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January 19, 2005



I suspect I hold the world record for the times I have tried and failed to read Ms Sontag. I always assumed the problem lay with my thin intellectual capacity . . . until I came across this (reprinted from Time magazine,1969): "She is almost without a sense of humour . . . a part-time novelist [who writes] like a grim translation from the German."

But I'm not sure about her having no sense of humour. Her comment that art "must tend towards the pursuit of silence" was made for laughs, surely.


I reckon there might be some competition for that record. I've never read any of her long pieces and I suspect they would be hard going. Still, she's the sort of writer who generates so many thoughts that I think it is OK to read her in short bursts and still profit from the exercise.

Not sure about the "silence" quote -- it sounds like the sort of "truth" arrived at after an evening of overindulgence. It reminds me of the only evening Bob Dylan and the Beatles spent together. In the course of a drug induced haze Paul McCartney had a moment of revelation which he scribbled down on a piece of paper. When he looked at it the next morning morning it said only "There are three levels".

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