sontag entered intense lesbian relationships that would compel her to rethink her notions of sex, love ( physical beauty is enormously, almost morbidly, important to me ) and daughter- and motherhood, and all before the age of 30. Watching Sontag become herself is nothing short of cathartic.