Born in Surrey, in London’s suburbs, Brian R. Banks’ first publication was a letter to ‘The Times Literary Supplement’ defending Léon Bloy. While living on London’s streets in the mid-1970s, discovery of J.-K. Huysmans’ classic A Rebours changed his life. A samurai’s descendent, Masako Sato, generously helped full-time study at Bloomsbury’s British Library, aided by the kind intercession of Professor Colin Burns, the leading scholar of the byways of 19th century French literature, This began a life-long interest in writers and artists whose reputations declined after their deaths.
Contributions to various literary, art and mystical magazines included ‘Book Collector’ (Huysmans, Francis Thompson), ‘Bookdealer’ (Coventry Patmore, John Gray, Huysmans etc.), ‘Catholic Herald‘(Villiers de l’Isle Adam), ‘Golden Dawn’, ‘Aklo’ etc. While a rock band manager and esoteric bookseller, The Image of Huysmans appeared in New York in 1990, concerning an author’s posthumous reputation that can be unjustly based on one example of their work simply because the most famous but not reflect their life-work or vision. This creates problems concerning reputation and context, which in Huysmans’ case even extends to a history of incorrect spelling of his name. The book was favourably reviewed in a lead article, with a cover-portrait, of ‘The Times Literary Supplement’ (May 1990), among worldwide reviews. Soon after, a Brighton-based publisher commissioned a follow-up, Phantoms of the Belle Epoque: The Parisian World of J.-K.Huysmans, but ceased trading while the book was at proof-stage. The famous and prolific author Colin Wilson provided a fascinating introduction with new insights, which subsequently featured in his The Books in my Life (1998), a work exemplifying his original and wide-ranging thought that transcends borderlines in more than one sense. Phantoms is again scheduled for release in 2012 by Papermill Press..
During the decade On the Origin of Spectres: The Burden of Proof for Psychical Research was written, with private editions of poetry. Following emigration, the author has lived in East Europe and published articles on Stanisław Przybyszewski (‘On the Trajectory of a Comet: An Arch-Decadent’), Stefan Żechowski (‘A Pilgrim of the Infinite’) co-authored with Marta Mazur, Bruno Schulz in Poland’s leading academic journal Teksty Drugie (2008 Warsaw), and a conference paper on borderland culture translated and published by Rzeszow University in 2009. He has also lectured across Europe, and contributed articles on rock music including the cd-notes of BBC recordings by Medicine Head. A six-year project was published: Muse & Messiah: The Life, Imagination & Legacy of Bruno Schulz 1892-1942 (Inkermen Press, UK), the first and only international comparative study of the Polish writer-artist, based on international materials, interviews with witnesses and later biographers. Further articles have appeared in ‘Discover Poland’ (London), ‘The Insider’ (Warsaw), ‘New Eastern Europe’ (Wroclaw) etc.