Benjamin Moser has published “Sontag,” a biography of Susan Sontag. This favorable review of it left me mulling the following remark:
“Biography is a metaphor,” Moser said. “It’s not the person’s life; it’s writing about a person’s life. Just like a photograph — lots of people have taken photographs of [Sontag], and they’re all different. You have to find your way of looking at her, and this is my way of looking at her.”
(Nina Siegal, “A Big New Biography of Susan Sontag Digs to Find the Person Beneath the Icon,” NYTimes, 9-15-19)
Calling biography “metaphor” is interesting. In an age when persons blithely deny the nose on their faces, it would be comforting to fantasize that biography recounted events in a person’s life more than ways of looking at the person. It must be inevitable that biography would assume its place next to politics, history, and climate in this gaslit moment of counterfactual perspectivism.
(c) 2019 JMN