Impossible to Write Alone: Expanded I and Absent Addressee in Chris Kraus's I Love Dick

dc.contributor.authorCorradi, Ariannaen
dc.contributor.committeechairNg, Su Fangen
dc.contributor.committeememberZare, Bonnieen
dc.contributor.committeememberGardner, Thomas M.en
dc.description.abstractAlthough Chris Kraus's I Love Dick has been largely read as autofictional or autotheoretical, I argue that its formal characteristics and innovations can be better understood by looking at seventeenth- and eighteenth-century precedents in the amatory epistolary genre. By examining the formal constraints that belong to the epistolary medium Kraus employed—requirements such as the "I" of the writer, the "you" of the receiver, and a desire for exchange—I show how she deploys epistolary tropes such as the woman in love as natural writer of letters, and the assumed truthful nature of such letters. These epistolary affordances and the ways in which I Love Dick uses and in part revises them allow Kraus to blur the line between reality and fiction, but more importantly allow her to achieve an expansion of the "I" of the writer through what I call her stalking method of writing. It is precisely in the process of writing and in the concomitant minimizing and objectifying of the "you" of the receiver that the expansion of the "I" occurs.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralChris Kraus's first novel I Love Dick was published by Semiotext(e)'s Native Agent series in 1997, but it was upon its second edition in 2006, and after a television adaptation by Jill Soloway in 2017, that the novel found a larger audience. Since then, critics have mainly discussed I Love Dick in relation to the genre of autotheory and autofiction, and called it the urtext for a certain kind of North American female writing that relies heavily on real, personal experiences that undergo varying degrees of fictionalization. While these are valuable interpretations, my research aims to correct an oversight in the current discourse around I Love Dick. By situating the novel within the tradition of love letter writing in the female voice, I show how I Love Dick employs and revises the affordances of the epistolary medium in general, and of the amatory epistolary genre in particular. Through a close analysis both of I Love Dick and of other lesser-known essays and interviews, as well as an analysis of Kraus's precedents, both in the Native Agent's series that she edited in the 1990s and in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century amatory epistolary fiction, I reveal paradoxes that ultimately make I Love Dick a complex and ambiguous novel that defies simple categorizations.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Artsen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectAbsent Addresseeen
dc.subjectChris Krausen
dc.subjectEpistolary Novelen
dc.subjectCase Studyen
dc.titleImpossible to Write Alone: Expanded I and Absent Addressee in Chris Kraus's I Love Dicken
dc.typeThesisen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen of Artsen


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