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A Liverpool of self ; a study of Lowry's fiction other than Under the volcano Benham, David Stanley 1969

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A LIVERPOOL OF SELF A Study of Lowry's F i c t i o n o t h e r than Under the V o l c a n o .  bZ D a v i d S t a n l e y Benham B.A.,  U n i v e r s i t y of K e e l e ,  1966  A t h e s i s s u b m i t t e d i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r the degree of Master of A r t s i n the  department of  English  We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October,  1969  In p r e s e n t i n g an  this  thesis  advanced degree at  the  Library  I further for  shall  the  his  of  this  agree that  written  of  for  be  for extensive  g r a n t e d by  the  It i s understood  financial  gain  of  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  British  available for  permission.  Department  Date  University  permission  representatives. thesis  f u l f i l m e n t of  make i t f r e e l y  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may  by  in p a r t i a l  Columbia  shall  requirements  Columbia,  Head o f my  be  I agree  r e f e r e n c e and c o p y i n g of  that  not  the  that  Study.  this  thesis  Department  c o p y i n g or  for  or  publication  allowed without  my  ABSTRACT  This t h e s i s i s an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of a group of c e n t r a l w h i c h run  through L o w r y s work; i t c e n t r e s on such key-words as 1  'isolation', o n i s t s are  ' a l i e n a t i o n ' , and  seen as men  'self-absorption'.  t r a p p e d i n "a L i v e r p o o l  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y t o r n between a d e s i r e and  themes  a desire  Lowry's p r o t a g -  of s e l f " ; they  are  to escape from t h e i r  to remain i n i t . A l t h o u g h Lowry i n v e s t s h i s  prison  self-absorbed  heroes w i t h a c e r t a i n s p l e n d o u r , f u l f i l m e n t o n l y comes to them when they become c a p a b l e of r e a c h i n g beyond themselves and  entering  into  community w i t h a n o t h e r . I n the and  works.  Introduction, We  can  I have b r i e f l y r e v i e w e d Lowry's e a r l y  f i n d , i n h i s i n s e c u r e c h i l d h o o d and  i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h Conrad A i k e n and own  a l i e n a t i o n ; the  life  i n h i s obsessive  N o r d a h l G r i e g , e v i d e n c e of  his  s e a r c h f o r a s t a b l e human r e l a t i o n s h i p i s c e n t r a l  to even h i s e a r l i e s t work. Chapter I i s a d i s c u s s i o n the  of Lunar C a u s t i c ;  I d i s t i n g u i s h between  two major v e r s i o n s of t h i s book, f i n d i n g i n each a d i s t i n c t a s p e c t  of the  search for r e l a t i o n s h i p .  o b s e r v a t i o n s on the  The  c h a p t e r c o n c l u d e s w i t h some  probably structure  of The  Voyage That Never Ends  as Lowry f i r s t c o n c e i v e d i t . A f t e r h i s second m a r r i a g e i n 1940, and w i f e became, f o r Lowry, the  the r e l a t i o n s h i p between  man  p r o t o t y p e of the community which h i s  p r o t a g o n i s t s seek.  I n Chapter  2 I d i s c u s s Dark As the Grave Wherein  My F r i e n d I s L a i d and La M o r d i d a , is  i n which the marriage  relationship  central. Chapter  2 c o n c l u d e s w i t h an a n a l y s i s o f Sigbj<6rn W i l d e r n e s s '  ' m e t a p h y s i c a l a l i e n a t i o n ' ; Chapter  3 t r a c e s the c y c l i c a l p a t t e r n of  Hear Us 0 L o r d From Heaven Thy D w e l l i n g P l a c e i n terms o f the  constant  s t r u g g l e t o break down the d i s t i n c t i o n between the i n n e r w o r l d o f the mind and the o u t e r ' r e a l ' I n "The we  see t h i s  world.  Element F o l l o w s You Around, S i r ! " and  "Ghostkeeper"  ' r e a l ' w o r l d i t s e l f i n the t h r o e s o f a k i n d o f nervous  breakdown; i n Chapter 4 I attempt s t o r i e s , and conclude  t o f i n d the meaning of these p u z z l i n g  t h a t , l i k e the r e s t of Lowry's work, they a f f i r m  the n e c e s s i t y o f the i n d i v i d u a l t o f i n d h i m s e l f i n r e l a t i o n t o o t h e r s .  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Page INTRODUCTION  1  Footnotes to I n t r o d u c t i o n  13  CHAPTER I  15  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter I  30  CHAPTER I I . . .  32  .  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter I I  52  CHAPTER I I I  54  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter I I I  80  CHAPTER IV  85  F o o t n o t e s t o Chapter IV  95  BIBLIOGRAPHY  97  TRINITY Imprisoned i n a L i v e r p o o l o f , s e l f I haunt the g u t t e d arcades of the p a s t . Where i t l i e s on some h i g h f o r g o t t e n s h e l f I f i n d what I was l o o k i n g f o r a t l a s t . But now the s h e l f has t u r n e d i n t o a mast And now the mast i n t o an u p t o r n t r e e Where one sways c r u c i f i e d t w i x t two o f me. Selected  Poems of M a l c o l m Lowry, p. 74.  INTRODUCTION  Under the Volcano has been r e c o g n i z e d , i n r e c e n t y e a r s , as b e i n g among the f i n e s t t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y n o v e l s .  T h i s upsurge o f i n t e r e s t  i s e a s i e r t o e x p l a i n than the p r e c e d i n g y e a r s o f n e g l e c t , f o r the n o v e l can be seen a t once as a F a u s t i a n t r a g e d y , as an unsurpassed  study o f  the mind o f an a l c o h o l i c , and a s . a d i s t u r b i n g account o f the s e l f d e s t r u c t i v e impulse a t work i n a man's mind - an account which  appears  i n c r e a s i n g l y r e l e v a n t i n a w o r l d which seems s e t on d e s t r o y i n g i t s e l f . Yet i n s p i t e o f t h i s i n t e r e s t i n Under the V o l c a n o , the r e s t o f Malcolm Lowry's f i c t i o n remains o d d l y n e g l e c t e d ; and t h i s i s a p i t y , f o r a l t h o u g h Under the Volcano i s Lowry's f i n e s t work, U l t r a m a r i n e , Lunar C a u s t i c , Dark As the Grave Wherein My F r i e n d I s L a i d , and Hear Us 0 L o r d From Heaven Thy D w e l l i n g P l a c e a r e f a r from i n c o n s i d e r a b l e . Throughout h i s work, Lowry c o n s t a n t l y r e t u r n s t o a s m a l l group of  c e n t r a l themes - i s o l a t i o n , e x i l e , d i s p o s s e s s i o n .  His protagonists  are p r e - e m i n e n t l y men who a r e l o c k e d i n the g a o l o f t h e i r own minds; they can r e l a t e n e i t h e r t o o t h e r s nor t o the environment i n which they f i n d themselves.  From Dana H i l l i o t ,  the E n g l i s h boy o f S c a n d i n a v i a n  o r i g i n s a i l i n g h a l f the w o r l d , t o R o d e r i c k McGregor F a i r h a v e n , the Scots-Canadian  i n s p e c t i n g the r u i n s o f Pompeii, they a r e wanderers,  men who cannot  f i n d t h e i r c o n t e x t i n t h e i r immediate s i t u a t i o n .  s t o r y Lowry t e l l s  The  o f them t r a c e s t h e i r a t t e m p t s , s u c c e s s f u l or u n s u c c e s s f u l ,  to a c h i e v e f u l f i l m e n t by coming t o terms w i t h the w o r l d o u t s i d e  themselves.  -2-  F o r Lowry, the r e l e a s e from s e l f comes through r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h o t h e r s ; i s o l a t e d comtemplation of the w o r l d r e v e a l s o n l y a meani n g l e s s chaos.  For what Lowry's p r o t a g o n i s t s r i s k , i n t h e i r  self-  a b s o r p t i o n , i s , p a r a d o x i c a l l y , a l o s s of t h e i r s e l f - a w a r e n e s s , of t h e i r sense o f p e r s o n a l i d e n t i t y .  I can o n l y t h i n k o f t h i s sense of  i d e n t i t y as a product of o u r s e l v e s i n r e l a t i o n t o our environment; i t i s our c o n s c i o u s n e s s of o u r s e l v e s as a c t i n g , t h i n k i n g , or f e e l i n g i n response t o what i s o u t s i d e us.  For man  t h i s environment i s a  s o c i a l one; o n l y t o a p e c u l i a r few does a s o l i t a r y l i f e  i n the bush  have any permanent a p p e a l - the r e s t take a t l e a s t w i v e s o r m i s t r e s s e s when e s c a p i n g from c i v i l i z a t i o n .  Most of our time i s spent i n r e a c t i n g  i n v a r i o u s ways t o o t h e r s , and i t i s t h i s i n t e r a c t i o n which d e f i n e s us as i n d i v i d u a l s .  To be c u t o f f from human c o n t a c t i s t o r u n the  r i s k of l o s i n g our awareness o f t h i s d e f i n i t i o n ; the castaway and the a l c o h o l i c can b o t h r u n i n t o grave p s y c h o l o g i c a l dangers. Yet a t the same t i m e , t o r e l a t e t o another person means t h a t we must i n some sense i d e n t i f y o u r s e l v e s w i t h him; we must a c c e p t , or assume, a s i m i l a r i t y between two modes of c o n s c i o u s n e s s .  The  self-  absorbed man, more c o n s c i o u s of the d i f f e r e n c e s w h i c h s e p a r a t e him from h i s f e l l o w s than w i t h the s i m i l a r i t i e s which u n i t e him w i t h them, may  f i n d i t i m p o s s i b l e t o make t h i s assumption; i n t h i s case h i s i s o l a -  t i o n might f e e d i t s e l f i n d e f i n i t e l y .  N e v e r t h e l e s s the c i r c u i t has  e v e n t u a l l y t o be broken, f o r we cannot know o u r s e l v e s , or even be ourselves, i n i s o l a t i o n .  We can o n l y a f f i r m our i d e n t i t y by r e l a t i n g  t o , and i d e n t i f y i n g w i t h , o t h e r s ; not t o do so i s h e l l . And no o t h e r w r i t e r has g i v e n us a c l e a r e r i n s i g h t i n t o the  -3-  a p p a l l i n g a t t r a c t i o n s o f h e l l , o f the d e s i r e to o b l i t e r a t e the i n a c o n t i n u a l e c s t a s y of a n g u i s h .  self  Each o f Lowry's p r o t a g o n i s t s  ( e x c e p t i n g , perhaps, Dana H i l l i o t ) i s a b a t t l e g r o u n d where the demands and rewards of l i f e i t i e s t o o t h e r men  - the o f f e r e d d e v o t i o n of a w i f e , the r e s p o n s i b i l - are p i t t e d a g a i n s t the impulse t o i s o l a t i o n  and  s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n - an impulse which i s g e n e r a l l y e x p r e s s e d i n a b e s e t t i n g drunkenness.  The d e s i r e f o r l i f e and l o v e i s p a s s i o n a t e ,  even d e s p e r a t e ; the d e s i r e f o r o b l i v i o n , f o r d e a t h , remains a c o n s t a n t obsession.  R a r e l y does e i t h e r impulse w i n out c o m p l e t e l y (Under the  V o l c a n o i s the m a g n i f i c e n t but n e g a t i v e e x c e p t i o n ) ; a l t h o u g h Lowry c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y a f f i r m s man's a b i l i t y t o overcome h i m s e l f , the v i c t o r y i s never f i n a l , but must be won The l i f e  of a w r i t e r who  a g a i n and a g a i n .  draws h i s m a t e r i a l from h i s i n n e r  response  to the o u t s i d e w o r l d i n e v i t a b l y suggests i n s i g h t s i n t o h i s c r e a t i v e processes.  I n Lowry's l i f e we can see the g e n e s i s of h i s major themes;  more i m p o r t a n t , i t throws some l i g h t on h i s n o v e l I n B a l l a s t to the White Sea, which was The  l o s t when the Lowrys' shack burned down i n 1944.  son of a r i c h L i v e r p o o l c o t t o n b r o k e r , Lowry never  appears  to have been c l o s e t o h i s f a m i l y ; l i k e h i s b r o t h e r s , he i n h e r i t e d h i s f a t h e r ' s l o v e of e x e r c i s e , but u n l i k e them he had none of h i s f a t h e r ' s a p t i t u d e f o r commerce.  