How Literature Saved My Life (Google eBook)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Feb 5, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 224 pages
19 Reviews

“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.

  

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Review: How Literature Saved My Life

User Review  - Bob - Goodreads

How Literature Saved My Life is a nuanced examination of how a writer approaches literary criticism and the consequences that act has on one's life. Shields demonstrates how important it is to ... Read full review

Review: How Literature Saved My Life

User Review  - Full Stop - Goodreads

http://www.full-stop.net/2013/02/20/r... Review by Helen Stuhr-Rommereim It takes only a few pages of How Literature Saved My Life, David Shields's fourteenth book, a genre-bending essay collection ... Read full review

All 2 reviews »

Contents

NEGOTIATING AGAINST MYSELF
9
LOVE IS A LONG CLOSE SCRUTINY
41
WHY IS THE HUMAN ANIMAL SO SADP
69
OUR GROUND TIME HERE WILL BE BRIEF
83
THE WOUND AND THE BOW
107
ALL GREAT BOOKS WIND UP WITH
131
LIFE V ART
157
Permissions Acknowledgments
209
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

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 (New York Times best seller), Black Planet (National Book Critics Circle Award finalist), and Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Award). He has published essays and stories in dozens of periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s,The Village Voice, The Yale Review, Salon, Slate, McSweeney’s, and The Believer. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. 

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