Read Lights Out for the Territory: 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London by Iain Sinclair Free Online
Book Title: Lights Out for the Territory: 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London|
Edition: Granta Books (UK)
Date of issue: October 1st 1998
ISBN 13: 9781862070097
The author of the book: Iain Sinclair
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 655 KB
Read full description of the books Lights Out for the Territory: 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London:I liked parts of this book. Sinclair knows his way round a sentence and I enjoyed his self-conscious prose. However, this is more a collection of fairly fragmented essays on obscure artists, poets and film-makers, tied together with the vague conceit of the author as a tongue-in-cheek Flâneur in London. Although I enjoyed the sections on Patrick Keiller and Chris Petit and the brief cameo from Howard Marks I didn’t engage as much on some of the longer sections on conceptual and performance artists like Rachel Whiteread and Brian Catling. I wanted more of Sinclair’s writing on London and urban space, rather than his critiques of the artists he obviously admires. At times I felt I might have been better served taking out a subscription with the London Review of Books and going through their back issues on line, given that many of the chapters were adapted from essays from the journal. Throughout reading Lights Out for the Territory, I was constantly making notes of other books to read and films to watch. I would have preferred to be more engaged with what I was reading, instead of feel distracted by the visions and imaginations of artists other than the author.
Read information about the authorIain Sinclair is a British writer and film maker. Much of his work is rooted in London, most recently within the influences of psychogeography.
Sinclair's education includes studies at Trinity College, Dublin, where he edited Icarus, the Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London), and the London School of Film Technique (now the London Film School).
His early work was mostly poetry, much of it published by his own small press, Albion Village Press. He was (and remains) closely connected with the British avantgarde poetry scene of the 1960s and 1970s – authors such as J.H. Prynne, Douglas Oliver, Peter Ackroyd and Brian Catling are often quoted in his work and even turn up in fictionalized form as characters; later on, taking over from John Muckle, Sinclair edited the Paladin Poetry Series and, in 1996, the Picador anthology Conductors of Chaos.
His early books Lud Heat (1975) and Suicide Bridge (1979) were a mixture of essay, fiction and poetry; they were followed by White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings (1987), a novel juxtaposing the tale of a disreputable band of bookdealers on the hunt for a priceless copy of Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet and the Jack the Ripper murders (here attributed to the physician William Gull).
Sinclair was for some time perhaps best known for the novel Downriver (1991), which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the 1992 Encore Award. It envisages the UK under the rule of the Widow, a grotesque version of Margaret Thatcher as viewed by her harshest critics, who supposedly establishes a one party state in a fifth term. The volume of essays Lights Out for the Territory gained Sinclair a wider readership by treating the material of his novels in non-fiction form. His essay 'Sorry Meniscus' (1999) ridicules the Millennium Dome. In 1997, he collaborated with Chris Petit, sculptor Steve Dilworth, and others to make The Falconer, a 56 minute semi-fictional 'documentary' film set in London and the Outer Hebrides about the British underground filmmaker Peter Whitehead. It also features Stewart Home, Kathy Acker and Howard Marks.
One of his most recent works and part of a series focused around London is the non-fiction London Orbital; the hard cover edition was published in 2002, along with a documentary film of the same name and subject. It describes a series of trips he took tracing the M25, London's outer-ring motorway, on foot. Sinclair followed this with Edge of the Orison, a psychogeographical reconstruction of the poet John Clare's walk from Dr Matthew Allen's private lunatic asylum, at Fairmead House, High Beach, in the centre of Epping Forest in Essex, to his home in Helpston, near Peterborough. Sinclair also writes about Claybury Asylum, another psychiatric hospital in Essex, in Rodinsky's Room, a collaboration with the artist Rachel Lichtenstein.
Much of Sinclair's recent work consists of an ambitious and elaborate literary recuperation of the so-called occultist psychogeography of London. Other psychogeographers who have worked on similar material include Will Self, Stewart Home and the London Psychogeographical Association. In 2008 he wrote the introduction to Wide Boys Never Work, the London Books reissue of Robert Westerby's classic London low-life novel. Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire: A Confidential Report followed in 2009.
In an interview with This Week in Science, William Gibson said that Sinclair was his favourite author.
Iain Sinclair lives in Haggerston, in the London Borough of Hackney, and has a flat in Hastings, East Sussex.
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