H i s mother was  the o n l y member of the f a m i l y  towards whom he showed any r e a l a f f e c t i o n ; h i s f a t h e r , he r e g a r d e d him as "a k i n d of i t e m on the b u s i n e s s agenda."''"  felt, He was  sent  to b o a r d i n g - s c h o o l a t the age of seven, and was never a g a i n t o l i v e w i t h h i s f a m i l y on a n y t h i n g l i k e a permanent b a s i s . was  an o u t s i d e r ; f o r f o u r y e a r s he was  From the f i r s t he  almost b l i n d , and as a r e s u l t  -4was p e r s e c u t e d by the o t h e r  boys:  An autopsy on t h i s c h i l d h o o d then r e v e a l s : That he was f l a y e d a t seven, c r u c i f i e d a t e l e v e n . And he was b l i n d as w e l l , and j e e r e d a t For h i s b l i n d n e s s . By 1929, the y e a r i n which he e n t e r e d Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y , Lowry had s u r v i v e d a p u b l i c s c h o o l e d u c a t i o n , steeped h i m s e l f i n the works of M e l v i l l e and Conrad, and undertaken was t o be the b a s i s o f U l t r a m a r i n e .  the voyage t o the F a r E a s t  which  I n the accounts g i v e n by h i s  3  f r i e n d s o f the Cambridge y e a r s  we see him s t i l l an o u t s i d e r ; he i s  d e s c r i b e d as c h r o n i c a l l y shy, a f r a i d o f s e x u a l c o n t a c t , and a f r a i d o f anyone i n a p o s i t i o n o f a u t h o r i t y .  A l t h o u g h t o some Lowry was a gay,  b r i l l i a n t t a l k e r or a happy-go-lucky  u k e l e l e p l a y e r , the a b i d i n g  i m p r e s s i o n these r e m i n i s c e n c e s l e a v e i s o f a d e s p e r a t e need on Lowry's part f o r s e c u r i t y i n h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p s with others. making e m b a r r a s s i n g  "He was always  g e s t u r e s , " r e c a l l e d John Davenport, " i n s i s t i n g we 4  become b l o o d - b r o t h e r s w i t h a p p r o p r i a t e c e r e m o n i a l s , t h i n g s l i k e  that."  I n about 1928 Lowry r e a d Conrad A i k e n ' s Blue Voyage, and as a r e s u l t i n i t i a t e d a correspondence t o a l o n g and c l o s e f r i e n d s h i p .  w i t h the American author which l e a d A l r e a d y r e c o g n i z e d as a d i s t i n g u i s h e d  w r i t e r o f both v e r s e and p r o s e , A i k e n must have been, t o Lowry, a father-figure.  Lowry's f a t h e r , an eminent and f o r c e f u l man i n h i s  own m i l i e u , was u t t e r l y unequipped t o comprehend h i s son's a s p i r a t i o n s ; a g a i n s t h i s a u t h o r i t y c o u l d be s e t A i k e n ' s , a man o f e q u a l eminence i n h i s own sphere. other.  From the b e g i n n i n g Lowry and A i k e n u n d e r s t o o d  each  "The f a c t i s t h a t we were u n c a n n i l y a l i k e i n almost e v e r y t h i n g ,  found i n s t a n t l y t h a t we spoke the same language, were a s t o n i s h i n g l y en r a p p o r t , " A i k e n has w r i t t e n . " *  -5-  Yet a l t h o u g h Lowry found a k i n d o f e m o t i o n a l s e c u r i t y i n h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with Aiken,  the r e l a t i o n s h i p i t s e l f came t o p o s i t f u r t h e r  p s y c h o l o g i c a l dangers, f o r so i n t e n s e was Lowry's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the o l d e r w r i t e r t h a t he f e l t a l i t y from another b r e a k i n g b e i n g absorbed by A i k e n .  the b o u n d a r i e s which d i v i d e one person-  down, and i n t h i s process he found h i m s e l f  I n a l e t t e r t o A i k e n d a t i n g from t h e p e r i o d  when he was w o r k i n g on U l t r a m a r i n e ,  Lowry w r o t e :  . . . I have Zread*7 my b l a s t e d book w i t h i n c r e a s i n g m i s e r y : w i t h a m i s e r y o f such i n t e n s i t y t h a t I b e l i e v e m y s e l f sometimes t o be d i s p o s s e s s e d , a s p e c t r e o f your own d i s c a r d e d i d e a s , whose o n l y c l a i m t o d i g n i t y appears i n those i d e a s . ^ The  r e s u l t was a s e l f - p r o t e c t i v e r e a c t i o n on Lowry's p a r t , an attempt  to subsume A i k e n ' s p e r s o n a l i t y i n t o h i s own; i n A i k e n ' s Ushant, Hambo (Lowry) asks D. ( A i k e n ) : Am I n o t your son, i n whom you a r e d e s t i n e d t o be w e l l p l e a s e d ? . . . What p o s s i b l e escape i s t h e r e f o r you from the l o g i c a l and temporal sequence, as members of a s e r i e s , by which i t i s your f a t e s i m p l y t o become a b e t t e r 'you' i n me--? I s h a l l become a b e t t e r 'you' and you w i l l be dead.^ F o r t u n a t e l y b o t h w r i t e r s s u r v i v e d t h e i r e n c o u n t e r ; a f t e r 1937 they continued  t o w r i t e t o each o t h e r , and spoke o f each o t h e r w i t h genuine  a f f e c t i o n , but d i d not maintain The  close  contact.  o t h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p which had a c r u c i a l f o r m a t i v e  influence  on Lowry's work was h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the Norwegian w r i t e r , Nordahl Grieg.  I t was p r o b a b l y i n 1929 t h a t he f i r s t r e a d The S h i p  This word i s i n d e c i p h e r a b l e reading.  i n the ms.; " r e a d " i s an obvious  -6S a i l s On;  d e e p l y impressed by the n o v e l , he s i g n e d on a Norwegian  tramp steamer bound f o r A r c h a n g e l  during h i s f i r s t long v a c a t i o n at  Cambridge (1930), w i t h the i n t e n t i o n o f meeting G r i e g i f p o s s i b l e . A f t e r b e i n g p a i d o f f a t A a l e s u n d , i n N o r t h e r n Norway, Lowry went on to t r a c e G r i e g i n O s l o ; the s t r i k i n g s e r i e s of c o i n c i d e n c e s w h i c h l e d up t o and  surrounded t h e i r m e e t i n g was,  f o r Lowry, an " a b s o l u t e l y  g l a r i n g t e s t i m o n y t o the e x i s t e n c e of the t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i n the whole g business." Yet t h e i r meeting was not t o be r e p e a t e d , and i t appears 9 t h a t Lowry wrote t o G r i e g o n l y once a f t e r w a r d . I n B a l l a s t to the White Sea grew out of Lowry's notes on voyage and his  the meeting w i t h G r i e g , and h i s account o f the n o v e l i n  f i r s t l e t t e r t o David Markson r e v e a l s the immense s i g n i f i c a n c e  w h i c h the episode  had f o r him.'^  The  p r o t a g o n i s t was  u n d e r g r a d u a t e , r e f e r r e d t o i n the l e t t e r as A, who and  the  a Cambridge  is identified  l a r g e , more or l e s s , w i t h r e s e r v a t i o n s " , w i t h Lowry h i m s e l f .  i s an i s o l a t e d d r u n k a r d who  "by A  *'.  wants t o w r i t e , but t h i s d e s i r e i s para-  l y z e d by a c u r i o u s i d e n t i t y - c r i s i s brought on by r e a d i n g another man's book: . . . the more A reads X's /JGrieg'sTi book the more i d e n t i f i e d he becomes w i t h the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r of t h a t book, Y ^ e n j a m i n 7 . . . the more so as the e x p e r i e n c e of Y--by e x t e n s i o n t h a t of X t o o - c l o s e l y - - i n d e e d s u p e r n a t u r a l l y resembles h i s own: not m e r e l y t h a t , but X's book u n c a n n i l y resembles the one A's been t r y i n g t o w r i t e h i m s e l f , which i t seems to have rendered f u t i l e . ^ ;  This sense of i d e n t i t y grows u n t i l A's He n e g l e c t s h i s f i s h , finds his gets through an sulting a blind  l i f e becomes c o m p l e t e l y d i s o r i e n t e d :  s t u d i e s , s t a r t s to d r i n k l i k e a own work i n c r e a s i n g l y w o r t h l e s s , exam on Dante's I n f e r n o by conmedium who t e l l s him what the  q u e s t i o n s w i l l be, a t l a s t becomes, i n s p i t e of t h a t , so c l o s e l y i d e n t i f i e d w i t h X t h a t now when he does p u l l h i m s e l f t o g e t h e r and w r i t e , he c a n ' t be sure t h a t he i s n ' t t r a n s c r i b i n g whole s e c t i o n s of X's n o v e l w h i c h , whenever he i s sober, which i s not o f t e n , he has  12  to d e s t r o y .  Lowry, i t seems, i d e n t i f i e d w i t h G r i e g o n l y through the c h a r a c t e r of Benjamin; he was  s t a r t l e d by the sense of h a v i n g h i s own  so p r e c i s e l y d u p l i c a t e d by a n o t h e r mind.  experience  Yet t h i s v e r y d u p l i c a t i o n  suggested t o him t h a t the w o r l d i n which man  f i n d s h i m s e l f i s not  w i t h o u t meaning; i n I n B a l l a s t t o the White Sea  the d i s c o v e r y of the  correspondences between A and X i s an i n t e g r a l p a r t of t h e i r The  depth and o b s e s s i v e n e s s  regeneration.  of h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h Aiken  and  G r i e g i n d i c a t e the e x t e n t of Lowry's a l i e n a t i o n from the w o r l d around him.  He was  a t t r a c t e d t o them, a t f i r s t , through t h e i r work; but  while Grieg offered a curious p a r a l l e l i n experience,  i t is attractive  to assume t h a t he found i n A i k e n a mind w h i c h , r a t h e r than s h a r i n g h i s own  experience,  the same way.  attempted t o approach and  to analyze experience  in  N e v e r t h e l e s s , both must have appeared to be a k i n d o f  v a l i d a t i o n of h i s own v i s i o n and h i s own which c o n s i d e r e d  i d e a l s i n an environment  such a v i s i o n , such i d e a l s , t o be, a t b e s t , e c c e n t r i c .  I n U l t r a m a r i n e , Lowry's f i r s t n o v e l , the themes and through a l l h i s work are adumbrated. r i c h man's son who  symbols which run  I t i s the s t o r y o f Dana H i l l i o t ,  t r i e s to g a i n f i r s t - h a n d e x p e r i e n c e  s h i p p i n g aboard a tramp steamer bound f o r the Far E a s t .  of l i f e  by  Because he i s  a n o v i c e , because he i s r i c h , and because he w i s h e s t o remain f a i t h f u l to  the shadowy and v i r g i n a l f i g u r e of h i s g i r l , J a n e t , he i s d e s p i s e d  by most of the crew. Andy, who  Dana's c h i e f p e r s e c u t o r  i s the s h i p ' s cook, and a man  i s h i s immediate b o s s ,  w i t h whom Dana f e e l s a  powerful  a  -8u n d e r l y i n g k i n s h i p ; i t i s o n l y through Andy, he knows, t h a t he come to be a c c e p t e d by the crew.  will  But Andy does not r e c o g n i z e  this  k i n d s h i p , and Dana can o n l y t r y t o prove h i m s e l f among the o t h e r s by d e m o n s t r a t i n g h i s prowess a t swimming and d r i n k i n g ;  , these  gestures  prove f u t i l e , f o r as l o n g as he remains s e x u a l l y i n e x p e r i e n c e d the crew c o n s i d e r him to be l e s s than a man.  He i s f a c e d w i t h the problem  of h a v i n g to s i n , h a v i n g to break f a i t h w i t h J a n e t , i n o r d e r t o l i v e w i t h the men  around  him.  E v e n t u a l l y Dana comes t o be a c c e p t e d by the crew w i t h o u t  losing  h i s v i r g i n i t y ; a f t e r a f a i l u r e which both he and Andy s h a r e , they  talk  t o g e t h e r over a b o t t l e of w h i s k y , and Dana r e a l i z e s t h a t i n s p i t e of h i s f l a u n t e d v i r i l i t y , Andy i s e s s e n t i a l l y a man He has  who  has m i s s e d  out.  l o s t h i s c a p a c i t y f o r l o v e , and a l l t h a t i s l e f t to him i s the  i n d i s c r i m i n a t e and j o y l e s s a c t of c o p u l a t i o n .  