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Modern Love / Constance DeJong


Modern Love by Constance DeJong

“People used to tell me, if you keep on writing maybe you’ll make a name for yourself,” New York–based artist and writer Constance DeJong (born 1950) wrote in Modern Love. “They were right: My name’s Constance DeJong. My name’s Fifi Corday. My name’s Lady Mirabelle, Monsieur Le Prince, and Roderigo. Roderigo’s my favorite name. First I had my father’s name, then my husband’s, then another’s. I don’t know. I don’t want to know the cause of anything.” 

Modern Love, DeJong’s first book, was published in 1977 by Standard Editions, an imprint co-founded by DeJong and Dorothea Tanning. In 1978, the text was adapted into a 60-minute radio program accompanied by the “Modern Love Waltz,” a piano composition by Philip Glass. In this new edition, DeJong’s debut novel is brought back into print, her dissonant shifts of voice and inimitable staccato rhythm made available to a new generation of readers.

Founder of Franklin Furnace Martha Wilson
In the 1970s, Constance DeJong’s Modern Love played a critical role in Downtown’s invention of post-modernism. How? By transporting us to other states of being, we got to visit Soho, Elizabethan England, and India. Why is this book considered part of the visual art world? Because everyone was doing everything — and Modern Love exactly captured its time.

Author of I Love Dick, Chris Kraus
Written between 1975-1977 from the heart of New York City's art world, Constance DeJong's Modern Love is a forgotten classic of narrative prose innovation. Working largely alone, DeJong invented a narrative form that's at once intimate and highly constructed. Wilder than the French nouveau roman, Modern Love cannibalizes genre and realist fiction and travels through time to explore the dilemma of being a 27-year-old broke female loser who's told by the culture that she's "free to say and do anything I want". A powerful influence on her contemporary Kathy Acker, DeJong's Modern Love feels even more radical now than it did when it first came out."

BOMB Magazine
We were relegated to Chick Lit, romance novels, our subjects were love and motherhood and other sexually-defined things. Modern Love mocks that, to some degree. It pushes back.

Catapult, Alexandra Wuest
A delightfully self-reflexive, genre-defying book too squirmy for definition.