The Best Susan Sontag Quotes Quotations
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The Best Susan Sontag Quotes

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A list of the best Susan Sontag quotes. This list is arranged by which famous Susan Sontag quotes have received the most votes, so only the greatest Susan Sontag quotes are at the top of the list. All the most popular quotes from Susan Sontag should be listed here, but if any were missed you can add more at the end of the list. This list includes notable Susan Sontag quotes on various subjects, many of which are inspirational and thought provoking.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best Susan Sontag quotes?" and "What is the most famous Susan Sontag quote?"

You can see what subjects these historic Susan Sontag quotes fall under displayed to the right of the quote. Be sure to vote so your favorite Susan Sontag saying won't fall to the bottom of the list.


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  1. 1
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    Jews and homosexuals are the outstanding creative minorities in contemporary urban culture. Creative, that is, in the truest sense: they are creators of sensibilities. The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony. Minorities

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    For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied. Death and Dying

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    Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture, grandparents pots and pans -- the used things, warm with generations of human touch, essential to a human landscape. Instead, we have our paper phantoms, transistorized landscapes. A featherweight portable museum. Things and Little Things

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    The quality of American life is an insult to the possibilities of human growth... the pollution of American space, with gadgetry and cars and TV and box architecture, brutalizes the senses, making gray neurotics of most of us, and perverse spiritual athletes and strident self-transcenders of the best of us. United States of America

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    Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world -- in order to set up a shadow world of meanings. Literary criticism

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    Perversity is the muse of modern literature. Literature

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    It's a pleasure to share one's memories. Everything remembered is dear, endearing, touching, precious. At least the past is safe --though we didn't know it at the time. We know it now. Because it's in the past; because we have survived. Memory

  8. 8
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    Unfortunately, moral beauty in art -- like physical beauty in a person -- is extremely perishable. It is nowhere so durable as artistic or intellectual beauty. Moral beauty has a tendency to decay very rapidly into sententiousness or untimeliness. Morality

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    It is the nature of aphoristic thinking to be always in a state of concluding; a bid to have the final word is inherent in all powerful phrase-making. Aphorisms and Epigrams

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

  11. 11
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    Nature in America has always been suspect, on the defensive, cannibalized by progress. In America, every specimen becomes a relic. Nature

  12. 12
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    The taste for worst-case scenarios reflects the need to master fear of what is felt to be uncontrollable. It also expresses an imaginative complicity with disaster. Pessimism

  13. 13
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    The painter constructs, the photographer discloses. Photography

  14. 14
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    It is not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad photograph -- only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones. Photography

  15. 15
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    Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future. Existence

  16. 16
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    American energy is the energy of violence, of free-floating resentment and anxiety unleashed by chronic cultural dislocations which must be, for the most part, ferociously sublimated. This energy has mainly been sublimated into crude materialism and acquisitiveness. Into hectic philanthropy. Into benighted moral crusades, the most spectacular of which was Prohibition. Into an awesome talent for uglifying countryside and cities. Into the loquacity and torment of a minority of gadflies: artists, prophets, muckrakers, cranks, and nuts. And into self-punishing neuroses. But the naked violence keeps breaking through, throwing everything into question. United States of America

  17. 17
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    In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it. Photography

  18. 18
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    With the modern diseases (once TB, now cancer) the romantic idea that the disease expresses the character is invariably extended to assert that the character causes the disease -- because it has not expressed itself. Passion moves inward, striking and blighting the deepest cellular recesses. Disease

  19. 19
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    Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas. Intelligence and Intellectuals

  20. 20
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    Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style -- but a particular kind of style. It is love of the exaggerated. Exaggeration

  21. 21
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    Much of modern art is devoted to lowering the threshold of what is terrible. By getting us used to what, formerly, we could not bear to see or hear, because it was too shocking, painful, or embarrassing, art changes morals. Arts and Artists

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    A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of spirit over matter. Psychology

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    One set of messages of the society we live in is: Consume. Grow. Do what you want. Amuse yourselves. The very working of this economic system, which has bestowed these unprecedented liberties, most cherished in the form of physical mobility and material prosperity, depends on encouraging people to defy limits. Society

  24. 24
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    The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects --making it possible... to see a new beauty in what is vanishing. Past

  25. 25
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    Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it. Image

  26. 26
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    A fiction about soft or easy deaths is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning. Death and Dying

  27. 27
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    Depression is melancholy minus its charms -- the animation, the fits. Depression

  28. 28
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    Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance. Disease

  29. 29
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    Guns have metamorphosed into cameras in this earnest comedy, the ecology safari, because nature has ceased to be what it always had been -- what people needed protection from. Now nature tamed, endangered, mortal -- needs to be protected from people. Ecology

  30. 30
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    War-making is one of the few activities that people are not supposed to view realistically; that is, with an eye to expense and practical outcome. In all-out war, expenditure is all-out, unprudent -- war being defined as an emergency in which no sacrifice is excessive. War

  31. 31
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    The problems of this world are only truly solved in two ways: by extinction or duplication. Problem

  32. 32
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    We live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters. Fantasy

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    AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them. AIDS

  34. 34
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    The writer is either a practicing recluse or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one; or both. Usually both. Writers and Writing

  35. 35
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    Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others. Ambition

  36. 36
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    Cancer patients are lied to, not just because the disease is (or is thought to be) a death sentence, but because it is felt to be obscene -- in the original meaning of that word: ill-omened, abominable, repugnant to the senses. Cancer

  37. 37
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    Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern life -- its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness -- conjoin to dull our sensory faculties. Excess

  38. 38
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    The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty -- of the indefinite expansion of possibility. Capitalism

  39. 39
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    What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn't sex but death. Pornography

  40. 40
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    The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art -- and, by analogy, our own experience -- more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means. Critics and Criticism

  41. 41
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    The truth is balance. However the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie. Truth

  42. 42
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    Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other. Bores and Boredom

  43. 43
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    A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it. Family

  44. 44
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    Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds. Religion

  45. 45
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    The becoming of man is the history of the exhaustion of his possibilities. Possibilities

  46. 46
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    Though collecting quotations could be considered as merely an ironic mimetism -- victimless collecting, as it were... in a world that is well on its way to becoming one vast quarry, the collector becomes someone engaged in a pious work of salvage. The course of modern history having already sapped the traditions and shattered the living wholes in which precious objects once found their place, the collector may now in good conscience go about excavating the choicer, more emblematic fragments. Quotation

  47. 47
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    The love of the famous, like all strong passions, is quite abstract. Its intensity can be measured mathematically, and it is independent of persons. Fame

  48. 48
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    Al forms of consensus about great books and perennial problems, once stabilized, tend to deteriorate eventually into something philistine. The real life of the mind is always at the frontiers of what is already known. Those great books don't only need custodians and transmitters. To stay alive, they also need adversaries. The most interesting ideas are heresies. Political correctness

  49. 49
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    What is most beautiful in virile men is sometimes feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine. Beauty

  50. 50
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    In the final analysis, style is art. And art is nothing more or less than various modes of stylized, dehumanized representation. Style

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