Understanding  this,  Dana can a c c e p t the "promiscuous s t a l l i o n i n s t i n c t " i n h i m s e l f , and i n so d o i n g can see the n a t u r e of h i s k i n s h i p w i t h Andy; y e t a t the same time he f i n d s h i m s e l f a b l e t o t r a n s c e n d the o l d e r  man:  I have i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h Andy: I am Andy. I r e g a r d i t a l l now w i t h s a n i t y and detachment. But I have outgrown Andy. M e n t a l l y , I have surrounded Andy's p o s i t i o n , i n s t e a d of b e i n g b a f f l e d and h u r t by i t . ^ 1  H i s acceptance  by Andy l e a d s to h i s acceptance  by the r e s t of the  and by the end o f the n o v e l Dana i s ready to proceed  men;  from the h e l l of  the seamen's mess t o the deeper h e l l of the s t o k e h o l d . Lowry always c o n s i d e r e d U l t r a m a r i n e to be a l a r g e l y d e r i v a t i v e work.  "Blue Voyage", he t o l d A i k e n , "has become p a r t of my  & I cannot c o n c e i v e of any o t h e r way  consciousness;  i n which U l t r a m a r i n e might be  written;  II  ,14  and t o G r i e g he w r o t e :  "Much of U l t r a m a r i n e i s p a r a -  phrase, p l a g i a r i s m , or p a s t i c h e from you. n15  C e r t a i n l y Lowry had not  y e t subsumed A i k e n ' s s t y l e i n t o h i s own when he wrote U l t r a m a r i n e ; the c a r e f u l use of c o n t r a s t i n g n a r r a t i v e methods t o show d i f f e r i n g modes o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n a s i n g l e c e n t r a l p r o t a g o n i s t , the r u n n i n g commentary on the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s own psyche, which l e a d s t o an i r o n i c a l j u x t a p o s i t i o n o f h i s responses and h i s r e f l e c t i o n s on the i n t e g r i t y o f those r e s p o n s e s , are t e c h n i q u e s which Lowry had l e a r n e d from Blue Voyage.  Y e t the resemblances between the two n o v e l s are s t y l i s t i c  r a t h e r than t h e m a t i c , and i f Lowry's book i s the more s e n t i m e n t a l , i t s i r o n y the l e s s a c c o m p l i s h e d , i t i s s t i l l powerful.  i n many r e s p e c t s the more  The i s s u e s r a i s e d are deep-rooted and p a i n f u l ; by c o n t r a s t ,  A i k e n ' s n o v e l appears c o n t r i v e d and n a r c i s s i s t i c .  I t can be argued  t h a t the c o n t r i v a n c e s w h i c h Lowry borrowed from Blue Voyage d i m i n i s h U l t r a m a r i n e ' s impact, t h a t the i r o n y i m p l i c i t i n A i k e n ' s t e c h n i q u e does not g e l w i t h the p a i n of the s i t u a t i o n which Lowry wished t o convey. There i s some t r u t h i n t h i s ; but even when he wrote t h i s f i r s t  novel,  a double v i s i o n , a t once p a s s i o n a t e and i r o n i c a l , had become, and t o remain, an e s s e n t i a l p a r t of what he had t o say.  was  Blue Voyage  suggested t e c h n i q u e s f o r c a s t i n g h i s m a t e r i a l i n t o t h i s double v i s i o n . U l t r a m a r i n e owes much l e s s t o The S h i p S a i l s On; o n l y i n the theme of a young man's i n i t i a t i o n i n t o the a d u l t w o r l d do the n o v e l s p a r a l l e l each o t h e r .  Benjamin, the boy making h i s f i r s t voyage on a tramp  steamer, has l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t y i n b e i n g a c c e p t e d by the crew;  The S h i p  S a i l s On i s concerned w i t h h i s i n c r e a s i n g p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the a d u l t w o r l d , and the growing knowledge  of p a i n and d e s p a i r which such p a r t i c i -  -10-  pation , i n Grieg's view, e n t a i l s .  I n the end,  i t i s o n l y through a  k i n d of m a l e v o l e n c e d i r e c t e d a t the s h i p , which i t s e l f e p i t o m i z e s h o s t i l i t y o f the w o r l d toward man, committing  suicide.  the  t h a t Benjamin prevents h i m s e l f from  U l t r a m a r i n e has none of t h i s r a t h e r f a c i l e pes-  simism; i t i s a book which u l t i m a t e l y a f f i r m s man's c a p a c i t y f o r fulfilment. in  Although  his resolution i s a l i t t l e  t h i s f i r s t n o v e l , the i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t man  glib, a little  easy,  f i n d s h i m s e l f through  r e l a t i n g t o o t h e r s i s a theme w h i c h Lowry e x p l o r e s throughout h i s work. Yet w h i l e Lowry's n o v e l i s f i n a l l y more s e r i o u s and more moving than G r i e g ' s , i t l e a v e s the r e a d e r d i s s a t i s f i e d . is  The  reason,  t h a t Dana's escape from h i s i s o l a t i o n i s u n c o n v i n c i n g .  enough f o r him t o become 'one  I think,  It is well  o f the boys', but he knows h i m s e l f  the crew's w o r l d i s n o t , i n the end, h i s own.  Nor does the  that  altruistic  d e s i r e t o h e l p o t h e r s which Dana d e v e l o p s i n h i s l e t t e r to J a n e t appear to  be more than an a d o l e s c e n t  action.  specific  J a n e t h e r s e l f i s too vague a f i g u r e t o r e p r e s e n t a r e a l  i l i t y f o r human i n t e r a c t i o n . Lowry was  e f f u s i o n which commits him t o no  At t h i s p o i n t i n h i s l i f e ,  I  possib-  suspect,  aware of man's need f o r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h o t h e r s ; but d i d not  as y e t know how  t h a t need might be assuaged.  W i t h i n months o f  the  p u b l i c a t i o n of U l t r a m a r i n e , Lowry began t o f i n d i n m a r r i a g e the paradigm o f the k i n d of r e l a t i o n s h i p which h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s seek. Of a l l human r e l a t i o n s h i p s , t h a t between husband and w i f e i s the most demanding; i t can a l s o be the most r e w a r d i n g . prolonged  and  At best,  the  i n t i m a t e i n t e r a c t i o n which m a r r i a g e i n v o l v e s can enable  the s e l f - a b s o r b e d man  t o escape from the p r i s o n of h i s mind; h e r e , i f  anywhere, the l o v e o f another can become a f a c t o f h i s e x i s t e n c e .  If,  -li-  on the o t h e r hand, he has l o s t h i s c a p a c i t y t o l o v e , m a r r i a g e w i l l o n l y serve t o d e f i n e s t i l l more c l e a r l y h i s i s o l a t i o n . " I n Le H a v r e "  16  and " H o t e l Room i n C h a r t r e s " ,  17  Two  stories,  both published w i t h i n  18 a year of h i s f i r s t marriage t o Jan G a b r i a l ,  b e g i n Lowry's l o n g  study  of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between man and w i f e . W i t h t h i s m o t i f emerges the impulse  to i s o l a t i o n , to self-damnation,  which i s t o c h a r a c t e r i z e Lowry's l a t e r p r o t a g o n i s t s .  Dana H i l l i o t has  i s o l a t i o n f o r c e d on him; h i s s t r u g g l e i s t o w i n the a f f e c t i o n and r e s p e c t o f the crew.  I n the new s i t u a t i o n  the p r o t a g o n i s t i s o f f e r e d  l o v e , but f i n d s h i m s e l f s t r o n g l y tempted t o r e j e c t i t . " I n Le Havre", an account o f the s e l f - r e c r i m i n a t i o n s o f a man, who, i n a moment o f anger, had t o l d h i s w i f e t h a t he d i d n o t l o v e h e r , i s one o f Lowry's l e a s t s u c c e s s f u l s t o r i e s ;  " H o t e l Room i n C h a r t r e s " ,  on the o t h e r hand, i s a f i n e , n e g l e c t e d p i e c e .  The s t o r y i s a c o n c i s e  a n a l y s i s o f the p a i n f u l ambivalences which can u n d e r l i e even a deep and mutual l o v e between two p e o p l e : . . . he saw h i s w i f e coming s w i f t l y towards h i m , and f e l t i n s t a n t l y a tenderness f o r h e r and r e l i e f t h a t she had come; b u t when he moved towards h e r t o speak, found h i m s e l f suddenly f i g h t i n g down a d e s i r e t o h u r t , a b r u t e w i t h i n him t h a t s u r p r i s e d even h i m s e l f . And when he f i n a l l y d i d speak, i t was n o n - c o m m i t t a l l y , as i f to a stranger. The  c o n f l i c t w i t h i n the p r o t a g o n i s t i s between h i s l o v e f o r h i s w i f e  and h i s d e s i r e t o r e t u r n t o h i s s e a f a r i n g p a s t .  "He had l e f t the s e a " ,  we a r e t o l d , "no l o n g e r a b l e t o endure the p a i n o f . i t s r e a l i t y , as now w i t h o u t  the presence o f t h a t r e a l i t y he c o u l d no l o n g e r bear the 20  pain of i t s i l l u s i o n . "  On the t r a i n t o C h a r t r e s he wants t o j o i n  the group o f s a i l o r s , who, he b e l i v e s , a r e g o i n g t o t h e i r s h i p ; they  -12s y m b o l i z e f o r him the past which he wishes t o escape i n t o .  The s a i l o r s ,  however, a r e r e t u r n i n g home; they a r e s e e k i n g the v e r y l o v e and s e c u r i t y which the p r o t a g o n i s t has wanted t o r e j e c t .  R e a l i z i n g t h i s , he i s a b l e  t o i n i t i a t e a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h h i s w i f e , and the s t o r y c l o s e s w i t h the c o u p l e " f o l d e d t o g e t h e r i n each o t h e r ' s arms c r y i n g w i t h j o y 21 t h a t they had found each o t h e r once more." Lowry's f i r s t m a r r i a g e proved t o be a d i s a s t e r , and i t i s presumably f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t the m o t i f o f the broken m a r r i a g e r e c u r s i n h i s e a r l i e r work as a symptom o f the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s i s o l a t i o n .  Not u n t i l  the 1940's does Lowry r e t u r n a g a i n t o the i d e a o f m a r r i a g e as an a l t e r native to alienation.  Y e t throughout h i s w r i t i n g he i s concerned  w i t h a n a t o m i z i n g the f o r c e s w i t h i n man which prevent him from a p a r t o f the w o r l d o u t s i d e h i m s e l f .  becoming  A l t h o u g h he i n v e s t s those who  remain " i m p r i s o n e d i n a L i v e r p o o l o f s e l f " w i t h a c e r t a i n h e r o i c s t a t u r e , v a l u e l i e s i n l i v i n g w i t h , and f o r , o t h e r s .  U n l e s s the s e l f -  absorbed man can somehow b r i n g h i m s e l f t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n o t h e r l i v e s , he s h a r e s the f a t e o f R i l k e ' s ' s e l f - l o s t : For a n g e l s never come t o such men's p r a y e r s , nor n i g h t s f o r them m i x g l o r y w i t h t h e i r gloom. Forsakenness i s the s e l f - l o s e r ' s doom, and such a r e absent from t h e i r f a t h e r ' s cajjes and d i s i n c l u d e d from t h e i r mother's womb. 1  -13-  FOOTNOTES:  INTRODUCTION  1  Harvey B r e i t and M a r g e r i e Bonner Lowry, e d s . , The S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s of M a l c o l m Lowry (London: Jonathan Cape, 1967), p. 260. 2 From "Autopsy" ( t i t l e by E a r l e B i r n e y ) , a poem p r i n t e d i n Canadian L i t e r a t u r e ( S p r i n g , 1961), 23. 3 I n , f o r example, Conrad K n i c k e r b o c k e r , "Malcolm Lowry i n England,,", P a r i s Review 38 (Summer, 1966), 13-38, and "A P o r t r a i t of M a l c o l m Lowry c o m p i l e d by A r t h u r Calder-Marshall',', The L i s t e n e r , 78-2011 (12 October 1967), 461-3. 4 P a r i s Review 38, 23. ^Conrad A i k e n , "Malcolm Lowry:  a Note", Canadian L i t e r a t u r e 8, 30.  6 I n an u n p u b l i s h e d ms. l e t t e r i n the S p e c i a l C o l l e c t i o n s o f the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia L i b r a r y . Conrad A i k e n , Ushant  (Cleveland:  Division  M e r i d i a n Books, 1962), p. 355.  8 S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s , p. 263. 