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Sontag, Susan

lives stories themes franz

(US, 1933–2004)

Born in New York, Susan Sontag was best known for her essays on subjects as diverse as photography, illness, and pornography, and she also worked as a writer and director in theatre. Her novels and stories are often extensions of the ideas explored in her essays, but Sontag at her best wrote accessibly on intellectual themes. A good starting-point is The Volcano Lover (1992), a richly detailed historical romance based on the lives of the renowned eighteenth-century beauty, Emma Hamilton, and her husband William. The Benefactor (1963) explores the same period, following a young man named Hippolytus whose dream- and waking lives begin to merge and become confused during a Grand Tour of Europe. Death Kit (1967) is an imaginative reworking of themes and ideas drawn from the writings of Franz Kafka, and I, Etcetera (1978) is a collection of short stories.

John Berger, Franz Kafka, Simone de Beauvoir  WB

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