When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy. Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus's novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in 1997. Widely considered to be the most important feminist novel of the past two decades, I Love Dick is still essential reading; as relevant, fierce and funny as ever.
"I Love Dick is one of the most important books about being a woman ... Friends speak of Kraus's work in the same breathless and conspiratorial way they discuss Elena Ferrante's novels of female friendship set in Naples. The clandestine clubbishness that envelopes women who've read and immersed themselves in the texts shows how little female desire, anger and vulnerability is accurately and confidently explored in literature and culture ... the book reveals far deeper truths than standard and uncomplicated love plots tend to." Dawn Foster, Independent.
"Who gets to speak, and why, is the only question" asks Chris Kraus in her seminal novel I love Dick. Kraus, a 39 year old experimental filmmaker, and her husband Sylvère Lothringer, a 56 year old college professor from New York, meet Dick ___, an English cultural critic and a friendly acquaintance of Sylvère’s, for dinner. After a boozy night, where they "were all laughing a bit too loud", Chris falls in love with Dick, and decides to enter into a conceptual romance with him. On Sylvère's suggestion, he and Chris write Dick a series of letters, billets-doux, which go unanswered. Still, Chris continues to obsessively write to Dick, in the process creating a feminist manifest. "Why is the female vulnerability still only accepted 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?" Desire, vulnerability and rage form a passionate and witty melange of fiction, memoir, and philosophical / cultural critique. Chris Kraus herself called her genre-defying style Lonely Girl Phenomenology. In 2017 I love Dick was turned into a brilliant Amazon TV Series located in Marfa, rather than the novel's New York and LA, which I took as an opportunity to (re-)locate this little text for the purpose of this website...