9 I n 1938, from Los A n g e l e s . He w r o t e : "Although I have n o t w r i t t e n t o you my c o n s c i o u s n e s s has never been f a r away from y o u : nor has my f r i e n d s h i p . " I n S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s , p. 15-16. 10 •_ ' He t o l d G r i e g "My i d e n t i t y w i t h Benjamin / . s i c / e v e n t u a l l y l e d me i n t o m e n t a l t r o u b l e . "  ( S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s p. 15-16.)  11 S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s , p. 255. 12 S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s , p. 261. 13 M a l c o l m Lowry, U l t r a m a r i n e ( T o r o n t o , Vancouver: Company, 1963), p. 185. 1 4  See note 6.  Clarke, Irwin &  -14-  ^ S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s , p. 16. P u b l i s h e d i n L i f e and L e t t e r s , X-55, 1 7  ( J u l y 1934), 462-6.  p u b l i s h e d i n S t o r y , V (September 1934)', 53-58.  ^ I n December 1933. 19 S t o r y , V, 55. 20 S t o r y , V, 53. 2 1  S t o r y , V, 58.  22  1  R i l k e , "The O l i v e Garden", t r . J . B. Leishman.  CHAPTER I  Lowry worked on Lunar C a u s t i c from 1936 u n t i l h i s death, and a t l e a s t s i x complete t y p e s c r i p t s have s u r v i v e d .  They may be grouped i n t o  two d i s t i n c t v e r s i o n s , the e a r l i e r c a l l e d The L a s t Address and the l a t e r c a l l e d S w i n g i n g the Maelstrom.  I n h i s l a s t y e a r s i n England  Lowry was w o r k i n g on a m e l d i n g o f these two v e r s i o n s i n t o a n o v e l l a ; his  f i n a l c h o i c e f o r the t i t l e was Lunar C a u s t i c .  was completed by E a r l e B i r n e y and M a r g e r i e  The t a s k o f m e l d i n g  Lowry, who have p u b l i s h e d  a v e r s i o n o f Lunar Caustic;''" but t h i s e d i t i o n has i n e v i t a b l y l o s t much of the coherence o f The L a s t Address and Swinging the M a e l s t r o m , f o r these v e r s i o n s d i f f e r c o n s i d e r a b l y i n method and i n t e n t i o n . t h e r e f o r e , d i s c u s s them s e p a r a t e l y , k e e p i n g  I shall,  the t i t l e Lunar C a u s t i c 2  to r e f e r o n l y t o the p r o j e c t e d complete work. Lowry s a i d t h a t Lunar C a u s t i c was " i n t e n d e d  to play a sort of  3  P u r g a t o r i o t o the V o l c a n o ' s I n f e r n o . " Purgatory  This h i n t i s u s e f u l , because  i s a k i n d o f median between Heaven and H e l l , a p l a c e o f  t r a n s i t i o n where o p p o s i t e s meet.  Here e v i l i s c a u t e r i z e d from the  s o u l , and w i t h t h i s knowledge the s o u l i s e c s t a t i c i n i t s agony; and although to  the process  rebirth.  conception  i s a kind of death,  t h i s death i s the prelude  But modern man cannot commit h i m s e l f t o such a Dantesque o f P u r g a t o r y , even as a metaphor; h i s f a i t h i n s a l v a t i o n i s  not s t r o n g enough.  The w o r l d o f Lunar C a u s t i c i s d e e p l y ambiguous, and  i s c l o s e r t o h e l l than heaven.  -16-  The s e t t i n g i s a h o s p i t a l i n New Y o r k ,  4  " t h a t c i t y which always  h o l d s a p a r a d i s e i n one hand and an i n f e r n o i n the o t h e r . T h e of  cry  the h o s p i t a l p a t i e n t s i s d e s c r i b e d as p a r t l y a cheer and p a r t l y a w a i l i n g s h r i e k , l i k e some c r y of the i m p r i s o n e d s p i r i t of New York i t s e l f , t h a t s p i r i t h a u n t i n g the abyss between Europe and America and which broods l i k e f u t u r i t y over the Western Ocean.^  The c i t y we see i n the s t o r y i s one i n which the t r a n s i t o r y i s most i n evidence.  I t s f a c t o r i e s wave a f a r e w e l l t o l i f e ; the s h i p s which  come and go b r i n g sometimes a s u g g e s t i o n of hope, but more o f t e n of hopelessness.  Encompassing  the p o l a r i t y between j o y and d e s p a i r ,  p l a c e d u n e a s i l y between the New World and the O l d , i t p e r s o n i f i e s a k i n d of i n s e c u r i t y .  I t i s a c i t y perched on the edge of a chasm.  The h o s p i t a l , which "might be c a l l e d a p r i s o n , an asylum, the Great Whore t h a t s i t s on the w a t e r s , "  7  l i e s on the E a s t R i v e r i n the  c e n t r e of t h i s c i t y of s h i f t i n g meanings. the of  I n the two wharves b e f o r e  o b s e r v a t i o n ward we are p r e s e n t e d a g a i n w i t h the j u x t a p o s i t i o n l i f e and d e a t h , of hope and d e s p a i r ; on the one i s the powerhouse  and the hanging noose, w h i l e moored a t the o t h e r are the w h i t e and b l u e boats "which seemed t o t e l l as they nudged and n i b b l e d c e a s e l e s s l y at  the s u i c i d a l b l a c k n e s s of the w a t e r , of w h i t e and b l u e g i r l s i n  summer."  Between the wharves i s the wrecked barge on w h i c h , momen-  t a r i l y , the p r o t a g o n i s t sees the crumpled body of a s a i l o r ; t h i s barge, to which the boy G a r r y w i l l r e t u r n a g a i n and a g a i n i n h i s s t o r i e s , is  the e x t e r n a l emblem of the w o r l d of decay i n which the p a t i e n t s  live.  Throughout  the d e s c r i p t i o n of the s e t t i n g , o p p o s i t e s c o e x i s t ,  but the n e g a t i v e elements predominate; we a r e made more aware of death  -17-  than o f l i f e ,  o f decay more than o f any p o s s i b l e r e g e n e r a t i o n .  The ambivalence  of the o u t s i d e w o r l d i s r e f l e c t e d i n the p a t i e n t s  and s t a f f o f the h o s p i t a l .  G a r r y , f o r example, i s an e n t e r t a i n i n g  i n n o c e n t , but one who has committed a h o r r i b l e c r i m e .  He i s a m o r a l  paradox p e r s o n i f i e d ; n e i t h e r g u i l t y nor g u i l t l e s s , i n him the c y c l e of innocence  - g u i l t - repentance  - redemption  i s broken.  but t h i s c r e a t i v i t y i t s e l f can be seen both as an attempt a v i s i o n of r e a l i t y and as an attempt reality.  He i s c r e a t i v e , to formulate  t o a v o i d coming t o terms w i t h  A g a i n , we can see i n C l a g g a r t a c o n s c i e n t i o u s d o c t o r who  i s d o i n g h i s best i n an almost i m p o s s i b l e s i t u a t i o n , and an i n s e n s i t i v e b u l l y who c a r e s l i t t l e In  for h i spatients.  t h i s w o r l d where r e a l i t y i s m u l t i f a c e t e d , Sigbjjtarn L a w h i l l ,  the p r o t a g o n i s t o f The L a s t A d d r e s s ,  i s u t t e r l y alone:  . . . we suspect t h a t he must be l o o k i n g , r a t h e r than t r y i n g t o remember something. Perhaps i t i s f o r h i s f a t h e r , who h e r o i c a l l y went down alone w i t h h i s s h i p , a month a f t e r l o s i n g h a l f h i s crew w i t h c h o l e r a : or h i s son, who went away and shot h i m s e l f . . . . or h i s w i f e , who l e f t him when he s t a r t e d t o d r i n k ? Or, perhaps l i k e the poor c a t who had l o s t an eye i n a b a t t l e , he i s j u s t l o o k i n g for h i s s i g h t ? ^ A drunkard and a s a i l o r , he has n e i t h e r o t h e r s t o care f o r nor i n s i g h t into himself.  There i s n o t h i n g , e i t h e r i n terms of awareness o f the  past or r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n the p r e s e n t , by which h i s p e r s o n a l i t y might be d e f i n e d ; he i s a man i n a vacuum, a man w i t h o u t i d e n t i t y . Address i s an account  The L a s t  of h i s s e a r c h t o f i n d h i m s e l f i n r e l a t i o n t o  o t h e r s ; f o r o n l y by c a r i n g f o r and h e l p i n g o t h e r s can he escape the l i m i t a t i o n s of h i s own mind.  T h i s theme i s adumbrated i n h i s c r y p t i c  shout as he e n t e r s the h o s p i t a l :  -18-  "Veut-on que j e d i s p a r a i s s e , que j e plonge, a l a recherche de l'anneau . . . I am sent to save my f a t h e r , t o f i n d my son, to h e a l the e t e r n a l h o r r o r of t h r e e , t o r e s o l v e the immedicable h o r r o r of o p p o s i t e s . The  o n l y way  L a w h i l l can s t r u c t u r e t h i s c h a o t i c w o r l d a t the  beginning  of the s t o r y i s through h i s " h y s t e r i c a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n " w i t h M e l v i l l e ; he i n t e g r a t e s h i s e x p e r i e n c e s the p a t t e r n s of e x p e r i e n c e  i n the h o s p i t a l by r e l a t i n g them to  which M e l v i l l e works out i n Moby D i c k  and  B i l l y Budd, so t h a t he a s s o c i a t e s Garry w i t h M e l v i l l e ' s P i p , who,  by  l o s i n g h i s s a n i t y , saw  i n t o a deeper r e a l i t y , and w h i l e w a t c h i n g the  g r o p i n g hand d u r i n g the puppet-show, he murmurs t o h i m s e l f The  "Leviathan."  p a r a l l e l s w i t h M e l v i l l e serve not o n l y as an i n d i c a t i o n of  Lawhill's n e u r o t i c p e r c e p t i o n of the w o r l d , but a l s o form a major s t r u c t u r a l element i n the s t o r y . doomed Pequod and  L a w h i l l i s a s s o c i a t e d both w i t h  the  the a l i e n a t e d Ahab; the f i r s t q u o t a t i o n from Moby D i c k  which i s a p p l i e d to him suggests some impending d i s a s t e r - " f e e l i n g t h a t he encompassed i n h i s s t a r e oceans from which might be t h a t phantom d e s t r o y e r of h i m s e l f . "  L i k e Ahab, he has  revealed  t o r i s k des-  t r u c t i o n i n order t o t e s t r e a l i t y , and the d e s t r u c t i o n might be a n n i h i l a t i o n - i n s a n i t y or a death of the s p i r i t - or the prelude The  total  necessary  to regeneration. f i r s t people L a w h i l l meets on waking up i n the h o s p i t a l are  Garry and H o r o w i t z , searching.  the s p i r i t u a l f a t h e r and  son f o r whom he has  been  They are o s t e n s i b l y i n the h o s p i t a l because t h e i r i n s a n i t y  i s dangerous - Garry has k i l l e d a young g i r l and H o r o w i t z has  threatened  t o k i l l h i s b r o t h e r - i n - l a w ' s f a m i l y ; n e v e r t h e l e s s L a w h i l l cannot t h a t they a r e , i n any u s u a l sense of the word, i n s a n e .  He  accept  feels that  -19-  G a r r y i s a k i n d o f u n l e t t e r e d Rimbaud, a boy whose o b s e s s i o n w i t h "the decay a t the c e n t r e of the w o r l d " r e v e a l s a p e r c e p t i v e i n t u i t i o n which i s f u n d a m e n t a l l y a r t i s t i c ; as n o r m a l l y abnormal  f a n t a s i e s a r e , t o L a w h i l l , f r i g h t e n i n g and v a l i d  v i s i o n s of a c h a o t i c w o r l d . Jew, a man who  the s t o r i e s which C l a g g a r t d i s m i s s e s  S i m i l a r l y he sees H o r o w i t z as the Wandering  e p i t o m i z e s i n h i m s e l f s u f f e r i n g mankind, and i s s y m p a t h e t i c  to h i s c l a i m t h a t he had been i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d because of h i s Communist views. With the companionship  of these two p e o p l e , L a w h i l l b e g i n s t o take  an i n t e r e s t i n those around him.  He i s q u i c k l y s i c k e n e d by the degrad-  a t i o n and c a s u a l c r u e l t y which seems an a c c e p t e d p a r t of the h o s p i t a l l i f e , and, r e a l i z i n g h i s own r e l a t i v e h e a l t h , determines t o t r y to h e l p them.  