Susan Sontag

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Issue 5+6 of Aspen magazine:  edited and designed by Brian O’Doherty in 1967, it challenged the idea of magazines and art. Photograph: © Aspen Magazine/Authors

What is it? Aspen 5+6 is a double issue of the experimental magazine which appeared in just 10 instalments between 1965 and 1971. The double issue wa(...)

What’s the point of an essay? Photograph: Thinkstock

If you judged humanity’s literary output by clicks and outrage, you’d think the art of essayism is dead. Contemporary taste is for unadorned informati(...)

Sometimes I lie awake in the dark and fear the complacency that is the first step along that road to ruining what you have. Photograph: Getty Images

At some point into the mania of a new relationship, a conversation will have to be conducted. It will be awkward, but the gist of it will go like this(...)

Vanessa Feltz: ‘What’s so noticeable about me? I honestly don’t get it. I just can’t see it.’ Photograph: Getty Images

It’s 7.15am and Vanessa Feltz is talking. Of course she’s talking. Feltz is always talking. She’s on the radio, challenging the deputy leader of South(...)

 Johannes Vermeer, Woman Writing a Letter (detail). National Gallery of Ireland

It has been a bit overshadowed by the (justified) fuss over the Vermeer exhibition, but among the other delights of the newly refurbished National Gal(...)

The late British art critic and prize-winning author John Berger, who died aged 90,  on January 3rd, 2017. Photograph: Jacob Berger/AFP/Getty Images

Upon his death earlier this week, John Berger was described by British artist David Shrigley as “the best ever writer on art”. It was not the first o(...)

Looking Back by Eric Luke: West of Ireland, 1980s

How newspaper photographers manage to get any images at all is a mystery to most of us. They work under sometimes chaotic, sometimes overly controlle(...)

Umberto Eco: moved with ease from medieval aesthetics to contemporary cartoon strips. Photograph: AP Photo/Luca Bruno.

Umberto Eco, who has died aged 84, was a polymath of towering cleverness. His novels combined cultural influences ranging from TS Eliot to the Charlie(...)

‘Our first instinct when confronted with anything out of the ordinary is to take out our phone and create a small, 2D, digital representation. The default way, as a tourist, to experience iconic buildings and sights is to take a photo. Doing so has become more important that actually experiencing it directly.’  Photograph: Getty Images

We live in a culture that pathologically captures and records our lives in the form of images. Billions of photographs and hundreds of hours of video (...)

On display: a cutout of Jorge Luis Borges at a book fair in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty

In a story called The Dead Man the Argentinean author Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) writes about a character who emerges from a shabby working-class d(...)

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