Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rachel Shteir's "The Steal"

Rachel Shteir is the author of three books: Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show (2004), Gypsy: the Art of the Tease (2009), and The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting (2011).

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to The Steal and reported the following:
Page 99 of The Steal deals with Jean Genet, the famed thief and book thief, writer and iconic figure. In the book, I was trying to talk about different kinds of stealing or rather different kinds of shoplifting and why people did it. I was trying to talk about how the reasons for stealing are always more complicated than we think and how actually the language we have to talk about it is not sufficient.

Genet wrote about his own stealing in vivid, romantic language and without the Puritanical point of view that Stealing Is Bad. For him, it was transformative. In this section of the book, I was also trying to talk about the link between thinking about stealing and actually stealing, which is a sort of theme in the book. In other words, the connection between dreaming of stealing and stealing--what is it, do we have a collective dream about it beyond the literal rendering.
Learn more about the book and author at Rachel Shteir's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: Gypsy.

--Marshal Zeringue