Malcolm Lowry

Malcolm Lowry : A Biography

4.12 (41 ratings by Goodreads)
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This brilliant and sympathetic account of Malcolm Lowry's chaotic and tragic life tells of the alcoholism that overshadowed his entire adult life, his wanderings through Europe and America, his two tempestuous marriages, and his constant struggle to write. As well as presenting extensive new criticism of Lowry's work, Douglas Day paints a rare and revealing portrait of this brilliant, clumsy, shy, prodigal, and outrageous more

Product details

  • Paperback | 500 pages
  • 144.78 x 215.9 x 33.02mm | 612.35g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • plates
  • 0195035232
  • 9780195035230

Review Text

Lowry was essentially a one-shot novelist. His youthful Ultramarine had been forgotten by the time that Under the Volcano, that florid and predictive fiesta of drunkenness and mysticism in Mexico, was published, and afterwards, although he fought off recurring alcoholism and insanity by working on short stories and novel fragments intended for a grandiose continuum entitled The Voyage that Never Ends, he slid downhill all the way to a death - intentional, but maybe not - by a combined overdose of drink and sleeping pills as The Rites of Spring resounded in the back-ground. "Frankly I have no gift for writing. I started by being a plagiarist. Then I became a hard worker. . . . Now I am a drunkard again," Lowry scribbled when in one of many mental hospitals, hut to Day, Professor of English at the University of Virginia, he was a Jungian type of genius, a "visionary artist" of the "irrational, the obscure, the monstrous." Lowry fictionalized his life and he lived his fictions; the same symbols - the sea, volcanoes, cantinas, the primitive and natural as primeval innocence - were significant in both. Day tries to disentangle both the opus and the man, as perforce he must in a literary biography; unfortunately his explication of the writing (he finds five levels of meaning in Under the Volcano) blunts the forcefulness of Lowry as tormented human being. In tracing Lowry's wanderings - not an easy task since he was prone to invention, exaggeration and self-burlesque - Day sets down all the contradictory evidence, and of course, makes the almost obligatory Freudian analysis. Thus, to the non-initiate, this book will be ponderous in too many places. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

41 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 37% (15)
4 41% (17)
3 20% (8)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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