Yet a t the same t i m e , w a t c h i n g the t r a p p e d and  derelict  p a t i e n t s , he becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y aware of the a m b i g u i t i e s o f e x i s t e n c e ; when he sees the o l d men  e a t i n g , he  g r a d u a l l y u n d e r s t o o d the meaning of d e a t h , not as a sudden d i s p a t c h of v i o l e n c e , but as a f u n c t i o n of l i f e , which of a l l t h i n g s i s the most m y s t e r i o u s and t e r r i b l e . ^ There can be no u n i t y w i t h i n l i f e  i t s e l f , f o r the u n i t y i s composed  of both l i f e and d e a t h ; t e r r o r i s i n e s c a p a b l e .  Opposites c o l l a p s e  i n t o one a n o t h e r ; he r e f l e c t s t h a t "even Nature h e r s e l f i s shot through 12 with j i t t e r i n e s s , "  and t h i n k s o f the w o r l d as a " c o l l a b o r a t i o n 13  between a l u n a t i c and a d r u n k a r d . " For L a w h i l l , i n s a n i t y i s o f t e n an u n d e r s t a n d a b l e response to an insane w o r l d ; the j o b of t h e . p h y s i c i a n i s not to t e a c h h i s p a t i e n t s to adapt t o t h i s w o r l d , but t o g i v e them a new awareness of themselves. W i t h h i s new-found c o n c e r n f o r o t h e r s , he t r i e s t o e x p l a i n to C l a g g a r t  -20t h a t many o f the p a t i e n t s a r e b e i n g brought t o a debased and s e r v i l e acceptance o f themselves and o f the w o r l d : "many who a r e supposed t o be cuckoo h e r e , as opposed t o the s i c k , a r e s i m p l y , w e l l , n o t even e x a c t l y extreme p e o p l e , who perhaps once saw, however c o n f u s e d l y , the n e c e s s i t y f o r change, f o r r e b i r t h . . . but they were unable t o make the grade o r g a n i c a l l y and sank back i n t o the d e g e n e r a t i o n they now embrace. He makes a s p e c i a l p l e a f o r G a r r y , whose c r e a t i v e g i f t , he c o n t e n d s , i s g o i n g u n n o u r i s h e d , when i t s encouragement c o u l d b o t h h e l p Garry himself  and l e a d the w o r l d t o something b e t t e r , and f o r H o r o w i t z ,  who i s a k i n d l y and harmless o l d man. Claggart,  the a p o l o g i s t  f o r the w o r l d as i t i s , has no d i f f i c u l t y  i n d i s c r e d i t i n g L a w h i l l ' s arguments.  He sees L a w h i l l ' s  complaints  about the i n h u m a n i t y of the h o s p i t a l as m e r e l y r e f l e c t i n g h i s r e f u s a l to a c c e p t a u t h o r i t y , and h i s p e r c e p t i o n  o f the p a t i e n t s ' need f o r  r e b i r t h as no more than a p r o j e c t i o n of h i s own n e u r o s i s .  He never  admits t h a t L a w h i l l ' s i d e a s have any k i n d o f o b j e c t i v i t y ; they a r i s e o n l y from " h i s own s t a t e . "  When a p p a r e n t l y t a l k i n g about o t h e r  L a w h i l l i s r e a l l y t a l k i n g about h i m s e l f ;  patients,  i n f i n d i n g m e r i t i n Garry's  s t o r i e s he i s r e a l l y p l a y i n g out h i s own d e s i r e t o w r i t e . I n t h i s c l a s h between L a w h i l l and C l a g g a r t , say t h a t e i t h e r i s r i g h t or wrong. of g o o d w i l l ;  i t i s impossible to  Both a r e , i n t h e i r own terms, men  they s i m p l y cannot communicate.  There i s no way f o r  L a w h i l l t o e x p r e s s h i s i d e a s w i t h i n C l a g g a r t ' s terms o f r e f e r e n c e , and  therefore  he cannot persuade him t o change the s i t u a t i o n .  Under  t h i s t r i a l he b e g i n s t o v a l i d a t e C l a g g a r t ' s a n a l y s i s ; he i s reduced to b i t t e r and i n s u l t i n g sarcasm, t o  f a n t a s i z i n g on h i s e x p e r i e n c e i n  -21the w o r l d , and t o c h a l l e n g i n g the d o c t o r t o a t e s t o f s t r e n g t h . The encounter w i t h C l a g g a r t r e p r e s e n t s the f a r t h e s t e x t e n s i o n of L a w h i l l ' s attempt t o l i v e i n the o u t s i d e w o r l d and t o h e l p those around him, and a l t h o u g h the p a r a l l e l s w i t h M e l v i l l e i m p l y t h a t t r u t h , or a t l e a s t goodness, l i e s w i t h L a w h i l l i n the s h i f t i n g a m b i g u i t i e s s e t up i n the e p i s o d e , ^ the attempt f a i l s , and he b e g i n s t o s l i d e back i n t o the abyss o f h i s own s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n .  L o o k i n g out a t the c i t y  from the annexe t o C l a g g a r t ' s o f f i c e , he sees t h a t a storm i s g a t h e r i n g ; s y m b o l i c a l l y i t i s the storm which t h r e a t e n s t o e n g u l f humanity as w e l l as h i s own mind, but o n l y the p a t i e n t s i n the h o s p i t a l , r e j e c t e d by the "sane" w o r l d , a r e aware o f i t s approach.  As the storm breaks  L a w h i l l f e e l s f o r a moment a sense of r e l e a s e , o f " b e i n g a l r e a d y o u t s i d e , o f b e i n g f r e e , f r e e t o r u n w i t h the wind i f he w i s h e d , and 16 as f a s t , and as f a r away as p o s s i b l e from the h o s p i t a l . "  But the  hope t h a t r e g e n e r a t i o n w i l l come w i t h the storm i s r a i s e d o n l y t o be i m m e d i a t e l y e x t i n g u i s h e d , f o r he r e a l i z e s t h a t "the b a r s were t h e r e ; he c o u l d n ' t escape the b a r s of h i s mind, the b a r s r i v e t e d and s e t by the cause o f h i s  presence." ^ 1  L a w h i l l ' s r e c o g n i t i o n o f the fundamental i d e n t i t y between the i n n e r w o r l d and the o u t e r i s the l a s t t w i s t of the k n i f e ; he i s t r a p p e d not m e r e l y i n the h o s p i t a l or i n the w o r l d , but w i t h i n h i s own psyche, and i s h i m s e l f a product o f the decay which he f i n d s a t the c e n t r e of the w o r l d .  Man's s t a t e i f h o p e l e s s ; unable t o r e a c h o u t s i d e h i m s e l f ,  he can never become complete.  I n d e s p a i r , L a w h i l l sums up the immense  agony of the s t o r y i n a passage which draws t o g e t h e r the E a s t R i v e r , the g r o t e s q u e s h i p s which pass on i t , which brood over  it:  and the e q u a l l y grotesque minds  -22-  The w o r l d o f the r i v e r was one' where e v e r y t h i n g was uncompleted w h i l e f u n c t i o n i n g i n d e g e n e r a t i o n and from which as from the barge the shape o f t h e i r own s h a t t e r e d o r unformed s o u l s was c a s t back a t them. And a l l complementary f a c t o r s had been w i t h d r a w n from t h i s w o r l d ! I t s half-darkness q u i v e r e d w i t h the a n g u i s h o f s e p a r a t i o n from the r e a l l i g h t , j u s t as i n h i s nightmares the t o r t o i s e c r a w l e d i n agony l o o k i n g f o r i t s s h e l l , and n a i l s h e l d n o t h i n g t o g e t h e r , o r one winged b i r d s dropped exhausted a c r o s s a m a n i a c a l , s u n l e s s m o o n . ^ The  forces working to destroy L a w h i l l begin to c l o s e i n .  appearance o f the Martha's V i n e y a r d  The  reminds him o f the t r i p he took  w i t h h i s w i f e t o New B e d f o r d - the place from which M e l v i l l e s t a r t e d h i s w h a l i n g voyage; and he b e g i n s t o see a r e c u r r i n g p a t t e r n emerging i n the chaos o f the storm.  H i s quest f o r t r u t h o r d e s t r u c t i o n has  s t a r t e d i n the same place as Ahab's, and each i s accompanied by a c l a i r v o y a n t boy who i s , i n some sense, h i m s e l f .  With t h i s  realization  L a w h i l l remembers t h a t the name o f the s h i p which had brought him t o Melville's  s t a r t i n g - p l a c e was, a p p r o p r i a t e l y , the p r o v i d e n c e ;  s h i p , a t the h e i g h t of the storm, s a i l s past the h o s p i t a l .  and t h i s  Y e t though  the name o f t h i s s h i p , and i t s reappearance a t t h i s c r u c i a l moment, r e i n f o r c e the i d e a o f a p a t t e r n i n the w o r l d ' s chaos, the p a t t e r n remains one o f a n g u i s h .  The p a t i e n t s , s e e i n g the P r o v i d e n c e pass,  r u s h t o the window and b e g i n t o scream, and t h e i r scream i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the "mechanic c a l a m i t y o f the r o c k i n g c i t y . . . w i t h the pandemonium, i t might almost have been, o f a l l the wars a l l over the w o r l d 19 . . ."  Each man, we see, stands a l o n e a g a i n s t a m a l e v o l e n t d e s t i n y .  L a w h i l l l e a r n s t h a t h i s f r i e n d s h i p w i t h Garry i s t o be broken up; he i s r e t u r n e d  t o the i s o l a t i o n i n which he began.  A t t h i s moment  a seaplane appears - as a r o a r a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a seaplane had accompanied  -23the g r o p i n g , menacing w h i t e hand d u r i n g the puppet-show - which becomes, i n a t e r r i f y i n g f a n t a s y , the Moby D i c k which i s t o d e s t r o y Lawhill.  The d e s t r u c t i o n comes i n a f l a s h o f l i g h t n i n g , b u t i t  proves t o be n e i t h e r t o t a l e x t i n c t i o n n o r the s h a t t e r i n g o f t h e o l d s e l f which i s a n e c e s s a r y  prelude  t o r e b i r t h ; he i s l e f t  the possessor o f an even more t e r r i b l e knowledge, t h a t t h i s was n o t the u l t i m a t e d a r k n e s s , n o r darkness f a l l i n g over h i s mind f o r e v e r , b u t o n l y h i s s p i r i t u a l a n n i h i l a t i o n , from which h i s body, whose r e l e a s e was even now presaged, would be d e l i v e r e d to complete, i n i t s own time, t h e outward and p h y s i c a l event o f death. ^ As Garry t e l l s C l a g g a r t , " I t o n l y l o o k s l i k e s p r i n g . "  The r e g e n e r a t i o n  w h i c h L a w h i l l had hoped f o r cannot come about i n the w o r l d i n which he f i n d s h i m s e l f ; he i s condemned t o the l i f e - i n - d e a t h o f p e r p e t u a l incompleteness. Lawhill i s l i t t l e l e a v e s he i m m e d i a t e l y for  changed by h i s s t a y i n the h o s p i t a l . s t a r t s t o d r i n k a g a i n ; and he i s s t i l l  human c o n t a c t , i m a g i n i n g passers-by  he had met i n t h e h o s p i t a l .  When he searching  t o be h i s r e l a t i v e s , o r p a t i e n t s  As he throws h i s empty b o t t l e a t an  obscene s k e t c h on a l a v a t o r y w a l l which symbolizes  f o r him a l l the  o b s c e n i t y i n the w o r l d a t l a r g e , he remembers how Garry had d e s c r i b e d the murder o f the g i r l - " I t was o n l y a l i t t l e  scratch."  The two a c t s  of v i o l e n c e l i n k L a w h i l l and Garry t o g e t h e r , and L a w h i l l i s f o r c e d t o recognize  the p a r a d o x i c a l d u a l i t y o f human nature  - the c o e x i s t e n c e  o f innocence w i t h g u i l t , o f compassion w i t h a f r i g h t e n i n g c a p a c i t y f o r v i o l e n c e - as o p e r a t i n g w i t h i n h i m s e l f . "was And  t o become o f them a l l ?  "What," he f i n a l l y  Why had man been p l a c e d i n t h i s  asks, hell?  i f t h a t c o u l d be e x p l a i n e d , through whom had the o f f e n c e come t h a t  -2421 to s u f f e r i t e q u a l l y ? "  c h i l d r e n had  There can be no answer t o such  q u e s t i o n s , and L a w h i l l ' s o n l y escape l i e s i n embracing h i s i s o l a t i o n . At the end of the s t o r y he r e t u r n s t o the p r e s e x u a l s t a t e which  Garry  has never l e f t , f i n d i n g s e c u r i t y and o b l i v i o n i n r e t i r i n g " t o the o b s c u r e s t c o r n e r of the b a r , where, c u r l e d up l i k e an embryo i n the 22 womb . . . S i g b j ^ r n L a w h i l l c o u l d not be seen a t a l l . " The L a s t Address i s an o f t e n t e r r i f y i n g account of a man  trying  to r a i s e h i m s e l f out of the p i t o f s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n , but i t i s a work w h i c h l e a v e s the reader d i s s a t i s f i e d .  