Susan Sontag – Essays, Photography & ‘Notes on Camp’

Susan Sontag was a critical essayist, cultural analyst, novelist and filmmaker. She wrote ‘On Photography,’ ‘Illness as Metaphor,’ ‘The Volcano Lover’ and ‘In America,’ among many other works.

What Is Susan Sontag Known For?

Susan Sontag was born on January 16, 1933, in New York City. In 1964, she gained recognition for her essay “Notes on Camp.” Sontag became widely known for her nonfiction works including Against Interpretation and Other Essays (1966), On Photography (1976) and Illness as Metaphor (1978), as well as for novels like The Volcano Lover (1992) and In America (2000), for which she won the National Book Award. Sontag died from cancer on December 28, 2004, in New York.

Early Life and Education

Susan Sontag was born on January 16, 1933, in New York, New York to Mildred and Jack Rosenblatt, with the couple later having a second daughter, Judith. Sontag’s father was a fur trader, and her parents lived overseas for his business while Sontag lived with her grandparents in New York. Sontag’s father died when she was still a child. Her mother moved the family to milder climates because of Sontag’s asthma and they eventually relocated ato California. In 1945, Mildred married Air Corps captain Nathan Sontag, from whom a pre-teen Sontag would take her surname.

Sontag returned to the states by the late 1950s and opted to end her marriage with Rieff, moving to back to New York City with her son. She worked as a college instructor and began to make a name for herself as an essayist, writing for publications like The Nation and The New York Review of Books. A piece she wrote for The Parisian Review, “Notes on Camp,” earned her accolades. She had also been working on her debut novel, The Benefactor, released in 1963 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sontag’s publisher for the duration of her career.

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