Great Expectations (Reissue)

Great Expectations (Reissue)

by Kathy Acker


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Kathy Acker’s practice of literary appropriation and pastiche made her notorious—as a rebel and a groundbreaker—when Great Expectations was first published in 1982. Here, she begins rewriting Charles Dickens’s classic—splicing it with passages from Pierre Guyotat’s sexually violent Eden, Eden, Eden, among other texts—alongside Acker’s trademark pithy dialogue, as well as prank missives to the likes of Susan Sontag, Sylvère Lotringer, and God.

At the center of this form-shifting narrative, Acker’s protagonist collects an inheritance following her mother’s suicide, which compels her to revisit and reinterpret traumatic scenes from the past. Switching perspectives, identities, genders, and centuries, the speaker lustily ransacks world literature to celebrate and challenge the discourse around art, love, life, and death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802128546
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Kathy Acker (1948 – 1997) was an influential postmodernist writer and performance artist, whose many books include Blood and Guts in High School; Don Quixote; Literal Madness; Empire of the Senseless; In Memoriam to Identity; My Mother: Demonology; Pussy, King of the Pirates; Portrait of an Eye; and Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective.

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Great Expectations 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
jbushnell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this novel Acker aims her critique at the gnarly intersection of capitalism, violence, sexual dysfunction, and male dominance. In order to live out this critique, Acker jettisons most of the (male-dominated) traditions of narrative as she writes, systematically disrupting the stability of characters and setting, and rejecting the claim to authorial originality (as you might guess from the title). Some might say that this rejection is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I'm more inclined to say it's form following function. Exemplary.