On Sontag’s essays “Against Interpretation” (1964), “On Style” (1965), and “The Death of Tragedy” (1963).
What is it to understand a work of art? Sontag objects to critics’ need to decode or translate literature into it’s “meaning” or “content,” divorcing it in the process from how this content is embodied. She argues that this content vs. form distinction isn’t tenable; that the style of a work is an essential part of experiencing it. Like Nietzsche, Sontag thinks we’re too analytical, too divorced from our instincts, and a direct encounter with art is essential to enliven us.
End song: “Mela” by Julie Slick, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #115.