One  of the r e a s o n s , I t h i n k ,  i s t h a t the onus of blame f o r L a w h i l l ' s f a i l u r e i s p l a c e d l a r g e l y the w o r l d o u t s i d e him.  H i s r e j e c t i o n by a man  on  as unsympathetic as  C l a g g a r t c o n s t i t u t e s an e v a s i o n of the c e n t r a l problem - L a w h i l l ' s responsibility  to o t h e r s .  Consequently the q u e s t i o n s we want t o ask -  to what e x t e n t L a w h i l l has chosen i s o l a t i o n i n the p a s t , and to what e x t e n t he i s c o n t i n u i n g to choose i t i n the p r e s e n t - can never be answered.  And  because we cannot determine the v a l i d i t y of h i s obser-  v a t i o n s of the w o r l d around him, we can a t t a c h no v a l u e t o h i s f i n a l non-solution. Swinging  the M a e l s t r o m i s a r e w o r k i n g of the s i t u a t i o n and  setting  of The L a s t A d d r e s s , but two c r u c i a l changes - the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s f a i l u r e as a j a z z m u s i c i a n , and h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the d o c t o r - l e a d towards a r e s o l u t i o n o f these problems.  B i l l Plantagenet's  f a i l u r e as a  m u s i c i a n i s used i n p a r t t o emphasize the f a c t t h a t h i s i s o l a t i o n i s the product  of an inadequacy i n h i m s e l f ; i t i s both a symptom of  a metaphor f o r h i s t o t a l s p i r i t u a l f a i l u r e .  and  T h i s p o i n t i s made when  he t r i e s to persuade P h i l i p , the d o c t o r , t h a t he i s not a good piano  -25p l a y e r because h i s hands cannot s t r e t c h an o c t a v e . a p p a r e n t l y i r r e l e v a n t l y , "You  Philip  replies,  d i d n ' t l e a v e Ruth because your hands  c o u l d n ' t s t r e t c h an o c t a v e , " but he l a t e r adds, "Perhaps i t was  your  23 h e a r t you c o u l d n ' t make s t r e t c h an The  octave."  f a c t t h a t B i l l and P h i l i p are c o u s i n s g i v e s B i l l a p o s i t i o n  o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y among the p a t i e n t s . 24 w i t h the boy and  the o l d man,  he comes t o f e e l , l i k e L a w h i l l , t h a t  the h o s p i t a l cannot h e l p them. w i t h P h i l i p , and job i s harder humane and  As he develops a f r i e n d s h i p  He determines to d i s c u s s t h e i r cases  they a c c e p t him as a p o t e n t i a l s a v i o u r .  But  Bill's  than L a w h i l l ' s , f o r h i s c o u s i n , u n l i k e C l a g g a r t , i s a  p e r c e p t i v e man.  P h i l i p works as w e l l as he can i n a  s i t u a t i o n w h i c h he cannot e n t i r e l y c o n t r o l ; d u r i n g the puppet-show i t seems t o B i l l t h a t the drama was b e i n g d i v e r t e d from i t s course by some s i n i s t e r d i s p o s i t i o n of the p u p p e t e e r ' s : he sensed P h i l i p ' s i n c r e a s i n g d i s c o m f o r t , as of a god, he t h o u g h t , who d i s c o v e r s a l l over a g a i n t h a t man i s not lp, g to be t r u s t e d w i t h the s t r i n g s of h i s d e s t i n y . n  However, the most s t r i k i n g aspect o f P h i l i p ' s c h a r a c t e r , as c o n t r a s t e d w i t h C l a g g a r t ' s , i s h i s experience  of h o r r o r .  When B i l l begins  to  suggest t h a t the d o c t o r does not u n d e r s t a n d s u f f e r i n g , P h i l i p r e v e a l s a knowledge f a r deeper than h i s own;  deeper because, w h i l e B i l l  i n f l i c t e d s u f f e r i n g on h i m s e l f , P h i l i p has i l i t y of i n f l i c t i n g i t on  to l i v e w i t h the  has  responsib-  others.  I n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p as c o u s i n s , t h e i r detachment from the p a t i e n t s , t h e i r j o i n t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r Garry and Kalowsky, and of h o r r o r , P h i l i p and B i l l Despite  t h e i r knowledge  form a two-man community w i t h i n the h o s p i t a l .  the s l i g h t a m b i g u i t y  i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p , marked by  the  -26-  " c e r t a i n r e b e l l i o u s n e s s " which P h i l i p rouses i n B i l l , and the l o n g s i l e n c e s which o c c a s i o n a l l y punctuate t h e i r c o n v e r s a t i o n s , they can l i k e and u n d e r s t a n d one another.  Nevertheless,  P h i l i p i s the g r e a t e r  person; h i s knowledge" is~ wider," h i s i n s i g h t , s u f f e r i n g , and humanity deeper. for  As a r e s u l t , B i l l f i n d s h i m s e l f unable t o press h i s arguments  Garry and Kalowsky; i n s t e a d he comes t o a c c e p t  the n e c e s s i t y f o r  the a p p a r e n t l y inhuman i n s t i t u t i o n o f which P h i l i p i s a p a r t .  Lawhill  f a i l e d i n h i s p l e a t o C l a g g a r t because they c o u l d n o t communicate; Bill  f a i l s p r e c i s e l y because he can sympathize w i t h P h i l i p ' s p o i n t o f  v i e w so r e a d i l y . I n becoming v i r t u a l l y p a r t o f t h e system which i s c r u s h i n g the patients, B i l l  f a i l s t o l i v e up t o t h e s p i r i t o f h i s promise t o Garry  and Kalowsky.  He i s unable t o t e l l  t h e i r treatment  them t h a t he had i m p l i c i t l y condoned  i n t h e h o s p i t a l , and so f o r the f i r s t time a f a l s e  note e n t e r s i n t o t h e i r f r i e n d s h i p ; he says l i t t l e  t o them on r e t u r n i n g  from P h i l i p ' s o f f i c e , and r e f u s e s t o meet Garry's eyes.  As a r e s u l t  of h i s community w i t h h i s c o u s i n , he i s d r i v e n t o i s o l a t e h i m s e l f once more. to  This i s o l a t i o n , however, i s n o t q u i t e t h a t which L a w h i l l r e v e r t s  a t t h e end o f The L a s t A d d r e s s , f o r w h i l e L a w h i l l had l o o k e d a t  the w o r l d and d e c i d e d , i n e f f e c t , t h a t n o t h i n g c o u l d be done, B i l l r e a l i z e s the n e c e s s i t y o f d o i n g something; h i s g u i l t y p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the system which has produced Garry f o r c e s h i m t o r e c o g n i z e h i s  respons-  i b i l i t y t o combat the e v i l around him. H i s r e l e a s e comes a f t e r he has m o m e n t a r i l y a c t u a l i z e d t h e v i o l e n c e w i t h i n h i m s e l f by t h r o w i n g h i s b o t t l e a t the obscene s k e t c h .  In  c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h a f r i e n d l y s t r a n g e r , t o whom he i n t r o d u c e s  himself  as "Herman M e l v i l l e , " he m i s t a k e s  the name o f a p a s s i n g s h i p ; t h e name  -27-  he h e a r s i s the Acushnet - the s h i p on which M e l v i l l e made h i s w h a l i n g voyage.  The s h i p t u r n s out t o be a S p a n i s h L o y a l i s t , engaged i n c o n f l i c t  w i t h the White Whale o f F a s c i s m , and a l t h o u g h t h e r e i s danger i n j o i n i n g h e r , she o f f e r s an escape from the p a r a l y z e d s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n which i s L a w h i l l ' s o n l y response t o a w o r l d o f i r r e s o l v a b l e a m b i g u i t y .  Bill  i s a b l e t o a c c e p t the i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t he, l i k e M e l v i l l e , must voyage, must be p r e p a r e d t o r i s k t o t a l d e s t r u c t i o n :  "As he began t o wash the  b l o o d from h i s hands, he had the p e c u l i a r f e e l i n g t h a t i t was h i s 26 s h i p , which would take him on h i s n i g h t j o u r n e y a c r o s s the s e a . " is s t i l l  He  i s o l a t e d , s i n c e he has l o s t c o n t a c t w i t h P h i l i p , G a r r y , and  Kalowsky, but the b l o o d he i s washing from h i s hands i s h i s own; he has broken out o f the s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e c i r c u i t which had t r a p p e d L a w h i l l , and i s ready t o renew h i s s p i r i t u a l q u e s t . As s t u d i e s i n a l i e n a t i o n , The L a s t Address and S w i n g i n g the M a e l s t r o m are n o t comparable t o Lowry's major works; they r e v e a l n e i t h e r the a p p a l l i n g i n s i g h t i n t o man's p o t e n t i a l f o r s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n which we f i n d . i n Under the V o l c a n o and the l a t e r M e x i c a n n o v e l s , n o r the awareness of man's need t o r e l a t e h i m s e l f t o h i s t o t a l environment which i s a major theme o f Hear Us 0 L o r d From Heaven Thy D w e l l i n g P l a c e .  Nevertheless,  an e x a m i n a t i o n o f these s t o r i e s e n a b l e s us t o draw some t e n t a t i v e conc l u s i o n s about The Voyage That Never Ends, which was t o have been composed, as Lowry f i r s t c o n c e i v e d i t ,  o f the t r i l o g y Under the V o l c a n o - Lunar  C a u s t i c - I n B a l l a s t t o the White Sea. The b a s i c p a t t e r n o f the t r i l o g y was, as Lowry c a l l e d i t , " w i t h d r a w a l and r e t u r n . "  The w i t h d r a w a l i s from the community o f mankind i n t o a k i n d  of h e l l - the h e l l of a l c o h o l i s m , o f u t t e r i s o l a t i o n , o f s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n ;  -28-  and  t h i s s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n i s a l s o s e l f - a b n e g a t i o n , a complete l o s s of  the i n d i v i d u a l sense of b e i n g . p a r t of the process  integral  of r e g e n e r a t i o n , a r e c o g n i t i o n of the powers of  darkness w h i c h operate  i n the human psyche; but i t must be  by a r e - e n t r y i n t o the w o r l d . and  T h i s descent i n t o h e l l i s an  The  p r o t a g o n i s t begins  followed  to r e l a t e  to  i d e n t i f y w i t h o t h e r s , and w i t h t h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n comes the  r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t he has  to a c t i n the w o r l d .  The  f i n a l step i s h i s  complete i n v o l v e m e n t i n the w o r l d ; w i t h a c t i o n h i s human p o t e n t i a l , h i s a b i l i t y t o l o v e and  to c r e a t e , becomes a c t u a l .  I n Under the V o l c a n o , G e o f f r e y F i r m i n has gone so f a r i n h i s s e l f a b s o r p t i o n t h a t he cannot make the r e t u r n . which L a r u e l l e reads i n the f i r s t c h a p t e r  We  l e a r n from the  the d e s p e r a t i o n w i t h which  the Consul y e a r n s f o r Yvonne's r e t u r n to him, but when she appears he i s t r a g i c a l l y i n c a p a b l e of r e s p o n d i n g or s e x u a l l y . and  letter  actually  to her, e i t h e r v e r b a l l y  As the day wears on he i s drawn i n c r e a s i n g l y t o P a r i a n  the F a r o l i t o ; when, w i t h the d i s c o v e r y o f the d y i n g peasant, he  i s f a c e d w i t h the human n e c e s s i t y f o r a c t i o n , he i s not even tempted t o p l a y the Good Samaritan.  F i n a l l y he chooses h i s i i s o l a t i o n .  "I  l o v e h e l l , " he t e l l s Hugh and Yvonne; " I can't w a i t to get back t h e r e . " Yet i n f a c t he has no c h o i c e , f o r , l i k e M i l t o n ' s Satan, he has become h i s own  h e l l ; h i s s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n has been c a r r i e d to such an  extent  t h a t h i s e n t i r e s p i r i t u a l energy i s channeled towards h i s own d e s t r u c t i o n . The L a s t Address i s an account of an attempt t o make the r e t u r n , but the attempt f a i l s because the o n l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s which the p r o t a g o n i s t can e n t e r i n t o cannot, by t h e i r n a t u r e , s u r v i v e . hand, B i l l P l a n t a g e n e t , m o t i v a t e d  On the  by h i s k i n s h i p w i t h h i s c o u s i n  other and  -29-  his to  sense of g u i l t towards G a r r y , begins o r i e n t h i m s e l f i n the o u t s i d e  t o a c t ; he i s a b l e once more  world.  