Monday, November 15, 2010

What is Susie Linfield reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Susie Linfield, author of The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence, which has just been published by the University of Chicago Press.

Her entry begins:
During the school year, when I'm teaching, it's often hard for me to read anything not connected to my work. But this summer I indulged in whatever I wanted. My partner and I were renting an old farmhouse in Great Barrington, and much to my surprise and delight, the owners were Philip Roth fanatics. I got to read--and re-read--tons of Philip Roth. Most memorable was The Anatomy Lesson, where the character of Milton Appel, the hectoring Jewish critic--based on Irving Howe--is reconfigured, in a moment of hilarious, malicious slyness, as a pornographer. Lying on a couch in a country house and re-reading these books--frequently bursting into fits of laughter--was pure bliss.

Less blissful, for obvious reasons, was...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Cruel Radiance:
“This is a magnificent book. Susie Linfield has a good eye for the photographs and a good head for the politics. And she has the moral strength to look at these images of mutilation, death, and destruction, explain their value, and demand that we look at them, too.”
—Michael Walzer

“A profoundly thoughtful account of the role of photojournalism in an irremediably violent world, Linfield’s book is as much about conscience and empathy as it is about photography. Examining images from the Spanish Civil War to Rwanda, she accepts no easy, sweeping answers. Rather, with vivid common sense and with painstaking, often abashed humanity, she guides us through the moral minefield where horror meets art, and helps us to see.”
—Claudia Roth Pierpont
Read an excerpt from The Cruel Radiance, and learn more about the book at the University of Chicago Press website.

Susie Linfield directs the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program in the graduate journalism department at NYU.

Writers Read: Susie Linfield.

--Marshal Zeringue