As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh

As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh

Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980

Book - 2012
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A second volume of journals shares intimate reflections on the writer's artistic and political development during a trip to Hanoi at the peak of the Vietnam War and throughout her film-making years in Sweden before the dawn of the Reagan era.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374100766
Branch Call Number: 818.5409 SONTAG
Characteristics: xii, 523 p. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Rieff, David


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JRothermel Sep 06, 2012

My full review can be found here:


In his Preface, David Rieff writes: “My mother never recanted her opposition to the [Vietnam] war. But she did come to regret, and, unlike so many of her peers...., to publicly recant, her faith in the emancipatory possibilities of Communism, not just in its Soviet, Chinese, or Cuban incarnation, but as a system.”

The previous quotes from Sontag’s journals and notebooks, where she proudly defines her role as that of “adversary,” certainly confirm Rieff’s statement. But “adversary” of what? Aye, there’s the rub. Adversarialism is as adversarialism does. For Sontag it meant, once, putting herself on the line for the Vietnamese revolution. But Rieff has, as he admits, removed all but a few of the journal entries from Sontag’s trip to North Vietnam. He also mentions nothing about any journals from a later visit to China. Their content is unknown, as is their scope and length. Does this apparent ‘reduction’ of the author’s work bring into question the good faith of the editorial enterprise? How can it not?


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