Backchat: In the Dark Room

Brian Dillon,

Brian Dillon, In the Dark Room.
Fitzcarraldo Editions. £12.99.
Buy direct from the publisher.

Splice publishes new content on Mondays and Wednesdays, but throughout the week we bulk it out with bonus material on Facebook and Twitter. On Fridays, “Backchat” looks at the week that was and gathers up all the bonus material in one place.

This week, Splice kicked off with Daniel Davis Wood’s review of Brian Dillon’s In the Dark Room and then followed up the review with an excerpt from the book.

As the book made its way into stores this week, further excerpts appeared on the Fitzcarraldo Editions website and in Hotel. Frances Wilson’s new foreword for the reissued edition of In the Dark Room is also available at Bookanista.

Then, as Daniel points out in his review, Dillon “has an impressive track record as both an art critic and a literary critic” and you can find bits and pieces of his other work all across the web…

You might start off with a couple of pieces related to Essayism, Dillon’s hybrid book of literary criticism and autobiography of depression, which appeared towards the end of last year. On the TLS website is his brief essay on what an essay is, and the Granta website hosts his frank and disarming notes on “Prozac culture”, a description of his and his mother’s experiences with antidepressants. You could also return to a piece Dillon published in Frieze in 2012, an essay on essays which forms the basis of Essayism.

For Dillon’s more general remarks on literature, art, and culture, take a look at his archive of work for the Guardian, for Cabinet magazine, and especially for 4Columns. Dillon has been writing quite a bit for 4Columns over the last couple of years, and his most recent reviews focus on books by writers with whom he shares a critical sensibility.

Speaking of which: at YouTube, you can find a clip of Dillon discussing Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida — a clear influence on In the Dark Room — and an interview with RTE in which Dillon discusses Barthes broader body of work. After those, check out a couple of Dillon’s columns for Cabinet magazine — one on the haunting sentences of Elizabeth Hardwick, and one on “a long, beautiful, almost failed sentence” by Virginia Woolf — and finish up with his remarks on William H. Gass. Gass passed away recently, just at the end of last year, so rediscovering Dillon’s essays on Middle C and On Being Blue can offer a timely reminder of what made the late American writer so great.

That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll be looking at Jorge Consiglio’s Southerly, recently published by Charco Press, and we’ll have a few bonuses to go along with Anna MacDonald’s review of the book on Monday. Follow Splice on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with everything as it unfolds…