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For a book that is hard to forget once you’ve read it, the feminist cult classic I Love Dick begins in a very straightforward way. Chris Kraus, a filmmaker in her late-30s, and her husband, Sylvere Lotringer, a university academic in his mid-50s, are having dinner at a sushi restaurant with an acquaintance of his named Dick.
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But the seemingly mundane soon gives way. During the boozy night that follows, Kraus develops an unrequited love obsession for him.

Because Kraus and her husband are no longer having sex, “the two maintain their intimacy through deconstruction: ie, they tell each other everything”. And so the following morning over breakfast at a restaurant she tells Lotringer her fantasies and together they embark on a project of writing love letters to Dick.

When Chris Kraus (the filmmaker and author, not the fictional character) published I love Dick in 1997 it attracted a band of devotees, mainly young women drawn to its genre-bending exploration of female desire, creativity and relationships, and those interested in literary and cultural theory.

But the bookhas reached a new generation of young women – with some high-profile readers including writer, director and actor Lena Dunham and musician Lorde – since it was republished in 2006. More than 50,000 copies reportedly sold around the world in 2016.

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While Kraus avoids the term memoir, the book is based on events in her life. She was married to critic and theorist Sylvere Lotringer, who founded the famous publishing house Semiotext(e), known for publishing influential French theorists including Jean Baudrillard, Felix Guattari??? and Paul Virilio???.

She did fall in love with Lotringer’s friend Dick and they did start writing letters to him. The project brought them closer, but also divided them.

Kraus says she was in a “kind of wonderful delirium” while obsessed with Dick, and when the letters started to turn into essays she realised she had the beginning of a book. The spell, Kraus says, was “not so much cast by the person named Dick as cast by those circumstances and that desperation of feeling, like you have only just a limited amount of ‘last chance’ to figure some things out”.

The eponymous Dick, who was revealed in the New York Magazine to be the theorist Dick Hebdige??? (although he is not named directly and details about his life are altered in the novel), was far less enthused about the project.

Kraus says when she contacted Hebdige to let him know she planned to write a book she received a cease and desist letter from his lawyer. She responded inviting him to write an introduction, saying it would look like a “joke” between the trio. He refused and Kraus has not spoken to him since.

She has now written four novels, with Aliens and Anorexia and Torpor continuing to dwell on what Kraus now describes as a ” 96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0cm;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

After Kathy Acker, Kraus’ latest book, was released this year, and is a literary biography of Kathy Acker, the writer and filmmaker who came to be associated with the New York punk scene and who died of untreated cancer aged 50 in 1997.

When Kraus was “living as a gutter rat” in New York after giving up on a career in journalism in New Zealand, she encountered Acker’s art, poetry and film. 96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0cm;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0cm;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

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