Field Notes from Elsewhere: Reflections on Dying and Living by Mark TaylorField Notes from Elsewhere: Reflections on Dying and Living by Mark Taylor

Field Notes from Elsewhere: Reflections on Dying and Living

byMark Taylor

Paperback | October 7, 2014

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In the fall of 2005, Mark C. Taylor, the controversial public intellectual and widely respected scholar, suddenly fell critically ill. For two days a team of forty doctors, many of whom thought he would not live, fought to save him. Taylor would eventually recover, but only to face a new threat: surgery for cancer. "These experiences have changed me in ways I am still struggling to understand," Taylor writes in this absorbing memoir. "After the past year, I am persuaded that I have done enough fieldwork to write a book that combines philosophical and theological reflection with autobiographical narrative. Writing is not only possible but actually seems necessary."

Field Notes from Elsewhere is Taylor's unforgettable, inverted journey from death to life. Each of his memoir's fifty-two chapters and accompanying photographs recounts a morning-to-evening experience with sickness and convalescence, mingling humor and hope with a deep exploration of human frailty and, conversely, resilience. When we confront the end of life, Taylor explains, the axis of the lived world shifts, and everything must be reevaluated. As Taylor sorts through his remembrances, much that once seemed familiar becomes strange, paradoxical, and contradictory. He reads his experience with and against ghosts from his past, recasting the meaning of mortality, sacrifice, solitude, and abandonment, along with a host of other issues, in light of modern ways of dying. "You never come back from elsewhere," Taylor concludes, "because elsewhere always comes back with you."

Mark C. Taylor is professor of religion and chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University. His most recent books are Recovering Place: Reflections on Stone Hill; Refiguring the Spiritual: Beuys, Barney, Turrell, Goldsworthy; Rewiring the Real: In Conversation with William Gaddis, Richard Powers, Mark Danielewski, and Don ...
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Title:Field Notes from Elsewhere: Reflections on Dying and LivingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pagesPublished:October 7, 2014Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231147813

ISBN - 13:9780231147811

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Table of Contents

Day / NightBeginning / OriginElsewhere / SilenceReflections / ReticencePremonitions / PostcardsHome / AfterlifeStealth / SacrificeKilling / ElementalAbandonment / MortalityDisplacement / PlaceCreativity / ThinkingE/Mergence / EmptinessWalls / GardenPainting / PlayPerhaps / NumbersPleasure / MoneyVocation / TeachingLast / BurialSolitude / LonelinessThings / GhostsLevity / GriefHumor / MonstersFaction / DishonestyInheritance / WithholdingLetting Go / DinnertimeCompassion / SufferingClouds / WaitingFreedom / TerrorForgiveness / CrueltyDaughters / ObsessionFailure / SuccessBalance / SimplicityFace / AgingStigma / AutoimmunityPatience / ChronicityTechnology / AddictionPain / IntimacyBlindness / AuraCancer / SurvivingTrust / BitternessHands / WillSecrets / TrippingStrangers / TipsSharing / FatigueIdleness / GuiltDriving / AccidentImperfection / VulnerabilityFriendship / DoubtLove / FidelityHope / DespairHappiness / MelancholyOrdinary / ExtraordinaryNotesAcknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

Mark Taylor has been a magisterial but impersonal presence in his pathbreaking work on art, religion, and the ebbing of modernity. In Field Notes from Elsewhere, he takes us out of the library and into his life in a series of death-haunted meditations. Neither a summation nor a memoir, Field Notes from Elsewhere is an epilogue offered, provocatively, as the prologue to a sequel that someone other than Taylor must write.