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Susan Sontag: In Plato's Cave

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by

Julia Harris

on 23 September 2014

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Transcript of Susan Sontag: In Plato's Cave

IN PLATO'S CAVE
SONTAG
SUSAN SONTAG
BORN ON JANUARY 16, 1933

DIED ON DECEMBER 28, 2004

NOVELIST
CULTURAL CRITIC
ESSAYIST
PHILOSOPHER
FILM DIRECTOR
PLAYWRIGHT
PROFESSOR
PLATO'S CAVE
SUSAN
IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND HOW SONTAG'S ESSAY RELATES TO PLATO'S ALLEGORY, WE MUST UNDERSTAND THE VARIOUS COMPONENTS OF THE CAVE ITSELF AND HOW THEY WORK TOGETHER
EDUCATION
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
HARVARD UNIVERSITY
SAINT ANNE'S COLLEGE AT OXFORD
TEACHING
Spent majority of life writing and teaching in NYC
taught Philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College and City University of New York
taught Philosophy of Religion at Columbia University
ESSAYS
came to public prominence after publishing...
"
Notes on Camp
" - 1964
"
Against Interpretation
" - 1966
"SONTAG'S ESSAYS ARE CHARACTERIZED BY A SERIOUS PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH TO VARIOUS ASPECTS AND PERSONALITIES OF MODERN CULTURE"
PERSONAL LIFE
Married to Phillip Rieff - sociology instructor at University of Chicago
Had a son together named Daniel
Later got involved with cuban-American playwright & artist Maria Irene Formes
Was involved with photographer Annie Leibovitz until her death
PRISONERS ARE CHAINED DOWN AND THEIR NECKS ARE SHACKLED SO THEY CANNOT STAND UP NOR MOVE THEIR HEADS
A FIRE LIES FAR BEHIND THE PRISONERS AND THERE IS A WALL (HALF WALL) BETWEEN THE PRISONERS AND THE FIRE
IN BETWEEN THE HALF WALL AND THE FIRE, PUPPET SHOWMEN LIFT OBJECTS (SCULPTURES) ABOVE THEIR HEADS SO THAT THE OBJECTS ARE DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE FIRE
THIS IN TURN CASTS THE SHADOWS OF THESE OBJECTS ON THE WALL THAT THE PRISONERS ARE FOCUSED ON
THE SHADOWS, THEN, REPRESENT THE CONCRETE DEPICTIONS OF REALITY, WHICH ARE TRANSLATIONS OF THE "TRUTH" THAT LIVES EXCLUSIVELY OUTSIDE THE CAVE
THE SHADOWS CAN BE COMPARED TO THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND THE INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRISONERS AND THESE SHADOWS CAN BE A METAPHOR FOR THE MODERN ROLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY AS EXPERIENCE
Full transcript