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I Love Dick

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,039 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews
In I Love Dick, Chris Kraus, author of Aliens & Anorexia, Torpor, and Video Green, boldly tears away the veil that separates fiction from reality and privacy from self-expression. It's no wonder that upon its publication in 1997, I Love Dick instantly elicited violent controversies and attracted a host of passionate admirers. The story is gripping enough: in 1994 a mar ...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published July 14th 2006 by Semiotext(e) (first published January 1st 1998)
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Jan 18, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing
this book is fucking amazing. i read it straight through without doing anything else all weekend. it's rare that a book would inspire such monomania in me. chris kraus is just so savagely smart and dissects the role of women in the art world like a surgeon. she's confessional and angry and theoretical (in the clearest way) and poetic all at once. she says all the things that you want to say but aren't supposed to say: like that academic feminism is full of shit, that artists who don't conform to ...more
Sep 04, 2010 Emily rated it it was amazing
If there is an afterlife (probs no) and you can pick your own heaven from all the moments of your life I'd like mine to be eternally reliving the first time I read this book.
Sep 10, 2010 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: feminists who hate feminists
I've never read a novel like this before. A blending of the epistolary novel, feminist manifesto, art criticism, tell-all reality-memoir, critical theory, personal essay, and diary. Somehow it all works together, and I would even say that it is a Great Novel.

The first part, which establishes the narrative impetus (Chris, the author, falls in love/crush with an acquaintance (Dick) and, together with her husband, writes love letters to him but doesn't send them).

The conceit can only go so far (a
Dec 04, 2013 Liza rated it did not like it
I just try, and try, and try, and try to love this book the way that every respectable person seems to, but the whole time I'm reading it I want so much for her to join a lesbian separatist commune. Like, I'm totally through with hearing about dick, you know? I know this is not a morally defensible position. Maybe one day I'll realize I actually secretly loved it all along, rom-com style, because otherwise I don't know how to explain how mad it makes me.
It's difficult to say what I Love Dick actually is. It's not strictly a novel, but nor is it exactly right to describe it as non-fiction. Rather, it's a sort of semi-fictionalised memoir that takes in critical theory, feminist critique, art history, etc. In her afterword, Joan Hawkins dubs it 'theoretical fiction'. At its heart is the story of the infatuation Chris Kraus the character (not necessarily to be confused with Chris Kraus the author) has with Dick, an acquaintance of her husband Sylvè ...more
Aug 19, 2014 Madeline rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult, abandoned
I had to stop reading this. It feels like I've been tricked into participating in a cruel piece of performance art. The titular Dick is real life Dick Hebdige. He's a cultural critic who hangs out with Chris Kraus and her husband Sylvere one time. Chris and Sylvere then begin to sexually harass and stalk Dick. They write letters about fucking and killing him. They call Dick on the pretext of discussing their "art protect" (aka their sexual fantasies) and record the phone call without his knowled ...more
Mar 15, 2012 Joseph rated it it was amazing
It took me years to climb over the grad-school critical theory wall which seems to surround this book and actually pick it up and read it: now after reading the book I remain completely ambivalent toward the post-structuralist reception of the book as some kind of harbinger of a "new kind of fiction" and instead argue a simple point which is that Chris Kraus wrote a wonderful, engaging, brilliant novel, much in the same way that hundreds or thousands of other writers write wonderful, engaging, b ...more
Dec 11, 2010 Farren rated it it was amazing
A strange and marvelous multi-genre epistolary from a married woman to a man she meets once and falls utterly, completely in love with. There is something completely fascinating about resurrecting this form but inverting it, so that the woman is the artist, the wielder of language (therefore the maker-of-world), something really compelling about rebirth through humbling the self to unreciprocated desire, something utterly exhilarating about Kraus' interest in directly challenging the (very conve ...more
Feb 27, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is one multi-layered, -genred, -contextured bit of book…

Chris and her husband Sylviere attend a dinner with Dick, a colleague of Sylviere’s and an intellectual in the arts sector. Throughout the evening Chris feels Dick is flirting with her. Flattered, she attempts to distance herself from Sylviere and the married couple end up staying the night at Dick’s house due to unsavoury weather conditions.