I n B a l l a s t to the White Sea e v i d e n t l y reworked and extended the themes of Lunar C a u s t i c .  A, l i k e L a w h i l l and P l a n t a g e n e t ,  i s trapped  i n a c i r c u i t of i n a c t i o n ; he d r i n k s h e a v i l y , i s unable t o r e l a t e i n any  s i g n i f i c a n t way  to o t h e r s , and can o n l y i d e n t i f y w i t h a w r i t e r  who  i s p e r s o n a l l y unknown t o him.  serve t o s t r u c t u r e r e a l i t y f o r him; a t h r e a t t o h i s own  identity.  H i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h X does not i t i s so s t r o n g t h a t i t becomes  Obsessed by the i d e a t h a t he has  in  some sense been w r i t t e n by X, A i s p a r a l y z e d by h i s i n a b i l i t y to f i n d any  source of v a l u e i n the Like Plantagenet,  world.  he i s e v e n t u a l l y a b l e t o break out of h i s  i s o l a t i o n ; a f t e r a p e r i o d of h e s i t a t i o n he u n d e r t a k e s h i s voyage t o the ambiguous White Sea, w i t h the i n t e n t i o n of meeting X.  The  journey  a l s o t u r n s i n t o a p i l g r i m a g e t o the p a s t , f o r A, a f t e r b e i n g p a i d o f f from h i s s h i p , f i n d s h i m s e l f c l o s e t o h i s mother's grave.  I n the  y a r d he meets a g i r l w i t h whom he f a l l s i n l o v e - the s e t t i n g i n d i c a t e s the i d e a of r e b i r t h - and i n d o i n g so he begins contact with others. him  t o X, and  church-  clearly  to r e - e s t a b l i s h  F i n a l l y the s e r i e s of c o i n c i d e n c e s which l e a d  the correspondences between them, suggests some d e s i g n  i n the chaos which man  p e r c e i v e s ; and t h i s e x p e r i e n c e  writer's faith in his creativity.  The  renews each  s e a r c h f o r v a l u e i s over; i t  i s found to l i e not i n the i n d i v i d u a l s e l f , but i n f u l f i l l i n g through i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h o t h e r s .  the  self  -30-  FOOTNOTES:  CHAPTER I  1 P u b l i s h e d i n P a r i s Review 29 ( W i n t e r - S p r i n g 1963), and by Jonathan Cape (London: 1968). References t o the Cape e d i t i o n a r e g i v e n i n parentheses ( ) . 2 Of the c o p i e s h e l d i n the S p e c i a l C o l l e c t i o n s D i v i s i o n o f t h e U.B.C. L i b r a r y , t s s . 1-5 a r e t i t l e d The L a s t A d d r e s s , t s s . 6-8 Swinging the M a e l s t r o m . References t o The L a s t Address a r e from t s . 4; those to S w i n g i n g the M a e l s t r o m a r e from t s . 8: these a r e the most complete t e x t s o f the two v e r s i o n s . The fragmentary t s . 9, t i t l e d Lunar C a u s t i c , may be the uncompleted m e l d i n g which Lowry was w o r k i n g on i n England; the remainder o f t h i s v e r s i o n may be found subsumed i n t s . 10, the i n t e r m e d i a r y m e l d i n g by M a r g e r i e Lowry and E a r l e B i r n e y . 3 See, f o r example, the u n p u b l i s h e d l e t t e r t o Robert G i r o u x , dated January 11, 1952, i n the U.B.C. c o l l e c t i o n . 4 the  The h o s p i t a l i s e v i d e n t l y B e l l e v u e , a l t h o u g h i t i s n o t named i n story. ~*The L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 68. The L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 5. c . f . 7  S w i n g i n g the M a e l s t r o m , p. 20. (p. 13),  T h e L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 2.  8 The L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 4. c . f .  Swinging the M a e l s t r o m , p. 16. (p. 12),  9 The L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 1-2.  (p. 9 ) .  ^ T h e L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 3. L a w h i l l i s q u o t i n g from Rimbaud's " N u i t de l ' E n f e r , " a s e c t i o n o f Une S a i s o n en E n f e r . (p. 1 1 ) . n  T h e L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 20.  (p. 27).  12 The L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 19. 13  The L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 23.  (p. 26).  -3114  The L a s t A d d r e s s , p. 40. (P. 5 2 ) .  c . f . Swinging the Maelstrom, p. 45-6.  15 C l a g g a r t i s the f a l s e a c c u s e r i n B i l l y Budd. The e p i s o d e c l o s e l y p a r a l l e l s Chapter 20 of M e l v i l l e ' s n o v e l : i n each case the i n n o c e n t and honest ( B i l l y Budd, L a w h i l l , and, by e x t e n s i o n , G a r r y ) i s accused by d u p l i c i t y (the two C l a g g a r t s ) ; the i n n o c e n t i s l e f t l i t e r a l l y o r f i g u r a t i v e l y s p e e c h l e s s , and can o n l y e x p r e s s h i m s e l f i n violence. The L a s t A d d r e s s , P. 69. c . f . (p. 65).  Swinging the M a e l s t r o m , p. 54.  17 Ibid. The L a s t A d d r e s s , P. 70. c . f . 65-6). (p. The L a s t A d d r e s s , P. 78. (p. 69-70). 20 21 22  c.f.  Swinging the Maelstrom, P. 54-5  S w i n g i n g the Maelstrom, P. 60.  The L a s t A d d r e s s , P. 86. The L a s t A d d r e s s , P. 90A. The L a s t A d d r e s s , P. 91.  (p. 76).  23 S w i n g i n g the Maelstrom, pp. 9 and 10.  (p. 19),  24 C a l l e d Kalowsky  i n Swinging the Maelstrom.  25 S w i n g i n g the Maelstrom, p. 30.  (p. 3 6 ) .  CHAPTER I I  Lowry based the f i r s t p r o j e c t e d v e r s i o n of The Voyage That Never Ends - the Under the V o l c a n o - L u n a r C a u s t i c - I n B a l l a s t to the White t r i l o g y - l a r g e l y on h i s l i f e b e f o r e h i s second m a r r i a g e . these n o v e l s we his  see a p r o t a g o n i s t trapped  s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n , and  i n h i s own  in The  I n each of  self-consciousness,  t r y i n g , w i t h g r e a t e r or l e s s e r s u c c e s s ,  renew h i m s e l f by i n v o l v i n g h i m s e l f i n o t h e r s .  Sea  to  Yet I f e e l an unsureness  the k i n d of i n v o l v e m e n t which Lowry's p r o t a g o n i s t s work towards. d e s i r e t o become a f a t h e r - f i g u r e t o a r e t a r d e d boy or the d e c i s i o n  to f i g h t i n the S p a n i s h C i v i l War  are w e l l enough as steps  s p i r i t u a l r e i n t e g r a t i o n ; but can we  toward  r e a l l y f i n d a cure f o r a l i e n a t i o n  in  the q u a s i - t e l e o l o g i c a l p a t t e r n which l e a d s A to X?  is  t h a t we c a n n o t , f o r m e t a p h y s i c s can be a t b e s t o n l y a c o r r e l a t i v e  for is  a f e l t experience. to stop being It  The  My  own  o n l y s o l u t i o n t o the problem of  view  isolation  isolated.  seems c e r t a i n t h a t the e x p e r i e n c e  of f o u r y e a r s of almost  u n i n t e r r u p t e d h a p p i n e s s , when, l i v i n g i n D o l l a r t o n w i t h M a r g e r i e Lowry, he worked on Under the V o l c a n o , brought Lowry t o t h i s s o l u t i o n . the l o s s of I n B a l l a s t t o the White Sea and  the c o m p l e t i o n  After  of Under the  V o l c a n o he began t o draw h i s m a t e r i a l from t h i s l a t e r phase of h i s and as a r e s u l t t h e r e i s a s h i f t i n the c o n t e x t , and in  life,  t o some e x t e n t  the n a t u r e , of the problems c o n f r o n t i n g h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s .  I n the  -33e a r l i e r works the hero searches f o r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h those  outside  h i m s e l f , but i n the l a t e r works t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p e x i s t s and complete.  Nevertheless,  is  the p r o t a g o n i s t s ' s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n remains  l a r g e l y unconquered, so t h a t they see-saw between a n e u r o t i c awareness of a l l the t h r e a t s , r e a l and  i m a g i n a r y , from w i t h i n and  from the  o u t s i d e , which i s o l a t e them, and an awareness of themselves as m e n t a l t o the h a p p i n e s s of a l o v e d  instru-  one/  As a r e s u l t of t h i s s h i f t i n emphasis, Lowry's l a t e r works are less spectacular  i n conception  than h i s e a r l i e r ones.  H i s l a t e r heroes  are not c a l l e d on t o meet s p i r i t u a l a n n i h i l a t i o n i n a f l a s h of  light-  n i n g ; n o r , i n g e n e r a l , w i l l a s i n g l e encounter b r i n g them a r e v e l a t i o n . I n s t e a d we  see the d a i l y c o n f l i c t between o p p o s i n g f o r c e s i n a man's  psyche as he t r i e s to a s s i m i l a t e the w o r l d  through h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p  with another. The most i m p o r t a n t of Lowry's l a t e r p r o t a g o n i s t s Wilderness,  the c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r  Is L a i d and La M o r d i d a , and The Voyage That Never Ends.  of Dark As  the Grave Wherein My  Friend  the hero of the l a t e r p r o j e c t e d v e r s i o n s  of  H i s i s theyeye which s e e s , but more  p a r t i c u l a r l y the mind which a s s i m i l a t e s and world.  i s Sigbj^rn  i n t e r p r e t s , the  outside  T h i s i s not t o say t h a t S i g b j ^ r n i s w i t h o u t c h a r a c t e r  (although  he i s what the p u b l i c s c h o o l m a s t e r would c a l l a 'weak' c h a r a c t e r ) ; i t i s r a t h e r t h a t as a r e s u l t of h i s u n u s u a l , even p a r a n o i a c , of the  'otherness'  of the w o r l d  o u t s i d e h i m s e l f , we become l e s s c o n s c i o u s  of him as a p e r s o n a l i t y r e a c t i n g on o t h e r s  than as an i s o l a t e d mind  g r a p p l i n g w i t h i t s f e a r of e v e r y t h i n g which i t does not And  i t understands v e r y  little:  awareness  understand.  Sigbj«<rn i s p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h  the  -34-  d i f f e r e n c e s between h i m s e l f and o t h e r s , and w i t h h i s f a i l u r e t o comprehend o r even t o become v e r y i n t e r e s t e d i n them as p e o p l e ; he i s aware of a m e t a p h y s i c a l f o r c e w h i c h appears t o guide the d i r e c t i o n of h i s l i f e ,  though he can never e l u c i d a t e the p r e c i s e meaning o r  n a t u r e o f t h a t f o r c e ; a n o v e l i s t h i m s e l f , he has moments i n w h i c h he sees h i s own l i f e as b e i n g w r i t t e n , so t h a t he i s no l o n g e r of h i m s e l f . ballet are  i n control  I n an e a r l y passage i n Dark As the Grave he imagines a  i n which a l l the f e a r s t h a t a r e t o dominate h i s Mexican j o u r n e y  personified: There was a dancer, (a) a l p h a f o r a c r o p h o b i a . . . dancer ( b ) , the f e a r of d i s c o v e r y , a j e s t e r . . . there was ( y ) , a g r i n n i n g w i t l e s s mask . . . the f e a r o f d i s e a s e ; and dancer ( z ) , w i t h a mask t h a t wept, the f e a r of l o s i n g P r i m r o s e ; there was the f e a r of P r i m r o s e ' s f e a r . . . and w i t h W i l d e r n e s s ' s own face s t r e a m i n g w i t h b l o o d , the f e a r of h i m s e l f . . . f e a r o f M e x i c o . . . the motor face o f f e a r o f a c c i d e n t s and t r a f f i c , and the f r e n z i e d r o a r i n g f a c e o f f e a r of f i r e whom he c o u l d n o t contemplate f o r a second; and a l l o f them were chased about, h e r d e d , o r d e r e d , and f i n a l l y s e t t o dance t o g e t h e r by a master choreographer . . . who was f e a r o f a u t h o r i t y . One dancer who d i d n o t seem t o be present was the f e a r of death but perhaps he was n o t so much a f e a r as a medium i n which one l i v e d .  