The Rumpus: How would you describe the relationship between Reality Hunger and How Literature Saved My Life?
David Shields: I like my friend Jonathan Raban’s description. He calls it a surprising sequel. It’s a sequel, but it’s maybe not the sequel you expect. I think, to a certain degree, Reality Hunger burned literature down to the ground for myself, and apparently for some other people, too. I think How Literature Saved My Life kind of reconstructs literature, for me, and I hope for others.
I also think of the book as an attempt to practice what Reality Hunger theorizes about. It’s much more visceral to me, much more vivid, much more vulnerable. It’s an attempt, I hope, to anatomize or embody or exemplify the things I talked about in Reality Hunger.