• Against Interpretation and Other Essays

  • By: Susan Sontag
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Against Interpretation and Other Essays  By  cover art

Against Interpretation and Other Essays

By: Susan Sontag
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
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Publisher's Summary

Against Interpretation was Susan Sontag's first collection of essays and is a modern classic.

Originally published in 1966, it has never gone out of print and has influenced generations of readers all over the world.

It includes the famous essays "Notes on Camp" and "Against Interpretation," as well as, her impassioned discussions of Sartre, Camus, Simone Weil, Godard, Beckett, Levi-Strauss, science-fiction movies, psychoanalysis, and contemporary religious thought.

©2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Against Interpretation and Other Essays

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Against interpretation, like, literally.

Sontag's ideas are way more spirituous than this interpretation by Tavia Gilbert. Not only that, but an additional detail: this narrator doesn't pronounce french properly and, since Sontag cites lots of french authors and ouvres, this fact takes me away from the listening every time the opportunity rises.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Essays Hurt By Labored Narrator

I just don't get this narrator. It's almost like she's trying to channel Susan Sontag but Sontag spoke in an assured, even tone.....This Tavia Gilbert makes her sound somehow snobbish and unsure of herself. She really clings to the sound ending a sentence....maybe this is for enunciation but comes across labored, irritating and untrue to Sontag's speaking style.

I've listened to Jennifer Van Dyck's reading on Sontag's journals and "On Photography". Audible PLEASE HAVE THESE RE-RECORDED with Jennifer Van Dyck.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Worthwhile as a historical document?

She wrote from a place of looking at a world where things were just starting to open up in certain ways, and her perspective a lot of the time seems to be “wait, is this really as open as you think it is? Is it really possible to live without those traditional restrictions, or were our ancestors right that those restrictions are hard-baked into the fabric of the universe?”

In a time some 50-60 years later where more things have opened up, but people — intellectually limited people who have never lived outside of America and Europe, never lived outside of the dominance of the tyranny of YHWH-worshippers — are still asking the same questions, doubting whether or not openness is really possible, these essays seem restrictive.

On the other hand, no one asks deep questions at all anymore. They just live their lives with a fake façade of openness when deep down, they’re terrified of anything outside of the cultural boundaries they’ve been taught.

1 person found this helpful

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Distracting Reader serious writing

Sontag is smart and her writing will get your gears turning. The French was difficult to understand which was annoying

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Sublime Sontag

In Against Interpretation Susan Sontag delivers a series of essays and reviews in her inimical, prolix style. It is an avalanche of focused free association punctuated with francophone, continental, cinephile references, philosophy, psychology, art and erudition.

There is little pause for a reader as her dancing mind leaps and pirouettes across themes and categories without detailed definition or stepwise argument. Keep Up! is always the imperative.

Forefend interpretation, her words are a revelation of her art, a sensibility of a mind. Awesome.

Her thoughts on race, culture, anthropology and the writing of James Baldwin failed to persuade, and may even offend in it's callous immaturity and doublespeak. The Shoa is attrocity; 20th century colonial genocide of Amazonian indigenes is "extinction". Regarding the Pain of Other provides, perhaps, a revaluation of her prejudice.

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  • Pat Kaufman
  • 02-17-22

Performance

Strident, polemical, high pitched voice that made listening impossible.
Recommend a more mature reader for the text as this one has a little girl’s twang with self-conscious earnestness.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-28-21

Disappointing narration

There were some strange and inexplicable mis-readings in this narration. These errors have made it harder to follow a book of what are already complex arguments. For example, in the essay on the films of Bresson, Sontag quotes him as saying that in film "the author takes fragments of reality and arranges them in such a way that their juxtaposition transforms them." But the narrator reads it as "their juxtaposition fails them," which has quite a different meaning!

Another problem with the narration is the pronunciation of foreign words and names. For the book of a critic so interested in French art, it would have been good to get a narrator confident with her French. But this narrator struggles. As just one example, she pronounces "Jeanne" as "Jean", which is a bit confusing in essays that feature both a Jeanne and a Jean. Maybe I'm being pedantic, but I found these mispronunciations distracting.

1 person found this helpful