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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 January, 2005, 16:19 GMT
Susan Sontag dies: Your tributes
Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag, the celebrated American author, has died aged 71.

Her work included the best selling historical novel The Volcano Lover and the essays On Photography and Illness as Metaphor.

The feminist writer died in New York after suffering from leukaemia for some time.

Thank you for your tributes to Susan Sontag. Read a selection of your e-mails below.

Like many of her kind, she had no solutions, just complaints. Although she opposed intervention in the Balkans, she had no solution to stop ethnic cleansing.
Mark, Chicago, USA

Sontag, always perfectly poised in her clarity of thoughts that she gave to us with her words. What she leaves behind one can truly be in awe of.
John Cotter, Chicago, Illinois, USA

I hope that her voice is still heard at some future date
Steffen Heemann, Cologne, Germany
Nobody will ever think like her. Nobody will ever write like her. We have lost an important voice, very sad. I hope that her voice is still heard at some future date and that students continue reading her essays.
Steffen Heemann, Cologne, Germany

A woman who paid tribute to the bravery of the 9-11 hijackers deserves our scorn, not our adulation.
Will Johnston, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

While Ms. Sontag was a brilliant writer, she too often made sweeping generalizations about American policy and the American people. As part of the "cancer on humanity," I find that most of her beliefs implore my mind to close rather than open.
Steve, Jacksonville, Fl, USA

A writer who's work is that of unparalleled genius. A writer who shall, and will be missed.
Kevin Atwood, Carrollton, Ohio, USA

She will continue being source of inspiration for many citizens in the world. Sadly I interpret her death as a signal of the dark ages the world is going through
Octavio _Aguirre, Bogota Colombia, USA

She could be at times pleasant yet, mostly quite self satisfied and repetitive
Jason D'Agostino, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Having met Ms. Sontag, I can say that she could be at times pleasant yet, mostly quite self satisfied and repetitive. A socialist by any other name, she bored most with her insipid writings, and conveyed the arrogance of an aggrieved patron who might have to wait for her table at Elaines.
Jason D'Agostino, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

A brilliantly sensitive writer with a keen sense of the present - Susan Sontag will be remembered for her incisive criticism and skilful socio political moderation, spanning a forty-year academic career, already sorely missed.
David Surman, Newport, UK

I just hope that Susan Sontag will have many successors expressing their views with similar independence, courage and force. May she rest in peace.
Jola Kryda, Gdansk, Poland

If Ms. Sontag was such a rare intellectual, as the media falsely contends, why could she not understand Abraham Lincoln's simple statement: "By giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom for the free?" This is the idea that drives the Bush Administration and the United States - not "imperialism" or "conquest" as Ms. Sontag claimed. Ms. Sontag was a left-wing radical and self-promoter, beholden solely to her own political agenda rather than to the real concept of freedom of the individual. As such, she deserves no special praise or tribute.
Charles Johnson, New York, NY

Susan Sontag was a heroine to me, and I appreciate her courage against American policy, her compassion for the suffering people, and the wisdom appeals in her book.
Gisel Hsieh, Taiwan, Taipei

To cut the cuckoo's throat to see what makes the starlight sing
Martin Hurley, Jubail
Walt Whitman would have liked her, or at least, I believe, understood her angst. For me, her challenge to academia was to underscore the charge that 'to cut the cuckoo's throat to see what makes the starlight sing' represents the extent to which we have formalised and institutionalised literature and maybe art. Yet, I suppose, when a culture elevates a warden to underscore the obvious, good things can trickle down to ordinary interested people. The kettle is boiling.
Martin Hurley, Jubail

Why does the media treat such a radical antagonist with respect? Oh yes, she was a liberal radical, therefore worthy of respect.
keith, Mn, USA

Bla bla bla endlessly from a relentlessly self-promoting Sontag. But for a US American she was a courageous commentator.
Stein Undset, Copenhagen, Denmark

I happened to know Sontag by my professor and was amazed to read her book "ON PHOTOGRAPHY". Her sharp and in depth take on matters of culture stunned me.
Hadi Gharabaghi, Laurel, Maryland, USA

