Brain Pickings

Susan Sontag on Love: Illustrated Diary Excerpts

by

“Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.”

HAPPY UPDATE: We’ve released a sequel, Susan Sontag on art, with proceeds benefiting A Room of Her Own, a foundation supporting women writers and artists.

The recently released volume of Susan Sontag’s diaries, As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980 (public library), is a treasure trove of insight — on writing, on censorship, on aphorisms — from the deepest corners of one of the greatest minds in modern history. But besides her extraordinary intellect, what made Sontag a force of nature was also her complex and ever-evolving emotional perception, brimming with extreme self-awareness and keen reflection on her relationships with others.

I sieved Sontag’s journals for her most poignant, most private meditations on love — candid, vulnerable, hopeful, hopeless — and asked artist extraordinaire Wendy MacNaughton to hand-letter and illustrate them exclusively for Brain Pickings. Enjoy.

HAPPY UPDATE 2: By popular demand, since the original signed limited edition was gone so fast, a new unlimited edition of this print is now available. A portion of the proceeds benefit A Room of Her Own, a foundation supporting women artists and writers.

HAPPY UPDATE 1: After countless requests, we’ve made available a limited-edition 8″x26″ high-quality print of the artwork on heavy cotton rag paper with deckled edges, signed and numbered. Enjoy.

As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980 is superb and revealing in its entirety — impossible to recommend enough. See more of MacNaughton’s fantastic work her site.

Donating = Loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner:





You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount:





Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

Share on Tumblr