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Sontag & Kael : opposites attract me /
Craig Seligman.
New York : Counterpoint, 2004.
244 p. ; 22 cm.
1582433119 (alk. paper)
More Details
New York : Counterpoint, 2004.
1582433119 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [203] -231) and index.
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-05-01:
This examination of Susan Sontag's and Pauline Kael's careers is an ambitious attempt to place side by side the lives of two revered critics who are, in essence, very different people. Seligman, who has worked as an editor at The New Yorker and, explores Sontag's philosophical and political sides, the activism and public persona that result, and her various literary styles. By comparison, Kael comes off as one-dimensional, which, owing to the overwhelming achievement of her work as a film critic, may prompt readers to ask, "Why the comparison?" Seligman explores his own responses to Sontag as a writer and a person in more depth. He has never actually met Sontag (or wanted to), yet he was intimately acquainted with Kael, which may explain his reluctance to evaluate her work critically. The best part of this unusual exploration is the high quality of the language: Seligman illuminates his subjects' writing through choice quotes and passages. On the other hand, given this fluidity, the reader is more interested in turning pages instead of lingering on what's been read, just to see if Seligman's thoughts bear out. In the end, Seligman does not convince us that his intended comparison/contrast is valid though he does manage to convey why Sontag and Kael matter as much as they do. Recommended for all academic libraries. Maria Kochis, California State Univ. Lib., Sacramento (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, March 2004
PW Annex Reviews, April 2004
Library Journal, May 2004
New York Times Book Review, May 2004
Boston Globe, June 2004
San Francisco Chronicle, June 2004
Washington Post, June 2004
Globe & Mail, January 2005
New York Times Book Review, October 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is a personal and reflective exploration of two of the 20th century's most iconic cultural critics, Susan Sontag and Pauline Kael by editor and critic Craig Seligman. In seeking to understand these two dissimilar icons Seligman confronts criticism as an art in itself.
Unpaid Annotation
Can criticism be considered art? With wit and style worthy of his subjects, Seligman explores the enduring influence of Susan Sontag and Pauline Kael, two cultural critics who defined the sensibilities of a generation.

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