Ep. 246: Susan Sontag on Interpreting Art (Part One)

Ep. 246: Susan Sontag on Interpreting Art (Part One)

By Mark Linsenmayer, Wes Alwan, Seth Paskin, Dylan Casey

The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

Monday, 22 June

On Sontag's essays “Against Interpretation” (1964), “On Style” (1965), and "The Death of Tragedy” (1963).

What is it to understand a work of art? Sontag objects to critics' need to decode art into its "meaning" or "content," divorcing it from how this content is embodied. She argues that the content vs. form distinction isn't tenable; that the style of a work is an essential part of experiencing it. Sontag thinks we're too analytical, too divorced from our instincts, and a direct encounter with art is essential to enliven us.

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