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Bodies of Work

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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  120 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews

“Scarified sensibility, subversive intellect, and predatory wit make her a writer like no other.”—The New York Times
 
Kathy Acker is widely considered one of the important writers of the late twentieth century, yet her essays are available only in this comprehensive collection. Bodies of Work maps a wide-ranging cultural territory. From art and cinema, through politics, bod
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Paperback, 179 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Serpent's Tail (first published 1996)
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Jacob Wren
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"One must be where one is. The body does not lie. Language, if it is not propaganda, or media blab, is the body; with such language lies are not possible. If lies were possible, there would be no reason to write fiction."
Dan
Apr 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
Non-fiction essays by the punk princess of postmodernism. Many of the essays are about art: the films of Peter Greenaway; the realism of painters like Goya and Carravaggio; the literary work of writers like William S. Burroughs, the Marquis de Sade, Collette and Samuel R. Delany. In other essays Acker comments on plagiarism and copyright law, on censorship, and on French literary theory. While some of the essays, such as her introduction to a book about Boxcar Bertha, are in a conventional style ...more
Chris
Feb 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the more complex and intriguing essays I ever read. The title essay about body building was particularly fascinating - about the idea of breaking things down as a method of rebuilding and restructuring.
Reread 2017- I definitely understood more of this book through a second reading, and realize that my earlier memories of this book were very surface level. Much like Zizek, she deconstructs many things from popular culture and the art world to discuss the purpose of, and our relationship w
...more
Peter Landau
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was still a boy living with my parents I used to take all the books in their library that looked cool and put them in my room. I even read a couple of them. Then I saw that there were even more, cooler books in these places called book stores. (Yes, I knew about libraries, but I could only steal from my school’s, and their collection was limited.)

I’ve always judged a book by its cover, and Kathy Acker’s had some of the coolest. She fit into my teenage romanticism of punk and literature p
...more
M.
Dec 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-ever
just as i was losing faith in the ability of critical writing to do anything but oversimplify, in comes this book to refuel my critical imagination.
:
To write is to do other than announce oneself as an enclosed individual. Even the most narcissist of texts, say Nabokov's Lolita, reaches out to, in Lolita's case grabs at, its reader. To write is to write to another. Not _for another_, as if one could take away that other's otherness, but _to another). To write, as Gertrude Stein and Maurice Blanc
...more
Lily
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
To me these essays are like Kathy acker eloquently wrote out my own thoughts better than I ever could and read them back to me.
Imogen
Mar 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYBODY
Basically, Kathy Acker totally rules and gets all the punk stuff right, without all the annoying stuff. She is the punkest ever, in a really intelligent way, which is hard to pull off.
Tom Buchanan
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kathy Acker and the post-structuralist bench press.
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Born of German-Jewish stock, Kathy Acker was brought up by her mother and stepfather (her natural father left her mother before Kathy was born) in a prosperous district of NY. At 18, she left home and worked as a stripper. Her involvement in the sex industry helped to make her a hit on the NY art scene, and she was photographed by the newly fashionable Robert Mapplethorpe. Preferring to be known s ...more
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“I have become interested in languages which I cannot make up, which I cannot create or even create in: I have become interested in languages which I can only come up upon (as I disappear), a pirate upon buried treasure. The dreamer, the dreaming, the dream. I call these languages, languages of the body.” 15 likes
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