Nicholas Taylor-Collins in front of a bookshelf

Nicholas Taylor-Collins

Literary researcher | Creative reader


I have published two books, with a third on the way. Read below for more details.

Judge for Yourself: Reading Hyper-contemporary Literature and Book Prize Shortlists is a guidebook published with Routledge in 2020. It helps interested book-club readers and advanced students of literature to navigate several major literary topics or discourses that recur in brand-new writing. The book includes chapters on feminism, critical race theory, postcolonialism, queer theory, and social class, as well as the importance of reviews in shaping reading habits and responses. The book also theorises ‘hyper-contemporary literature’: a way of thinking about brand-new writing that stresses the first reading experience of a book or author about whom we often know little or nothing.

Shakespeare, Memory, and Modern Irish Literature is a research monograph published in 2023 by Manchester University Press. It explores the ‘dismemorial’ connection between William Shakespeare’s drama and Irish literature from across the twentieth century. Covering seven authors—J.M. Synge, James Joyce, John Banville, Samuel Beckett, Eavan Boland, W.B. Yeats, and Seamus Heaney—I explore the way that versions of disruptive memory join these two literary periods and locations. I use three overarching themes (ghosts, bodies, land) to examine these links, finally arguing that Shakespeare’s memory is upheld in Irish literature as a disruptive legacy. Nevertheless, this ‘dismemory’ allows Irish authors to overcome the colonial legacy and underwrite Ireland’s modern future.

John Banville in 2019

Guardian of Death: John Banville’s Affirmation of Life is my current book project. I am exploring why Banville repeatedly returns to figurations and themes of dying and death across his 30+ novels. I will use six chapters to demonstrate the recurring resonances in his writing from 1970 to today: death by driving, murder, illness, animal death, ageing, and inheritance. My current argument is that this is far from a negative consideration of human mortality. Rather, the shaping and reshaping of death in Banville’s writing affirm the value of life whose end is certain. There is a thrill in this inevitability. This line of thought owes much to the philosophy of Germany’s Arthur Schopenhauer and, even more so, Friedrich Nietzsche.