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How Literature Saved My Life


How Literature Saved My Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780307961525
ISBN10: 0307961524
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Only 1 left in stock at $9.95!


Staff Pick

David Shields's new book is a collagist's and lit lover's dream come true. Erudite and thoughtful, if you've ever lived or read a novel, you'll find much to admire and ruminate upon.
Recommended by Jeremy,

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“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 Pensées 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 thirteen previous books, including Reality Hunger (named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications), The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (NYT bestseller), Black Planet (National Book Critics Circle Award finalist), and Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Award). He has published essays and stories in numerous periodicals, including the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Yale Review, Village Voice, Salon, Slate, McSweeney's, and Believer. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Essayist, April 5, 2013 (view all comments by Essayist)
I was not sure at first that I was getting what David Shields has to say, but not because I don't love literature or the lyric or the new essay. I do. Still, it took me a little while to realize that he was saying truths I know, and I hope that readers will give this book a chance.
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Product Details

Shields, David
Knopf Publishing Group
Literary Criticism : General
Publication Date:
8.65 x 5.84 x 0.91 in 0.82 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » Arts
Featured Titles » Biography
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
How Literature Saved My Life Used Hardcover
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307961525 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

David Shields's new book is a collagist's and lit lover's dream come true. Erudite and thoughtful, if you've ever lived or read a novel, you'll find much to admire and ruminate upon.

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