In her debut book, A. V. Marraccini explores how we inhabit works of art, and how our sense of longing informs and changes our relationship to them. Intertwining fig wasps, Updike, Genet, Twombly, Rilke, jewel heists, and a vividly rendered panoply of histories and myths from classical antiquity, We the Parasites both tells a strange love story and makes a slantwise argument about reading with the body, and what it ultimately means to know, and to want.
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‘We the Parasites is my new favourite book, a dazzlingly erudite disquisition of the erotics of criticism, riven with knockout sentences and a luxuriant sensibility. A.V. Marraccini stops you in your tracks, urges you to think with her a while about the delicious joy of art, how we grow huge and terrifying on it, and how this thievery, this parasitism is necessary both for its continuance and for our own.’
Lauren Elkin, author of Flâneuse: Women Walk The City
‘In 1964, Sontag wrote: ‘In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.’ Since then, many works of criticism have paid lip service to this desideratum, but few have managed to achieve it. [...] In We the Parasites, encountering a work of art is not fixed as a safe looking at, but rather as an eating, a kissing, a being-seduced-by, a being-contaminated by, a being-infected-by that restores art and criticism to the dangerous adventure that it is.’
A.V. Marraccini is a critic, essayist, and historian of art. In addition to her scholarly work, she has written on both visual culture and literature for publications ranging from the TLS and the LARB to BOMB magazine and Hyperallergic.
We the Parasites by A. V. Marraccini