Monday, June 12, 2017

Alison Taylor

Alison Taylor is a Teaching Fellow at Bond University. In 2014, she received the Dean's Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Theses at the University of Queensland.

Her new book is Troubled Everyday: The Aesthetics of Violence and the Everyday in European Art Cinema.

Recently I asked Taylor about what she is reading. Her reply:
I’m gradually working my way through Michel Surya’s astonishingly detailed account of the life and writings of Georges Bataille (Georges Bataille: An Intellectual Biography). It’s a fantastic insight into a thinker I’ve always found intriguing (anyone who was judged too surreal for the surrealists is inevitably intriguing) and is filling in the gaps between the bits and pieces of Bataille’s own work that I’ve read over the years. While fascinating, it is a monster of a book, and not really conducive to long commutes, so while Bataille remains by my bedside, I have a less cumbersome book on the go.

Currently, this is Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, a beautifully composed mixture of memory and fantasy about one man’s experience of the Second World War. Vonnegut’s approach is one of graceful simplicity; the book reads like the world-weary sigh of someone who has seen too much, while still maintaining a sense of humour and humanity.

And, forever open is Amy Hungerford’s wonderful study of American literature, Postmodern Belief. This work examines the centrality and importance of belief for its own sake, rather than specifically tied to any one doctrine, in the works of great writers including Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, and Allen Ginsberg. McCarthy’s invocation of biblical prose across his works, and his imagery of the illiterate kid who carries a bible regardless towards the close of Blood Meridian are key examples. I say this book is forever open, because it’s the book I dip into before I write anything, and the book I return to when I have writer’s block. Beyond content, Hungerford possesses such a command over her material and argument that I hope such elegance will transmit to my own writing, even if only by osmosis.
Learn more about Troubled Everyday at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue