by R. N. Taylor
The Red Salon, 2014
Review by Gwendolyn Taunton
The first thing that is noticeable about Robert Taylor’s Gothic Trilogy is the layout and design of the book. It is exceptionally well designed, with visually pleasing typography that is both aesthetic and non-obtrusive. The paper quality is also high, much higher than that found in mass-market paperbacks.
The second point that arises with Gothic Trilogy is that it’s not just a collection of poetry – it is a highly symbolic and semi-autobiographical work that tells a tale through carefully deployed metaphors and parables.
The stage is set at the beginning, which starts with ‘A Journey Through the Wasteland’ where the archetype of a warrior/shamanic figure appears, bearing the Indo-European symbolism of three feathers: White, Red, and Black. The symbolism of this becomes clear as the reader progresses through the book.
The first piece, ‘The Grey Man Passes’, deals with mortality and the Thanatos/Death drive that is the foundation of all spiritual revelations and epiphanies.
The second piece, ‘A Polemical Poem in Parody’, is inspired by the works of T. S. Elliot, Ezra Pound, and other poets. As an introduction to the piece Taylor provides us with a commentary on Anglo-Saxon literature and T. S. Elliot’s own style and form of verse. Of the sections in the book, it is probably this one which is the most symbolic. My favourite part here is the reference to the finance industry:
“Nor shall starched white collars and tailored suits
Be my public face,
Nor limpid resignation be my guiding trait,
Nor bowler hat, nor interest rates,
Nor banker’s’ house and flat dry speech.”
The finance industry of course, being in my humble opinion, the veritable antithesis of arts and culture and the ultimate negation of everything aesthetic in the West. It is therefore inspiring to see literature in turn reject the inherently fraudulent façade of the commercial ‘elite’.
Then the reader is taken ‘beyond the wasteland’ to ‘Faust’, and introduced to this via a warning that western civilization sits precariously on the verge of doom, and as Spengler warned, is facing a great decline on many fronts – which is the perfect introduction to ‘Faust, a New Wave Gothic Epic in Four Parts’.
Faust is also available on ‘Men Among Mice’ for people who would prefer an audio version.
The book also features an appendix which helps to explain some of the more complex symbolism.
All in all, Gothic Trilogy is a high caliber poetic work with an artistic layout. The mythical/symbolist elements in the book are intricately entwined with commentaries on both western culture and the nature of spirit and Tradition. It is therefore a must have for all true connoisseurs of poetry and aristocrats of the soul.
Copies are available from:
The Red Salon
PO Box 354
West Union WV 26456