One of the melancholy facts of a critics lot is that however much clout we might wield during our lifetimes, few forms of writing date as quickly or slide so readily into obscurity. The rare critic who crosses over to become a creator of the form he once wrote aboutthe filmmakers Franois Truffaut and Peter Bogdanovich are the most familiar exampleswill soon see the later work eclipse the earlier. That Susan Sontag was primarily a critic wasnt a controversial thing to observe during her life, although you didnt want to do that within her earshot. Benjamin Mosers new biography of the writer, Sontag , recounts a furious diatribe she delivered from a podium at Skidmore College in 1996, directed at the old friend who had introduced her. He still doesnt get that Im a novelist and that all this other writing he talked about is writing I did to keep writing and have something to do while I was developing myself as a fiction writer, she told the crowd.