Sontag, Susan

NOVELIST, ESSAYIST, ART CRITIC, THEATRE DIRECTOR (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
BORN 16 Jan 1933, New York City, New York - DIED 28 Dec 2004, New York City, New York: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Montparnasse Cimetière (division 02, section 2, 1 East, 28 North, concession 3PA2005)

Susan Sontag was born in New York City and grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Her father Jack Rosenblatt died in China when she was five and her mother married Captain Nathan Sontag when she was seven. She went to high school in Los Angeles and to University in Chicago, where she graduated in 1951. When she was seventeen she married sociology instructor Philip Rieff. She had a child, but they were divorced late in the fifties.

She continued her studies at Harvard and and Paris (1955-1957). After that she worked as an instructor at Columbia University. In the 1960s she wrote for New York Review of Books, Atlantic Monthly and Harper's.

When she was 30 she published her first novel, "The Cannibals". She was well known for her essays. Some of them were published in "Against Interpretation and Other Essays" (1968). Her second novel "Death Kit" was published in 1967.

After she was treated for cancer she wrote "Illness as a Metaphor" (1978). Her third novel "The Volcano Lover" (1992) is about William Hamilton and his wife Emma, who became Nelson's mistress. It criticizes cruelty and the treatment of women in those days. Between 1993 and 1996 he spent most of her time in Sarajevo during the war in Bosnia. She wrote the essay "Why Are We In Kosovo" (1999).

In 1999 she published "In America", about an actress who tries to found a commune. "In America" won the National Book Award in 2000. It was one of the many prices she received. She wrote and directed four movies between 1969 and 1983. Her play "Alice in Bed" was produced in several countries.

Susan Sontag made no secret about her bisexuality and stated that she had five times been in love with a man and four times with a woman. She had frequently been treated for breast cancer as well as uterine cancer and died of the complications of leukemia in Manhattan in 2004. According to her own wishes she was buried at Montparnasse in Paris.

Related persons
• wrote about Beckford, William
• wrote about Hamilton, Emma
• wrote about Hamilton, William
• criticized Riefenstahl, Leni

Sources
• Faust, Langdon Lynne (ed.), American Women Writers (abridged edition), Ungar, New York, 1988
• Moerman, Josien (ed.), Lexicon Internationale Auteurs, Het Spectrum, Utrecht, 1985
Find-A-Grave

Images

The grave of Susan Sontag at Montparnasse Cimetière, Paris.
Picture by Androom (18 May 2005)

 

The grave of Susan Sontag at the Cimetière Montparnasse, Paris.
Picture by Androom (18 Feb 2016)

 


Sontag-Markloff, Franziska

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 22 Oct 2016