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Sontag, Susan; Kael, Pauline (Subjects) & Seligman, Craig (Author). SONTAG & KAEL: OPPOSITES ATTRACT ME. New York City, NY: Counterpoint Publications, 2004. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 244 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's breakthrough debut book. A full-length critical study on its subjects, it is now widely considered a cult classic. One of our most passionate living critics, Seligman (and his book) has attracted considerable critical and popular attention. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Seligman's thesis is very simple: He sees and assesses the two writers, both immensely influential, as complete opposites, one of whom he reveres (Sontag), the other, he loves (Kael). Were he forced to choose, he would choose the latter. The single best appraisal of Seligman's fascinating thesis is by Philip Kennicott: "Seligman's very good book isn't flawed by its prejudice for Kael. Rather, it's rendered more human. The love shines through. But a book about Kael and Sontag shouldn't dodge the issue of influence. Kael was a delight to read, but the Kael style - the bitchiness, the unrelenting certainty of opinion - has been a malign force in American criticism, which all too often burbles along as a stream of witty one-liners and provocative pronouncements. Sontag and Kael may represent poles of an argument about art and style, but we must not lose sight of our need for less Kael and more Sontag. When Sontag warned us, in the aftermath of 9/11, that while we should grieve together, we must not be stupid together, she was warning us against making the kind of movie Kael's detractors accused her of loving. Do not go to war in the name of narrative simplicity, do not be bloodthirsty, do not seek revenge. Sontag was right, clear-headed, and prescient. Kael was never the political animal that Sontag was, and thus she was never as heroically right about anything as Sontag is. Kael was a talent; Sontag is a genius" (Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post). And we do learn more from our (and other people's) mistakes, shortcomings, and excesses, all of which Pauline Kael had in abundance. Seligman has done us a great service even if he may have gotten his loving wrong. A "must-have" title for Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Craig Seligman, and Modern First collectors. This title has been out-of-print for a long time and is now highly collectible. This is one of few copies of the First Hardcover Edition still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. A very scarce copy thus. One of the most brilliant living critics on two of the most influential and important American writers of the 20th century. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER SUSAN SONTAG TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 1582433119. $50.00

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