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Regarding the Pain of Others [Format Kindle]

Susan Sontag

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

A brilliant, clear-eyed new consideration of the visual representation of violence in our culture--its ubiquity, meanings, and effects


Watching the evening news offers constant evidence of atrocity--a daily commonplace in our "society of spectacle." But are viewers inured -or incited--to violence by the daily depiction of cruelty and horror? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the universal availability of imagery intended to shock?


In her first full-scale investigation of the role of imagery in our culture since her now-classic book On Photography defined the terms of the debate twenty-five years ago, Susan Sontag cuts through circular arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent or foster violence as she takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and Dachau and Auschwitz to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and New York City on September 11, 2001.


As John Berger wrote when On Photography was first published, "All future discussions or analysis of the role of photography in the affluent mass-media societies is now bound to begin with her book." Sontag's new book, a startling reappraisal of the intersection of "information", "news," "art," and politics in the contemporary depiction of war and disaster, will be equally essential. It will forever alter our thinking about the uses and meanings of images in our world.

Biographie de l'auteur

Susan Sontag's most recent books are a collection of essays, Where the Stress Falls, and a novel, In America, for which she won the National Book Award in 2000. Her earlier books include three novels, a collection of stories, a play, and five works of non-fiction, among them On Photography and Illness as Metaphor, both published by Penguin. In 2001 Susan Sontag was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work, and in 2003 she received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. She lives in New York City.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 287 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 146 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0312422199
  • Editeur : Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1 octobre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00F8HJ5JW
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°185.163 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  43 commentaires
93 internautes sur 105 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting and Timely 27 avril 2003
Par Arthur J. Boughan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I couldn�t help but wonder what Susan Sontag would have to say about a friend of mine, and the manner in which he gets his daily news. First thing, each day, when he gets to work, he logs into his computer, surfs to Yahoo, and looks at a slide show of all the top news photos for the day. He never reads any articles. At most he reads a caption or two, but mainly he looks at the pictures. How many others perceive the world through Yahoo slideshows? It�s a bit scary. I think Sontag would agree that many people view the world primarily through the images they receive through the media.
In her revealing book, Regarding The Pain of Others, Susan Sontag examines the many issues associated with the photography of warfare, genocide, and atrocity. She discusses the history of such images, why they are produced, the importance of the viewer�s perspective, censorship, and many other related topics. In presenting her ideas, Sontag moves through a wide variety of history and literature ( Plato�s Republic, the Crimean War, the Khmer Rouge, the Nazi concentration camps, Bosnia). Oddly enough, there are no photos in the book. Many photographs that are referred to are described enough to understand what is being said, but the actual photos would have been a much better addition. (Most of the photos referenced are well known and can easily be located online.) It would have been revealing to know why no photos were included.
Many insights regarding war and photography are put forth. Some seemed like just well explained common sense, others were revealing. As a photographer, one concept that was mentioned, I found very profound. I�ve often wondered why photography hasn�t been replaced by video in the manner in which photography displaced painting. Although video certainly dominates the entertainment industry, photos haven�t disappeared and they continue to thrive. Sontag asserts that a photograph is the basic visual unit of memory. We remember in terms of photos much easier that entire video sequences. Certain events in our life, for example, the Apollo 11 moon landing, are recalled through the photographs we saw of those events. Although you will probably want a video of your wedding, it is certain there will be photos. For that reason, there will always be a place for photographs. In fact, you might have noticed during the recent coverage of the war in Iraq, many of the television news channels would play sequences of still photos. That is how we remember visually, in still images.
My only complaint is the book�s size, 126 pages, seemed small compared to the cost. Also the font and spacing are a bit large (remember that trick when writing school papers?). I had the feeling that some greedy marketing person was in the loop somewhere. Once I began to read though, my disappointment with book�s size went away. I recommend this thoughtful work and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
62 internautes sur 72 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Timely and Powerful 1 avril 2003
Par Professor Presto - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
As I watch the constant war show on CNN, am I a spectator experiencing war vicariously as entertainment, and if so, should I not be watching? On the other hand, if I choose not to watch am I hiding from reality and turning my back on the soldiers who after all represent me?
If you experience any kind of discomfort with the constant coverage, then Sontag can offer some guidance.
She concentrates mainly on photographs rather than video, but this enables her to draw comparisons between the present and past conflicts. Her elegant potted history of war photography from the Crimean war to today is in some ways a rebuttal to the notion that the ubiquity of media renders modern war substantially different to historical war. If video footage defines our experience of war, photographs become our memories, and this is no less true now than in the 1860's.
If this sounds dry, then I do the book an injustice. First of all, Sontag is able to maintain page-turning readability without sacrificing scholarship. Second, even the most careful reading won't take more than 3 hours. Third, her arguments are forceful and in some cases passionate.
I found "regarding the pain of others" erudite, persuasive and strangely moving.
27 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The politics of suffering 21 mai 2003
Par "blissengine" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
In this insightful essay, Sontag springboards from an analysis of "Three Guineas" by Virginia Woolf into a discussion about the effects of photography and televised imagery on modern culture and ideas about war and violence. Weaving excerpts from works by Leonardo da Vinci, Plato, Wordsworth, and others, including her own previous work "On Photography", she leads readers on a journey into our own psyches and ways of thinking and viewing the world, and pushes us to examine with conscious knowledge the usage of images. I was especially taken with the idea that it is entirely human to turn away from these pictures of suffering, which are often used as a form of entertainment in the modern world. Sontag rightfully doesn't offer answers or platitudes, but instead indicates a welcoming of our own humanity's foibles as a way to deal with the obligations of conscience and the limits of sympathy.
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Susan Sontag's Exploration of Pain 14 avril 2014
Par Sondra McClendon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
How do you cope with violent imagery depicted on the news, in documentaries, and even in fiction? War and violence are pervasive aspects of the culture we live in. In Susan Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others, the author explores the impact of visual representations of suffering on the world. This book explores the concept of spectacle as it relates to cruelty and violence. Sontag explores photographs from America's Civil War, the attacks on the World Trade Center, racial hate crimes, and other events throughout history.

