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Distributed for Semiotext e. A self-described failed filmmaker falls obsessively in love with her theorist-husband's colleague: a manifesto for a new kind of feminism and the power of first-person narration. It's no wonder that I Love Dick instantly elicited violent controversies and attracted a host of passionate admirers. The story is gripping enough: in a married, failed independent filmmaker, turning forty, falls in love with a well-known theorist and endeavors to seduce him with the help of her husband. But when the theorist refuses to answer her letters, the husband and wife continue the correspondence for each other instead, imagining the fling the wife wishes to have with Dick. What follows is a breathless pursuit that takes the woman across America and away from her husband and far beyond her original infatuation into a discovery of the transformative power of first person narrative. I Love Dick is a manifesto for a new kind of feminist who isn't afraid to burn through her own narcissism in order to assume responsibility for herself and for all the injustice in world and it's a book you won't put down until the author's final, heroic acts of self-revelation and transformation. But my favorite example of the genre is from nearly 20 years ago, and it's by a woman.
Both are about a woman, Chris Kraus, a flailing indie filmmaker just pushing forty, who is obsessed with a man, Dick. In the book, Dick is an English cultural critic who teaches in California and makes bad video art. In the show, Dick is a famous American artist who makes massive phallic sculptures and runs an institute for artists and writers in Marfa, Texas.
But typing can be used to interesting literary effect. Arguably a highly self-conscious, painstakingly written experimental novel, the book reads like straight spillage, as if Kraus were simply telling her story and sharing her ideas with her husband, her friends, her analyst, anyone who will listen. She comes off as a major piece of work. The premise is crazy: Kraus met Hebdige with her husband, instantly fell in love with him, never even screwed him, and then doggedly pursued him, after a fashion.