Fanning hallucinations in Murray Bail's hall of mirrors

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Costello, M 2015, 'Fanning hallucinations in Murray Bail's hall of mirrors', in E Bacon, D Hecq & A Walker (eds.) The Writing the Ghost Train: Rewriting, Remaking, Rediscovering Papers – The Refereed Proceedings Of The 20th Conference Of The Australasian Association Of Writing Programs, Melbourne, Vic, 29 November-1 December. ISBN 9780980757392

Available on Open Access


Art generates what Elizabeth Grosz (2012) calls, via Deleuze, sensations and intensities. High passion can generate hallucinatory experiences. Hallucinatory experiences are a ghosting resonance, or residual, of the real. Writing itself has been claimed by Alan Bennett (2005), British playwright, to be prescient, calling into being what has not yet been. This piece of creative nonfiction charts such experiences coming out of my fandom – what Lawrence Grossberg (2006) terms an ‘affective investment’ – for the Australian writer Murray Bail. I use the term 'fan' in a ludic and irreverent fashion, given Bail's high modernism and his reputed reclusiveness in the face of celebrity-making. Harriet Chandler: A Novella (2014) is my writing back to his 1987 novel, Holden's Performance, via that minor character. I have researched his archive in the National Library of Australia. The archive itself, although seemingly providing empirical data, is alive with becoming fiction, partly arising from my affect-influenced reading. Bail, thus, himself, becomes a less material entity when supposedly available to be known through the archive.