One of the most compelling features of this book is the opening, which uses an essay written by Virginia Woolf, "Three Guineas," to introduce the reader to the gruesome nature of war. It poses an intriguing question that will make you want to continue reading. Sontag addresses the topic with sincerity and looks beyond the "emblems of suffering" to address the ethics and psychology behind the photos.

Sontag is well-equipped to write this book, which has been researched thoroughly. She studied at major universities like Oxford and Harvard before writing collections of essays and several novels. One of her previous works, "On Photography," also addresses the impact cameras have had on our lives. Here, the focus on images of violence, hits home for me with several lingering questions: does the publication of violent photos encourage the public to oppose war or take a passive position? Do the images objectify the injured in a way that shapes our opinions of their life's value. It also built on my current interest of how photographs have been used in health, and in particular mental health. I am real fan of Sander Gilman's books, of which Face of Madness felt like a real gem but Seeing the Insane is definitely my favorite.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "the ethical value of an assault by images" 9 avril 2008
Par Kerry Walters - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
In her On Photography, which appeared 35 years ago, Susan Sontag worried that the public's continuous exposure to horrific photos of the violence of war might backfire. The purpose (or at least one of the purposes) of such photos is to rouse opposition to the cruelty of war. But the continuous publication of them can surfeit and benumb, encouraging instead public passivity.

In her Regarding the Pain of Others, Sontag rethinks this claim (even though it's now become received wisdom), suggesting that such photos in fact haunt us. True, our attraction to images of suffering can be prurient (Plato, in the Republic, was the first to catalog this human curiosity). The way in which a photo of suffering is framed, moreover, can transform it from an object of horror into one (primarily) of heroism. But notwithstanding these and other manipulations, photos of war victims remain what Sontag calls "emblems of suffering" that awaken us to the fact that the violence of warfare is very real indeed, and that we may be complicitous in it, notwithstanding the fact that, as "spectators," we are far removed from the imaged violence. Photographs shouldn't be "supposed to repair our ignorance about the history and causes of the suffering [they] pick out and frame." But they are effective "invitation[s] to pay attention" (p. 117). Viewing photographs of suffering is no substitute for hard thinking about war, murderous violence, and our moral responsibilities. But photos can spark and fuel such reflection (p. 103). For those of us who will never have firsthand experience of the horrors of war, this vicarious exposure can be a moral catalyst. That we can turn away from such photos does nothing to "impugn the ethical value of an assault by images" (p. 116).

Like all Sontag-authored extended essays, this one is so rich in ideas and insights that at times it seems (but ony, I believe, seems) to ramble. Along the way, Sontag discusses the history of war photography, the ethical dilemma of merely "looking at" atrocities rather than doing something about them, the French school of "the spectacle" founded by Guy Debord and made "respectacle" by Baudillard and Bataille. Chapter headings would be profoundly helpful here, as well as an occasional summary. But Sontag presumably wants to provoke thought in her readers, and hesitates to provide roadmaps.

Moreover, accompanying photographs would be helpful, especially since Sontag refers to a good baker's dozen to illustrate her arguments. The curious thing--and perhaps this was her point--is that any educated reader is likely to form an immediate memory image of the photo under discussion. We are, indeed, haunted by such photos.

An intriguing, genuinely thought-provoking book--and thought-provoking books are rare these days.
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