Reborn: Early Diaries 1947-1963, By Susan Sontag

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The Independent Culture

"Good writers are roaring egotists, even to the point of fatuity." So wrote the superbly self-obsessed Susan Sontag in Paris in 1957.

These nakedly introspective diaries, edited by her son David Rieff, show in vivid fragments how a solemn provincial girl fashioned herself into the most commanding American intellectual of the age.

Sontag often notes the connection between sexual and intellectual appetite, and her voracity in absorbing new art and ideas as she moves from US campuses to European bohemia matches her erotic progress.

Unhappily married, she discovers the love of women with the same passion she brings to her writing. This portrait of the thinker reads like a sketchbook for the modernist Bildungsroman Sontag most admired.