Interpreting Susan Sontag’s Essays: Radical Contemplative offers its readers a scholarly examination of her essays within the context of philosophy and aesthetic theory. This study sets up a dialogue between her works and their philosophical counterparts in France and Germany, including the works of Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, and Walter Benjamin. Artists and concepts discussed in relation to Sontag’s essays include the works of Andy Warhol, Pop Art, French New Wave Cinema, the music of John Cage, and the cinematic art of Robert Bresson, Leni Riefenstahl, Ingmar Bergman, and Jean-Luc Godard. Her aesthetic formalism is compared with Harold Bloom, and this is the first volume to examine her late works and their position within the American events of 9/11/01 and the War on Terror(ism).

chapter |26 pages


Sontag, the Essay Form, and Modernism

chapter 3|26 pages

Sontag’s Film Criticism

Bresson, Riefenstahl, Godard

chapter 5|25 pages

Sontag and Illness Degree Zero

chapter 6|26 pages

Crisis in the Polis

Sontag, Arendt, and the Nature of Eulogy

chapter 7|23 pages

Sontag and Derrida after 9/11/01

American Democracy (and Beyond)