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In Search of the New Sensibility: Susan Sontag Writing on Art in the Sixties

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In Search of the New Sensibility: Susan Sontag Writing on Art in the Sixties

Webb, Nancy (2015) In Search of the New Sensibility: Susan Sontag Writing on Art in the Sixties. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis will offer an in-depth examination of Susan Sontag’s collection of essays Against Interpretation with the aim of illuminating the process of writing about art. Echoing Sontag’s own aesthetic concerns, this thesis focuses more intently on the form of her writings than their content. Her essays are compared to the work of other writers such as Roland Barthes, Clement Greenberg and Chris Kraus and contextualized within a mid-century modernist moment of ocularcentric criticism. Sontag’s writing style is examined in relation to autobiography, the dilution of the self within the text and performative writing modes. This thesis also delves into the phenomenological underpinnings of Sontag’s writings, asking: how does the body inform the writing process? This line of questioning charts unknown territory by looking at how the use of amphetamines affected Sontag’s critical prose, while investigating the cultural importance of speed in the 1960s. The essays in Against Interpretation are also measured against the concepts of intimacy and eros and how these intersect with feminist discourse, queer subcultures and Sontag’s own sexuality. Navigating the terrain of Sontag’s critical prose, this thesis demonstrates how her early essays on art set a precedent for meaningful art writing.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Webb, Nancy
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:13 September 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Pezolet, Nicola
ID Code:980452
Deposited By: NANCY WEBB
Deposited On:26 Oct 2015 19:31
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51
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