Shield’s Manifesto

Five Dials magazine number 9 is available; the highlight for me is some advance text from David Shields. (I am looking forward to reading Shield’s manifesto Reality Hunger when my copy arrives from the US.)

It is rousing material, reminiscent of Marinetti’s manifesto.

Shields: I and like-minded writers and other artists want the veil of ‘let’s pretend’ out. I don’t like to be carried into purely fanci- ful circumstances. The never-never lands of the imagination don’t interest me that much. Beckett decided that everything was false to him, almost, in art, with its designs and formulae. He wanted art, but he wanted it right from life. He didn’t like, finally, that Joycean voice that was too abundant, too Irish, endlessly lyrical, endlessly allusive. He went into French to cut down. That’s what I want from the voice. I want it to transcend artifice.

Like any dogmatic position, there is enjoyment in arguing about Shield’s thesis. As a reader who derives deep pleasure from reading writers like W. G. Sebald, Geoff Dyer, John Berger or de Maistre and Beckett before I look forward to the debate.

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