The next morning, Dick has left them alone. The couple leave and stop for breakfast where Chris
Feb 18, 2016 Brianna rated it did not like it
this premise and the actual story behind this book just seems mean. I have no idea why a book about a woman who continually forces her sexual/romantic/intellectual fantasies on a strange man who asks her to please stop repeatedly is so radically feminist. the fact that this was a real situation just kind of makes it worse. is it radical because it proves that, like men, women can also violate peoples boundaries for their art with no qualms? I feel like a lot of reviewers try to absolve Kraus/her ...more
Dec 09, 2015 Mimi rated it it was ok
A friend who is a sociology teacher asked me to read this book and give her feedback. She's thinking about teaching it in a class next semester. I have no idea what class she's teaching or why it has to be this book, but I'm certain of one thing--this book will get people talking. The title alone will accomplish that much.

I Love Dick is not so much a story as it is a journey for a bored-of-married-life filmmaker who falls for, or thinks she falls for, one of her husband's colleagues, the titular
Dec 26, 2011 knig rated it liked it
‘I love Dick’ is an autobiographical novel, but not a confessional’ says Chris Kraus. This is true. A confessional implies the unfurling of sins, or perceived sins. Chris Kraus has no such predilections: sin is not one of her life’s worries. What she has instead, is bucketfuls of humiliation, personal and professional failure, sexual abjection and bunny boiler syndrome which all fuse and implode on the eve of her 40-ieth Birthday. Now, when midlife crisis strikes, one (of the female variety that ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Apr 11, 2010 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary-lit
In a just world, this would be the next selection of the Oprah Book Club.
Jan 27, 2013 Michael rated it liked it
1. This is a difficult book. Chris Kraus, or at least the Chris Kraus in this book, is a difficult person.

2. The early part of the book, with Sylvère and Chris' letters and their caffeinated gamesmanship, is fun. The latter part involves far more rants, digressions, and indulgences. It's often bracing, since Kraus writes energetically about stuff she really cares about, making connections in every direction. If you like critical theory, you might think it fun. I did not find it fun.

3. "I think t
M. Sarki
May 18, 2016 M. Sarki rated it liked it

Art is the consequence of that excess, that energy or force, that puts life at risk for the sake of intensification, for the sake of sensation itself—not simply for pleasure or for sexuality, as psychoanalysis suggests—but for what can be magnified, intensified, for what is more, through which creation, risk, innovation are undertaken for their own sake, for how and what they may intensify.___Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing
Feb 08, 2016 Alexicon rated it liked it
Finally the ordeal of reading a book with this title on public transportation is over.
'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?' she quotes Hannah Wilke, and this seems to be one of the core concepts behind her work. But in doing so, she seems to demonstrate its limits, caught in the specificities of her life decontextualized from anything. It's a postmodern play with truth, as cold as that can be.

Example: she seems not to recognize that evicting/suing the "stu
Ian Grayejoy
Nov 02, 2015 Ian Grayejoy marked it as to-read
Shelves: a-wish-liszt, erotica
I haven't read the book, but I've seen the videos.
Thought I'd love this book. I mostly hated it. I would've DNFed it except that once in awhile there'd be a line that made me want to air punch. So I'm going to put those together and the rest of this reading experience behind me.
Nate D
Aug 20, 2015 Nate D rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: good subway-reading covers
Recommended to Nate D by: relationships are complicated
Astoundingly page-turning yet philosophically powerful. Anais Nin (read back-to-back with this) fictionalizes her experiences to interesting reflective / psychoanalytic ends, but Kraus does so much more. This is only barely fictionalized, but through conceptual rigor and density of thought this is more the essential "novel" and even that descriptor falls short of everything going on here. A post-modern epistolary self-immolationation for the good of self and all. I really must read more Kraus no ...more
Ross Mcelwain
Dec 17, 2015 Ross Mcelwain rated it did not like it
I didn't finish this, though I nibbled at enough of the book as a whole to get a feel for it. Around page 50 I started asking myself if I had missed something or was yet to reach the stuff that everybody seems to appreciate so much. I decided that neither of things was the case. The book just wasn't doing it for me.

I had been giving Kraus the benefit of the doubt - waiting for the flatness and tweeness of 'Chris' and 'Sylvere' to be revealed as a feature of anti-writing - but I think I was being
Peter Landau
Mar 09, 2015 Peter Landau rated it it was amazing
Chris Kraus succeeds at making the novel novel again. I LOVE DICK has more than just a great title, it’s a fantastic a story. This investigation of sexual obsession should bury its head in its navel but instead falls down a critical rabbit hole where it discovers a new genre. The Dick of the title is sort of a dick, but also a cypher representing every man, maybe even everyone reading the book. Because as Kraus the character becomes more infatuated with the character of Dick it’s impossible not ...more
May 26, 2016 Isabel rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2016
May 16, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were moments reading the first half of this book where I thought I didn't like it - but then something Kraus wrote about women and art, or philosophy or narrative would be so gripping and so interesting that I was pulled back in and judging from the quotes I've copied out there was much I found important to note. This book also made me feel not quite smart enough and definitely not well read enough, but I like to view that as a challenge rather than a judgment.

