Frank Romany

Heady Celebrations of Style

Against Interpretation

By

André Deutsch 304pp £5.95 order from our bookshop

The essays collected in Against Interpretation date from 1961-65, and created enough of a stir to be republished in book form in 1966. In the preface to that edition, Sontag points out that they belong to a ‘period of search, reflection, and discovery’ between the writing of her first and second novels, and she returns throughout to a set of preoccupations that lends coherence to the impressive variety of her subjects (though not without some repetition, which the generic groupings of the essays – on film, on theatre etc – rather exaggerate). But, as she says, their value, if they are ‘more than just case studies of my evolving sensibilities’, must lie in ‘the interestingness of the problems raised’, especially since she ‘wanted to expose and clarify the theoretical assumptions underlying specific judgements and tastes’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The lack of evidence ... of any definitive brain pathology in cases of schizophrenia and the absence of any reliab… ,
    • 'Since Dylan’s commercial and ideological heyday, the intrusion of sociology, semiology and post-structuralist thou… ,
    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,