- Year: 2014
- Language: Russian
- Publisher: Ad Marginem
- ISBN: 9785911031985
- Page: 376
- Cover: paperback
Against Interpretation and Other Essays was Susan Sontag's debut collection of written works, consisting of articles published in the magazines Partisan Review, New York Review of Books, Commentary, The Nation, and others, over the period 1962 to 1965. The essays delve into a wide variety of cultural disciplines, including literature, theatre, visual art, and cinema, and include such writings as “Against Interpretation,” “On Style,” and “Notes on 'Camp,'” which have been seminal to modern culture and academic discourse over the 50 years since their publication and still provoke animated intellectual discussion to this day. First published in 1966, the collection has been translated into seven different languages, including the present edition in Russian.
In the book's key essay “Against Interpretation,” Sontag calls for a return to unmediated experience, an approach increasingly substituted in art for interpretation. She presents a number of means to combat a crisis stemming from the overabundance and overproduction of contemporary culture, asserting that "what is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more," or, as the essay radically concludes, "in place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art."
In an afterword written in 1996 for the Spanish edition, Sontag notes: "I was—I am—for a pluralistic, polymorphous culture," and that "to laud work condescended to, then, as ‘popular’ culture did not mean to conspire in the repudiation of high culture and its burden of seriousness, of depth." The blend of characters, themes, and phenomena referred to in her texts is little short of astounding, interweaving Albert Camus and sci-fi cinema, religion and psychoanalysis, happenings and Claude Levi-Strauss. Such a diversity of interests underscores the dedication and sincerity of her research.