Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker

Overview

Kathy Acker was one of the most original, subversive and influential writers of the late 20th century. Known variously, and notoriously, as a consummate postmodernist, feminist, post-punk and plagiarist, her oeuvreover a dozen novels and novellashas inspired a generation of writers and artists.

Lust for Life is the definitive collection of essays on Acker’s inimitable work, including Peter Wollen’s elegiac primer, widely considered the best introduction to Acker, and Avital ...

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Overview

Kathy Acker was one of the most original, subversive and influential writers of the late 20th century. Known variously, and notoriously, as a consummate postmodernist, feminist, post-punk and plagiarist, her oeuvreover a dozen novels and novellashas inspired a generation of writers and artists.

Lust for Life is the definitive collection of essays on Acker’s inimitable work, including Peter Wollen’s elegiac primer, widely considered the best introduction to Acker, and Avital Ronell’s erudite meditation on friendship and mourning. Together these essays by scholars and writers reveal Acker’s profound and innovative project, and the ways in which fiction can penetrate the heart of political and cultural life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Acker may be the true mother of Brat Pack writers like Brett Easton Ellis, but there isn’t disgust in her work ... Transgression is never disgust—it is a way of surviving.”—Jeanette Winterson

“From the fringes, an outsider, Kathy Acker penetrated the heart of American culture with a superb and wicked intellectual force we had not seen before.”—Sapphire

“Scarified sensibility, subversive intellect, and predatory wit make her a writer like no other I know.”—New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844670666
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 5/15/2006
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Carla Harryman is the author of several books including Baby, Gardener of Stars and There Never Was a Rose Without a Thorn.

Avital Ronell teaches at New York University, The European Graduate School and Paris VIII, and is the author of many books including The Test Drive.

Amy Scholder is the Editorial Director of the Feminist Press.

Peter Wollen was Chair of the Department of Film, Television and New Media at the University of California, Los Angeles. His other books include Paris/Hollywood: Writings on Film and Paris/Manhattan: Writings on Art.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    wide-ranging evaluation of the writings of the influential postmodern author

    Kathy Acker's irresolvable discomfort did not lead to knowledge or even much of a perspective. Peter Wollen quotes from her, 'The only reaction against an unbearable society is equally unbearable nonsense.' Acker's discomfort was a kind, a species, of energy and passion which attracted a sizable, loyal following. The eight essays by teachers and writers take up her literary, artistic style, her persona, and her treatment of politics, gender, sexuality, and other issues of her day. She died of cancer in 2002 shortly after turning fifty. 'In order to make scandal felt continually, Acker finds ways to overflow the bounds of the literary by combining the knowledge she gives us of her life with aggression, humor, unfairness and shifts in direction and context.' She was a prototypical postmodern writer, and there was little difference between her activism and her writing. The essays define and analyze this singular author-activist's style of provocation and education while also linking her to broader artistic, philosophical, and cultural ideas and influences.

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