Leonid Tsypkin was born in Minsk in 1926 of Russian-Jewish parents, both physicians. His last book, Summer in Baden-Baden, is the culmination of a passionate, clandestine literary vocation; a distinguished medical researcher by profession, Tsypkin never saw a page of his literary work published during his lifetime. The manuscript of Summer in Baden-Baden was smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1981, and the novel was first published in a Russian-ï¿½migrï¿½ weekly in the United States. Tsypkin, who had been twice denied permission to leave the Soviet Union with his family, died of a heart attack in Moscow in 1982.
Susan Sontag, an influential cultural critic with a Harvard master's degree in philosophy, is noted for taking radical positions and venturing outrageous interpretations. Proclaiming a "new sensibility," she supported the cause of pop art and underground films in the 1960s. Her reputation as a formidable critic has been established by numerous reviews, essays, and articles in the New York Review of Books, the N.Y. Times, Harper's, and other periodicals. Against Interpretation (1966) includes her controversial essay "Notes on Camp," first published in Partisan Review. The title of the book introduces her argument against what she sees as the distortion of an original work by the countless critics who bend it to their own interpretations. "The aim of all commentary on art," she writes, "should be to make works of art---and, by analogy, our own experience---more, rather than less, real to us." Sontag has a mature modernist sensibility, but manages to depict the avant-garde in language accessible to any reader. She has lectured extensively around the United States and has taught philosophy at Harvard, Sarah Lawrence, and Columbia. She is a frequent and popular television discussion personality, particularly on contemporary issues of illness or feminism, although many feminists are unhappy that she does not declare herself to be a "feminist critic." She is also, less successfully, a fiction writer.
Angela T. Jones is CEO of Super Woman Productions and Publishing in Detroit, Michigan.