Abstract

This article examines how Susan Sontag used the practice of diary writing for her own self-fashioning, opening with a discussion of Sontag’s views about the genre of the writer’s diary from two essays in Against Interpretation and from her own early diaries—as published by her son David Rieff in Reborn, the first of three projected volumes. In her diaries, Sontag restlessly honed her literary style, as well as her own behavior, attempting to transform herself into a better person and a better writer. The article analyzes the literary mechanisms with which she did so and the diaries’ regimen of self-prescription, self-assessment, rereading and rewriting. The diaries are a device for self-improvement, oriented towards the future more than the past or even the present; their gradual process of transformation evolves as much from Sontag’s flight from parts of herself as from her endless need for self-fulfillment. Their ultimate, ongoing goal is the attainment of “self-consciousness.”

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 1-20
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Open Access
No
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