I just unearthed from my messy desk, a clipping from the Globe and Mail from February 2010. I have no idea if I have already made note of this on my blog! I just re-read it, and feel it’s important enough to write about briefly. If I have already done this, so be it.
Reality Hunger, A Manifesto, by David Shields, sounds like a must-read for me and my memoir studies. From the article: “So, Shields wants the freedom to appropriate and create a recombinant literature out of others’ words, which gain new meaning in their new relations to each other. He also wants a literature that makes explicit the struggle between ‘literary form and lived life,’ one that revels in the hybrid, gestures emphatically toward the documentary while reserving the freedom to make things up. There’s a new movement afoot, he declares, that favours the deliberately unarty and yanks in larger and larger chunks of ‘reality’ – yet, crucially, remains conscious of and up-front about what it’s up to. Shield’s ideal literature must stay ‘true,’ you might say, to the problems of representing anything. Maybe he’d also echo the words of Germany’s new 17-year-old writing sensation, Helene Hegemann, who, when caught lifting whole pages from another in her bestselling, possibly autobiographical, novel, shrugged off the controversy by declaring, ‘There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.’ As in: If it feels authentic, then it is?
“At its best, Reality Hunger is a suggestive, opinionated dictionary of the moment. Even when Shields plays author-arranger, the force of his arguments comes through…. Shields and his collaborators are asking crucial questions, questions that anyone who cares about the future of literature must wrestle with….Practices of writing, and reading, are shifting. None of us should take current modes of expression for granted. “