Elaine Showalter

‘I Create Myself’

Reborn: Early Diaries 1947–1964

By

Hamish Hamilton 336pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Susan Sontag, who died in 2004, was one of the most venerated intellectuals of her generation, but her enemies found her arrogant and aloof, while even her admirers often saw her as forbidding and Olympian. The only time I met her, she explained to me with disdain that although she regarded herself as an authority on American popular culture, she had never owned a television set. Male and female gay activists, who appreciated her support for AIDS, nonetheless deplored her refusal to acknowledge her sexual relationships with women, including the photographer Annie Liebovitz, her partner for the last decades of her life. ‘My life is entirely private,’ she proudly declared in an 1989 interview in the New York Times.

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