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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

The San Francisco and kick you we I north highland Sacramento it's eight o'clock welcome to city arts lectures a season of toxin onstage conversations with some of the most celebrated writers artists and thinkers of our day recorded before an audience at the Sydney Goldstine theater in San Francisco this week we pay tribute to one of the great thinkers of our time activist essayist and critic Susan Sonntag fifteen years after her death son takes perspectives on language sexuality and politics still resonate the elevated art forms like film and photography and believe that dedication to high culture was in itself a type of activism on October second twenty nineteen biographer Benjamin Moser and writer and activist Rebecca Solnit came to the Sydney Goldstine theater to discuss the life work and legacy of Susan Sonntag join us now for conversation with Benjamin Moser and Rebecca Solnit what made you decide to write this I know that this was that the state but you were asked to do an authorized biography I'm so very surprised this is authorized because there's a lot of very very very interesting things in it will get into but it's just such a huge commitment and to write a book of this scope of research and writing and there's like would you like to do this and you're like what what I like to do for the next seven years well yeah I mean I definitely it wasn't a decision I took instantly I mean I should just say I am the authorized biographer it's not authorized biography so there is a distinction that's interesting I was authorized to especially given allowance to go to the archives in Los Angeles and see the parts of them that are not open to the general public and stuff that's restricted and whole X. year or exactly and there's quite a lot of it and some of it you think you know the like in in Italy the pope's had these collections of **** that were capped off limits and only you the pope himself had a light into the room in the library and I sort of thought it was going to be that and it wasn't and I thought sometimes it was really not interesting stuff and I couldn't figure out why it was in there like why she would have minded that somebody saw that is or what the connection was eventually as you get into the work and to understand who she was you understand why this is a sensitive thing but it's not always the obvious stuff and and I was asked to do it because of my previous work includes suspect and I'm an American who who lives abroad which is also what Susan was for a lot of her life part of her life and and I'm interested in this world of the great women philosophers and thinkers because I father so much there after doing very suspect of other so what's there to be excited about there's so much there also the people work saying about these women in their lives and there's a lot to be quite shocked as well so I was able to tell well I think that it's things that have been found talking I mean I've seen this recently when a couple months ago the guardian published an article based on this book saying that Susan had written Philip Bruce first book which is not for the mind of morals and I've spent so many years now in this world of mid century women thinkers that this didn't surprise me it didn't even really interest me particularly I thought you know what it does yeah I know it's funny because like I don't know some is done a whole essay about it but the number of women who've been that ghosted for men whether husbands brothers fathers self you know in painting and literature we got so if you know this you know the yeah anything yeah and and and I saw Meg will to the other day who wrote a book called the wife it was a film with come close and you know that's the same story and it was really funny is that all these young women you saw on the internet that all these young women really outraged by this and all the older women who are the people that I've got the story from a lot of them you know older female academics of writers they all broke me and they thought it was hilarious because if I can't believe everybody doesn't know this of course she wrote the book we all did it was totally normal and so I think.