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A Reality Hunger Proposal

sgb90's picture

 David Shields, who argues that, "the history of art is the history of appropriation," has just released a new book entitled Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. The book is made up of aphorisms, fragments of texts, and mini-essays. Its formlessness conveys the author's purpose to defy the traditional genre of novel. As a book review in the Guardian points out, "More problematically, Reality Hunger also celebrates plagiarism as a literary tool." Over half of the book is deliberately composed of other people's thoughts. This would be an apt book for us to explore given recent questions raised in our class discussions concerning originality, authenticity, and "remix" as a cultural phenomenon.

See the book review in The Guardian for more background:

In addition, another book raised in the article is Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence, which explores the task of the truly great poet to transcend his/her influences. I think this would be an interesting juxtaposition to Shields' book, to see in what ways Shields responds to and/or resolves (fails to resolve?) this tension of past influence.



Jessica Watkins's picture

Maybe we should take a step back

Perhaps we should take a step back and take a break from "remixing" and the like. I would really like to read a few pieces that were written with the intention of originality, and that were written by an author who was confident in his/her identity enough to shape their work around their ideas only.  I realize this may seem a little impossible, as we've talked extensively about how nothing can be truly "original," but I think in order to even attempt to do so we must go back in time and read some older pieces.

rmeyers's picture

a question (?)

This feels like a very provocative selection, and it leads off clearly from our previous discussions (as you state). I guess my question would be if you are proposing a theme of 'remixing' as the 'genre' for our next quarter along with more critical readings/criticism on the subject? Or if this was more a proposal just about these two books?

sgb90's picture

 Yes, to clarify I am

 Yes, to clarify I am proposing focusing on the theme of "remixing" in response to/defiance of the traditional genre of the novel, and I thought Shields' book might be a good example for us to explore. Bloom's text could serve as a theoretical work to facilitate that exploration. We could also include other examples of "remixing," if others have suggestions...

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