35 Susan Sontag Quotes That Literary Fans Will Go Nuts Reading

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In her words.

35 Susan Sontag Quotes That Will Have You Thinking for Days and Days

Susan Sontag was a prolific writer whose writing inspired a new generation of writers.

Enjoy some of Susan Sontag's quotes below, and feel inspired to read and write! Whether you love her books or her notes on Camp, literary lovers will love her wise words, astute observations, and famous quotes!

Check out some of Susan Sontag's work here on Amazon.

Check out Benjamin Moser's latest biography, Sontag: Her Life & Work, here on Amazon.


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Susan Sontag Quotes

  • "Sanity is a cozy lie."

  • "Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas."

  • "Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs."

  • "In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art."

  • "The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions."

  • "The painter constructs, the photographer discloses."

  • "Never worry about being obsessive. I like obsessive people. Obsessive people make great art."

  • "I discovered that I am tired of being a person. Not just tired of being the person I was, but any person at all."

  • "It hurts to love. It's like giving yourself to be flayed and knowing that at any moment the other person may just walk off with your skin."

  • "My emotional life: dialectic between craving for privacy and need to submerge myself in a passionate relationship to another."

  • "I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them."

  • "I'm only interested in people engaged in a project of self-transformation."

  • "Life is a movie; death is a photograph."

Quotes Susan Sontag

  • "I like to feel dumb. That’s how I know there’s more in the world than me."

  • "The fear of becoming old is born of the recognition that one is not living now the life that one wishes."

  • "Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world."

  • "Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers. The question of what to do with the feelings that have been aroused, the knowledge that has been communicated. If one feels that there is nothing 'we' can do -- but who is that 'we'? -- and nothing 'they' can do either -- and who are 'they' -- then one starts to get bored, cynical, apathetic."

  • "The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own."

  • "Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art."

  • "What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine."

  • "Narratives can make us understand. Photographs do something else: they haunt us."

  • "It is intolerable to have one's sufferings twinned with anybody else's."

  • "With time, many staged photographs turn back into historical evidence, albeit of an impure kind - like most historical evidence."

  • "Reading usually precedes writing. And the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer."

Susan Sontag Quotes

  • "My library is an archive of longings."

  • "Books are funny little portable pieces of thought."

  • "Mallarme said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph."

  • "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."

  • "Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager."

  • "Depression is melancholy minus its charms."

  • "The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known. If there were no speaking or writing, there would be no truth about anything. There would only be what is."

  • "I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them."

  • "I guess I think I'm writing for people who are smarter than I am, because then I'll be doing something that's worth their time."

  • "Rules of taste enforce structures of power."

  • "Being in love means being willing to ruin yourself for the other person."

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