How Literature Saved My Life

By David Shields
(Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780307961525, 207pp.)

Publication Date: February 5, 2013

List Price: $25.95*
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Description

"Reading "How Literature Saved My Life "is like getting to listen in on a really great, smart, provocative conversation. The book is not straightforward, it resists any single interpretation, and it seems to me to constitute nothing less than a new form." --Whitney Otto
In this wonderfully intelligent, stunningly honest, painfully funny book, acclaimed writer David Shields uses himself as a representative for all readers and writers who seek to find salvation in literature.
Blending confessional criticism and anthropological autobiography, Shields explores the power of literature (from Blaise Pascal's "PensEes "to Maggie Nelson's "Bluets, " Renata Adler's "Speedboat" to Proust's" Remembrance of Things Past") to make life survivable, maybe even endurable. Shields evokes his deeply divided personality (his "ridiculous" ambivalence), his character flaws, his woes, his serious despairs. Books are his life raft, but when they come to feel un-lifelike and archaic, he revels in a new kind of art that is based heavily on quotation and consciousness. And he shares with us a final irony: he wants "literature to assuage human loneliness, but nothing can assuage human loneliness. Literature doesn't lie about this--which is what makes it essential."
A captivating, thought-provoking, utterly original way of thinking about the essential acts of reading and writing.




About the Author
David Shields is the author of 11 previous books, including Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, named one of the best books of 2010 by more than 30 publications, and The Thing About Life Is That One Day You?ll Be Dead, a New York Times bestseller. His work has been translated into 15 languages.
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