Sunday, February 08, 2009


Catalogs as Fiction

From the Times earlier this week: the fictitious auction catalogue.

That a work of fiction has now assumed the form of an auction catalog could be seen as a sign of the times — deeply materialistic and, with a big recession on, increasingly for sale. But the artist and writer Leanne Shapton said that the idea for her novel, being published this week by Farrar Straus & Giroux under the unwieldy title “Important Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry,” came to her because she noticed how the lot descriptions in some estate catalogs added up to elliptical plots about the lives of the former possessors.

Curiously enough, a quick search turned up a 1790 "satire, in the form of an auction catalogue":

(The Fortsas hoax catalogue of 1840, incidentally, now appears to have a "1st person" account from none other than, ahem, Mssr. Fortsas himself...)

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?