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Annamaria Prandi on I love Dick

22 May, 2022

Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick is both a novel and an essay on the role of women (and men) in our society, whose story is based on her own life. Chris is a flailing middle-aged indie film-maker married to Sylvere, a famous literary scholar 15 years her senior. The marriage has slipped into a sexless intellectual affair and her encounter with Dick shatters what remains of it. The crisis that follows takes the form of an epistolary: letters from Chris to Dick, an uninterrupted series of questions, which bring into play her role as wife, film-maker, and woman, and make her an archetype in Western society. The most personal sphere intertwines with the universal. And Kraus succeeds in repressing the barrier of the infinitely personal to which women have been relegated as soon as they have been scrounged of their feelings.

Kraus quotes her mentor Hannah Wilke when she writes:

If women have failed to make “universal” art because we’re trapped within the “personal”, why not universalize the “personal” and make it the subject of our art?

and then notes:

To ask this question, to be willing to live through, is still so bold.

Perhaps the question was too bold in 1997, when the novel came out and, being ahead of its time, did not meet with success. We had to wait until it was republished in 2006 to discover I Love Dick.

Annamaria Prandi on I love Dick

Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick is both a novel and an essay on the role of women (and men) in our society, whose story is based on her own life. Chris is a flailing middle-aged indie film-maker married to Sylvere, a famous literary scholar 15 years her senior. The marriage has slipped into a sexless […]