In many of the obituaries it was mentioned that Sontag came under heavy criticism for saying that American foreign policy was partly responsible for 9/11. I find this heavy criticism rather amusing, given the fact that much of the world and many Americans share her view.
Pradeep Navaratnam, Ontario, Canada

I saw Susan Sontag at the University of California in 2000. She was a brilliant woman of letters. Sontag's passion for human rights and her indefatigable drive to fight and question authority is a source of inspiration for any citizen of the world. She was an internationalist and wanted everyone to be one tool. We will miss you very much indeed.
Salah Mattoo, London, U.K.

She is my role model
Ted Morse, St Thomas, USA
I have read every work of Ms Sontag. I try and run my school in the Virgin Islands with the same sense of compassion, understanding of humanity, its foibles, and still loving it for its foibles. I try to emulate the sense of clarity, precise definition and understanding of a problem and seeking of a fair and reasonable solution as Ms. Sontag. She is my role model. Rest in turmoil and and peace dear.
ted morse, St. Thomas USVI

I feel no need to mourn the passing of the European intelligencia. These are the same people who found excuse after excuse for collectivism and its ensuing genocides. They are the same people who decided that life is without meaning and that America is the root of the word's problems. Today, my mother has to work with professors at major U.S. universities who think Moa was just a fellow who had a few problems with implementation. Long live people who make sense, like FDR, Reagan, Thatcher and Walesa.
Thomas Ackerman, USA

Susan Sontag never gave into hysteria, she was brave and humane and committed to the search for truth but prepared to accept the unknown or its possibility. She leaves us stronger by virtue of her persistent questioning and her insistence on clarity and compassion.
Sally Gross, London England

Derrida and Sontag, that's too big of a loss for one year. And I am sad to say, I don't see a hopeful new generation to replace such geniuses...
Karoly Aliotti, New York, NY

She tried so hard, her effort was comparable to her existence... She will be missed. We should all be fortunate to be alive today with her words in our minds, to use them and not take them for granted.
Allan W-H, New York, USA

She will be greatly missed. I agree with Karoly. The loss of Derrida and Sontag within a few months has left a yawning vacuum which looks like it won't be filled. The "intellectuals" of the 21st Century are more focused on building search engines than writing books. Sad.
Nadeem Azam, London, UK

While the World Trade Center was still smouldering, Sontag described the terrorists as "brave". She deserves no tribute.
Nate, Salt Lake City, USA

I am devastated. Susan Sontag was a heroine to me. I've read every book she's written except for The Benefactor, and it's in the queue. I wish I could have met her, and talked to her about things like punk rock, and needing an erotics of art.
Josh Humphries, Roanoke, Virginia, USA

My prayers and thoughts are with her friends and family
Jason Boatright, Austin, Texas
My prayers and thoughts are with her friends and family, but it must be said that Sontag was one of those people who could be relied on to say something completely irrelevant - when it was decipherable - and inconsequential about weighty matters. She spoke loudly into the echo chamber of urban/coastal/Euro pseuds who have not had an important and good idea for the better part of a century - she was the mouthpiece of the western urban consensus. ZZZZZ. Nevertheless, RIP.
Jason Boatright, Austin, Texas

I remember living in Beirut at the American College at the time that Susan went to Bosnia to stage Waiting for Godot at a local theatre. I was so inspired that I began production for Romeo and Juliet at the community theatre in the city. She reminded me that art really can help to soften some of the harsh cruelty humans get subjected to during civil war.
Ali Beydoun, Washington, D.C, USA

Susan Sontag has been for me an aesthetic heroine, and an ethical model, although I have not always agreed with her. Her death came much too soon and has silenced one of the most fertile minds of our times. She could never have fathomed her far-reaching influence. There is no one who can take up the standard she has dropped.
Karen Cronick, San Antonio, Venezuela

She is a reminder to all humanity that if one learns to think like a human being, no cultural propaganda will ever work. I salute her courage, compassion, and wisdom. I wish education systems of the world could create conditions which will help us become human. Truth not propaganda. Books not bombs.
Muhammad, New York

