Q: Is The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart a fictitious autobiography or an autobiographical novel?
A: The book is a lighthearted stylistic journey that prods the autobiographical genre by separating author and narrator and switching their identities. The model for this was of course Gertrude Stein’s 1933 classic, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. As a matter of fact, you could say that I have not only fashioned my book after hers but that I have literally employed Stein and, through her, Alice B. as my ghostwriters to ghostwrite a seemingly earnest memoir, all of which puts the very idea of autobiographical authenticity into question (an aspect that I relish).
The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart is a wry chronicle of my life before and after meeting Daniel (Isengart, that is), complete with a detailed account of the delirious bohemian life we carved out on the margins of New York City’s contemporary art world in an era that predates the city’s massive gentrification. A straight reading would appear to divulge that nothing in Daniel’s life had really mattered until he and I met. On the other hand, in telling the story of my life from his point of view, I am suggesting that it is truly my own life that did not acquire any true meaning until it was shaped and articulated by him. At heart, The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart is a love story, an intimate portrait of a deeply romantic and symbiotic gay relationship.
--Filip Noterdaeme is the founding director of the Homeless Museum of Art and the author, along with the ghosts of Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, of The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart, as you may have surmised.
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