Chris Kraus is an incredibly
Apr 17, 2015 Carolyn rated it it was amazing

"Why is female vulnerability still only acceptable when it's neuroticized and personal; when it feeds back on itself? Why do people still not get it when we handle vulnerability like philosophy, at some remove?"

To write of I Love Dick as an ultimately feminist discourse is, I feel, to debase Kraus's work by chalking it up to some manifesta, some act of performitivity, a purposeful stab at reclamation of femaleness and selfhood.
Lee Foust
Feb 28, 2015 Lee Foust rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the novel that finishes, crowns, completes the modernist experiment of the 20th century, and should stand as a Futurist avatar for all of the novels to come. I will not curb my enthusiasm. This is my new favorite novel and my new favorite contemporary American novelist. The heartfelt genius of I Love Dick, at which this text arrives through the rigors of theory and formal self-reflection, is overwhelming. The novel displays both the finely crafted modernist ideal and, at the same time, t ...more
Jennifer Slack
Jan 01, 2016 Jennifer Slack rated it did not like it
I really dislike this book. It is self-absorbed and mean-spirited, a deadly combination. I read it in November 2015 but gave it time before I felt comfortable sharing my response. You see, I have read many reviews that praise the book highly. I have tried to believe them; I don't. I think this is a book you are supposed to like, as if liking it is a kind of litmus test of how sophisticated you are. I am happy to be unsophisticated if that means rejecting the stalking and toying with the life of ...more
Patrick Gaughan
Jan 07, 2014 Patrick Gaughan rated it it was amazing
What is there left to say about Chris Kraus's I Love Dick? She's a barnburner, trailblazer. It's an essential read, equal parts art criticism, cultural criticism, fiction, memoir, & love letter. Kraus outgrows the term feminism. She loads a shotgun and shoots it dead, replacing it with a new logic. Why are women called feminists when men who do similar work are lauded as geniuses or neo-Dadaists? Kraus also champions the associative mind, she converses with theory but is not consumed by it. ...more
A brazen and blindingly bright bit of nudging and noodling that nevertheless resonates with the full intoxicating power of the Novel. That perfectly sincere piece of praise, of course, operates on certain assumptions about literature and art that Kraus's novel does not necessarily denounce but assails with galvanizing vigour and violence. They will stand, those assumptions, tall and proud—it's what they were built to do, even through swipes as sharp and subtly studied as this.
"Sylvere and I are
Kate Dansette
Apr 21, 2016 Kate Dansette rated it really liked it
How can a book could be so pretentious and so enjoyable at the same time? How can I actually be enjoying reading about art theory at length? How can a book about an obsession with a really boring man be a big feminist fuck you? How can everyone who told me this book was amazing actually be right? Why am I just hearing about it now?
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500 Great Books B...: I Love Dick - Chris Kraus - Jimmy 1 19 Aug 03, 2014 05:41PM  
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Chris Kraus is a writer, filmmaker, and professor of film at European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.[1] Her books include I Love Dick, Aliens & Anorexia, and Torpor. Video Green, Kraus' first non-fiction book examines the explosion of late 1990s art by high-profile graduate programs that catapulted Los Angeles into the center of the international art world. Her films include Gravity ...more
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“Because I'm moved in writing to be irrepressible. Writing to you seems like some holy cause, cause there's not enough female irrepressibility written down. I've fused my silence and repression with the entire female gender's silence and repression. I think the sheer fact of women talking, being, paradoxical, inexplicable, flip, self-destructive but above all else public is the most revolutionary thing in the world.” 21 likes
“Why does everybody think that women are debasing themselves when we expose the conditions of our own debasement? Why do women always have to come clean? The magnificence of Genet’s last great work, The Prisoner of Love, lies in his willingness to be wrong: a seedy old white guy jerking off on the rippling muscles of the Arabs and Black Panthers. Isn’t the greatest freedom in the world the freedom to be wrong?” 15 likes
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