Thus ends another long-suffering life of hatred of America. It is too bad she could not have been happy.
Bob Kaufman, Miami, Florida, USA

Bob Kaufman's (Miami, FL) comments are truly out of line. Ms. Sontag was a superb writer, an incisive thinker, a superior essayist. Her contribution to literature was immense. There is enough hate in this world without having to add to it when someone passes on. Ms. Sontag's brilliance will outshine any ideological criticism from people as insignificant as Kaufman.
Murton Edelstein, Keyport, NJ USA

As a young Bosnian activist, her defence of human rights in the Balkans and across the world will always last in my memory as an inspiration. The world has lost a great individual.
Samir Husika, St.Catharine's, Canada

I remember her negotiating an especially sloppy egg salad sandwich
Tim Tomlinson, NY, USA
Ms Sontag visited our writers' workshops at Columbia University's School of the Arts in 1981 and held informal court for four days running. How informal? Well, I remember her negotiating an especially sloppy egg salad sandwich while explaining that for light reading at night she enjoyed a little Wittgenstein. She apologised for this habit's apparent pretentiousness, but the apology was unnecessary; the egg salad spilling over her fingers had already handled it.
Tim Tomlinson, New York City, USA

The sublime intensity of Sontag's description on photography will keep influencing photographers around the world. The written word is a death defeater.
Sofia DePiu, UK

Stateside, Sontag made it into even the most remote home via the public broadcasting airwaves. Never encountering an intellectual in the flesh, I was intrigued. She started my mind on a journey that is still playing out. I was sad to hear about her death.
John H, Chicago (via Houston, TX) USA

A great scholar with a wide-ranging intellect. A person whose honesty, acumen and forthrightness challenged and sometimes offended the culturally backward sensibilities of many Americans. But for others, she will be sorely missed.
Ken, New York

"On Photography" made me realize quite late in life that there was a whole world of thought that I knew almost nothing about. The realisation of my ignorance inspired me to complete my university degree in 2001 at the age of 48. Thank you Susan Sontag, wherever your spirit may now be.
Patrick Fitzgerald, Sacramento, CA - USA

One of the finest thinkers, not only in the USA but in the world
Clarissa Henry, Vienna, Austria
One of the finest thinkers, not only in the USA but in the world. A truly free mind accepting no outside influence that might take her away from her chosen path. Her work with the people of Sarajevo with war raging all around her, remains an example of tremendous personal courage. She didn't have to be there, she chose to help those poor, suffering people in their time of need. A brilliant mind, a great human being, an extraordinary writer. I am still reeling under the shock of her death.
Clarissa Henry, Vienna, Austria

It is a great loss to humanity that this lucid and integrative thinker is gone. I consider her On Photography to be probably the best compendium on the topic for those interested not only in the practice or history of photography, but also its ethical implications. She will be missed.
Paul Edward Hughes, Vancouver, Canada

I remember first reading Illness as Metaphor in graduate school, and was captivated and inspired by it. The later essays on Aids were even more powerful, and I now assign the book to my own students whenever possible.
Brian Cassel, Richmond, VA, USA

She was a solid defender of human rights and gender equity, but also, and very remarkably, a heavy upholder of understanding and sense of community between writers of all languages and beliefs.
Hugo Vallenas, Lima Peru

I am dismayed to hear of Susan Sontag's death. In trying times such as these, we need voices such as hers to awaken us from the collective insanity that is The War on Terror. She will be missed.
Justin Brown, Denver, Colorado, USA

The last time I talked with Susan - some months ago - she lamented the way in which her country was becoming increasingly alien, almost unrecognisable. "I live on a ship called Manhattan, parked just off the continental US", she said, and wasn't sure, she added, how much longer she could stand inhabiting even New York. And now she has left us - as if we could afford the loss of her fierce intelligence and wry sense of humour and cool gaze into the maelstrom of pain and war, precisely at a time when her fellow countrymen sink ever more into denial of what happens in the wider world that she so brilliantly explored.
Ariel Dorfman, Chilean living in the USA


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