Slung between aesthetics and politics, beauty and justice, sensuous extravagance and leftist commitment, Sontag sometimes found herself contemplating the obliteration of her role as public advocate-cum-arbiter of taste. To be serious was to stake a belief in attention—but, in a world that demands action, could attention be enough? (“I wanted to be useful,” she remarked of her 1978 book, “Illness as Metaphor.”) Because she had gone through the conflicts of the sixties, her instinct was to sprint to the barricades and decry quietism as complicity and contentedness as moral failure. This was the logic of movements, of course. But she would live to see them die.

Tobi Hasslet sur Susan Sontag.