Such t a b l e a u x ,  we a r e t o l d , a r e p a r t o f S i g b j ^ r n ' s normal mental  life.  He i s c r u s h e d and a l i e n a t e d by f e a r ; the. n o v e l opens w i t h him s i t t i n g a t the back o f the plane so t h a t he w i l l n o t be seen, and i n h i s  first  c a s u a l encounter w i t h a f e l l o w - p a s s e n g e r he r e v e a l s a p a t h e t i c need t o g i v e an account o f h i m s e l f , and so, i n some sense, t o j u s t i f y h i s presence, j;A g a i n s t SigbjjSrn's i s o l a t i o n represents  stands h i s w i f e , P r i m r o s e .  She  the l i f e - f o r c e , and the impulse toward l i f e w i t h i n Sigbjc^rn  -35-  is  s i g n a l i z e d by h i s l o v e f o r h e r .  With an enormous c a p a c i t y f o r  e x p e r i e n c i n g the w o r l d o u t s i d e h e r s e l f , she c o n s t a n t l y t r i e s t o l i v e i n e v e r y s i t u a t i o n t o the f u l l . . While she t o o i s v u l n e r a b l e t o the t h i n g s which t h r e a t e n S i g b j ^ r n , and i s , l i k e him, c a p a b l e of d e s p a i r , she seldom withdraws  i n t o h e r s e l f ; u n l i k e h e r husband, she p r e f e r s t o  e x p r e s s even h e r d e s p a i r i n a c t i o n .  To S i g b j ^ r n she r e p r e s e n t s n o t  o n l y l i f e and l o v e , b u t a l s o a k i n d of s e c u r i t y .  They make up a community  w i t h i n which each i s s a f e ; they a r e p r e t e r n a t u r a l l y s e n s i t i v e t o the f l u x o f each o t h e r ' s t h o u g h t s , and have developed a p r i v a t e  symbolism  which s e r v e s t o emphasize t h e i r awareness, u n d e r s t a n d i n g , and t r u s t of  each o t h e r .  Y e t even a t the b e g i n n i n g o f Dark As the Grave t h e i r  m a r r i a g e i s i n some danger o f b r e a k i n g up; they have l o s t t h e i r home and much o f t h e i r work i n a f i r e , and the e f f o r t t o r e b u i l d , t o r e e s t a b l i s h t h e i r l i v e s , has proven t o o much f o r them.  A f t e r the f i r e  S i g b j ^ r n had begun t o d r i n k a g a i n , and now, a f t e r a p e r i o d o f a b s t i n e n c e , he i s once more s t a r t i n g t o d r i n k ; t h i s r e p r e s e n t s a d e l i b e r a t e to  i s o l a t e h i m s e l f from the o u t s i d e w o r l d , and, n e c e s s a r i l y ,  attempt  from  Primrose t o o . As they l e a v e Canada f o r Mexico they have reached a s t a t e i n which "they.had n o t l e t go, a l t o g e t h e r , b u t they had f a l l e n . . . t h e i r m a r r i a g e , and t h e i r l i f e even, was i n danger, and he knew i t , and 3  was d o i n g n o t h i n g about i t . " In  r e t u r n i n g t o Mexico, S i g b j ^ r n i s r e t u r n i n g t o h i s personal h e l l ,  a h e l l which he had escaped  from e i g h t y e a r s e a r l i e r and which he  b e l i e v e s he has t r a n s c e n d e d i n w r i t i n g The V a l l e y o f t h e Shadow o f Death (which i s the t i t l e  used i n the n o v e l f o r Under the V o l c a n o ) , a n o v e l  which he had based on h i s e x p e r i e n c e s i n t h a t c o u n t r y .  For Sigbjorn,  -36-  as f o r G e o f f r e y F i r m i n , Mexico means i s o l a t i o n - the agony o f the s e p a r a t i o n from h i s f i r s t w i f e , the n i g h t s and mornings spent d r i n k i n g i n the F a r o l i t o .  Nevertheless,  he remembers two companions from h i s 4  e a r l i e r stay i n Mexico:  John S t a n f o r d ,  who f o r S i g b j ^ r n i s an e v i l  a n g e l , a f i g u r e c l o s e l y l i n k e d w i t h the w o r s t memories; and Juan Fernando M a r t i n e z , a f e l l o w d r u n k a r d , but Sigbj«5rn's and good a n g e l . Martinez  The j o u r n e y  blood-brother'  t o Mexico i s o s t e n s i b l y u n d e r t a k e n t o meet  a g a i n , b u t as the n o v e l progresses  we see t h a t S i g b j ^ r n i s  d r i v e n t o f i n d him by a f a r deeper s p i r i t u a l n e c e s s i t y than t h a t suggested by a meeting o f o l d f r i e n d s : I t was l i k e a s t a t i o n o f the c r o s s , i n the u n f i n i s h e d oberammergau o f h i s l i f e , shadowy u n d e r s t u d y even i n t h a t , i t was much as i f he'd l e f t h i s c r o s s h e r e , w h i l e he went o f f and g o t drunk on P i l s e n e r one n i g h t and then done something e l s e , , and had f o r g o t t e n the p a r t he was p l a y i n g : and now he'd had t o come back here t o p i c k i t up a g a i n and f i n i s h whatever i t was he had begun. Or was i t he had l e f t h i s c r o s s i n Oaxaca c/o Fernando M a r t i n e z , t o be l e f t t i l l c a l l e d for.-^ Yet however much P r i m r o s e wants him t o l a y the o l d g h o s t s , and however much he wants t o b e l i e v e t h a t he i s i n Mexico t o complete h i s v i c t o r y over the p a s t , so t h a t he can say "there i s no dross  o f even the  w o r s t o f those h o u r s , n o t a drop o f m e s c a l t h a t I have n o t t u r n e d i n t o pure g o l d , not a d r i n k I have n o t made s i n g , " "he had used t r e a c h e r o u s and by w a l k i n g  the f e e l i n g  that  f o r c e s t o b r i n g about h i s conquest . . .  s t r a i g h t i n t o the past l i k e t h i s , i t was a s k i n g f o r them  t o have t h e i r revenge"^ predominates.  F o r as a n o t h e r f r i e n d ,  t e l l s him, "You a r e p o s s e s s e d , by Sigbjc^rn W i l d e r n e s s . g Sigbjc^rn i s possessed by W i l d e r n e s s . "  Hippolyte,  That i s t o s a y ,  Not o n l y i s he l o c k e d i n h i s  own mind, and so a l s o i n h i s own p a s t , b u t t h i s mind i t s e l f i s a waste  -37l a n d which demands r e g e n e r a t i o n . D u r i n g the l o n g p e r i o d i n Cuernavaca w h i l e S i g b j ^ r n w a i t s t o hear from h i s p u b l i s h e r s , and l a t e r when he i s w r i t i n g h i s l e t t e r t o them, he becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y e s t r a n g e d  from P r i m r o s e .  He i s a b l e from time  t o time t o rouse h i m s e l f s u f f i c i e n t l y t o take h e r t o see some o f the neighbouring obsessive^  v i l l a g e s , b u t h i s c o m p u l s i o n t o d r i n k g r a d u a l l y becomes Primrose's  w e l l - m e a n i n g attempts t o save him from a l c o h o l i s m  by r a t i o n i n g h i s consumption and r e s t r i c t i n g h i s d r i n k i n g - h o u r s serve t o e x c i t e h i s resentment, and so make m a t t e r s worse.  only  S i g b j ^ r n comes  t o r e c o g n i z e h i s growing i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h h i s own c r e a t i o n , the Consul of The V a l l e y o f the Shadow o f Death - which i s , i n e f f e c t , an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h h i s past s e l f - s o . t h a t , w h i l e h i s w i f e i s b r a v e l y , o r perhaps n a i v e l y , t r y i n g t o e n j o y h e r h o l i d a y , and makes an adventure out o f f e t c h i n g c h a r c o a l f o r t h e i r stove and e x p e r i m e n t i n g  w i t h Mexican  c o o k e r y , he becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y immobile and s e l f - a b s o r b e d : . . . w h i l e Primrose was b e i n g renewed a g a i n , S i g b j ^ r n seemed t o see n o t h i n g , l o v e n o t h i n g , swayed away from h e r i n t o some anguish o f the p a s t , i n t o some agony o f s e l f c h a i n e d by f e a r , wrapped i n the t e n t a c l e s o f the p a s t , l i k e some Laocoon . . . ^ S i g b j ^ r n ' s C o n s u l , i n L a r u e l l e ' s tower, was g i v e n the c h o i c e between l i f e and d e a t h , and chose death; h i s c r e a t o r , l i v i n g i n the same p l a c e , f i n d s h i m s e l f w i t h t h e same c h o i c e t o make.  I n f a c t , he g r a d u a l l y  r e a l i z e s t h a t h i s d e s i r e t o r e t u r n t o M e x i c o was an e x p r e s s i o n o f a d e a t h - w i s h , as the ghost o f a s u i c i d e might r e t u r n t o the p l a c e where he had d i e d "out o f sheer n o s t a l g i a t o d r i n k the a g a i n t h a t had nerved him t o do i t , and wonder perhaps t h a t he had ever had the courage. Sigbj«Srn's danger, l i k e the Consul's i s t h a t he might f i n d t h a t he p r e f e r s h e l l t o p a r a d i s e , the monumental, even h e r o i c a n g u i s h o f the  -38-  drunkard t o the q u i e t happiness of d o m e s t i c i t y :  " i t was the m i s e r y  of remorse, i t was the memory o f t h a t o l d c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f f a t a l i t y t h a t he wished t o r e v i v e , the s t i m u l u s o f t h e o l d wine o f complete d e s p a i r whose c o l d i n t e r n a l glow he s o u g h t .  1 , 1 1  So f a r from r e t u r n i n g  t o Mexico t o c o n f i r m a v i c t o r y over t h e p a s t , he has a c t u a l l y gone back to attempt t o renew and complete a d e f e a t . s u c c e s s f u l ; a l i e n a t e d from P r i m r o s e ,  This attempt i s almost  d r i n k i n g more h e a v i l y than e v e r ,  and u t t e r l y : " d e j e c t e d by the c o n d i t i o n a l r e j e c t i o n o f h i s n o v e l , he half-heartedly t r i e s to slash h i s w r i s t . W i t h o u r growing awareness o f the s t r e n g t h of Sigbjc^rn's deathw i s h , t h e two c h a r a c t e r s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h M e x i c o , S t a n f o r d and M a r t i n e z , assume a deeper s i g n i f i c a n c e . recognizes  the a m b i g u i t y  Before  l e a v i n g Cuernavaca, S i g b j ^ r n  o f h i s d e s i r e t o meet M a r t i n e z  he asks h i m s e l f , "had he used Fernando M a r t i n e z for going  to Mexico?  mean t o him,  again.  "Why",  as a k i n d o f excuse  What d i d h i s f r i e n d - h i s ' c h a r a c t e r ' Dr. V i g i l -  but a n o s t a l g i a f o r d e l i r i u m ?  Or o b l i v i o n .  m e e t i n g w i t h him a n o t h e r e x c u s e , even such as 'The C o n s u l  And h i s 1  liked to  12 find, for 'celebration'?" Oaxaca i s S t a n f o r d .  The man whom he does meet, however, i n  Throughout the n o v e l S i g b j ^ r n has been a f r a i d o f  him; he i s a mnemonic o f a l l the h o r r o r S i g b j ^ r n had s u f f e r e d and had  t r i e d t o transcend,  and i n t o which he i s once a g a i n f a l l i n g .  Yet  i r o n i c a l l y S t a n f o r d o f f e r s no r e a l t h r e a t ; he i s an u n i m p r e s s i v e f e l l o w , c h a r a c t e r i z e d o n l y by l e c h e r y and a r a t h e r u n c e r t a i n bonhomie. past h o l d s no t e r r o r s f o r him,  The  and he and S i g b j ^ r n r e m i n i s c e about the  o l d times w i t h t h e k i n d o f h a l f - h e a r t e d gusto which people use t o evoke n o s t a l g i a f o r a past f o r which they were u n e n t h u s i a s t i c even when i t was  -39present.  S t a n f o r d r e p r e s e n t s , i n one sense, the impotence o f what  might be c a l l e d the o b j e c t i v e p a s t , the past as i t i s p h y s i c a l l y manif e s t e d i n the p r e s e n t , as d i s t i n c t from the s u b j e c t i v e d i s t o r t i o n s of memory; y e t a t the same time the meeting w i t h h i m l e a d s S i g b j ^ r n t o h i s f u l l e s t i n s i g h t i n t o h i s own r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s p a s t . r e a l i z e s t h a t Fernando was "merely  He  the b r i g h t s i d e o f the same medal:  but t h a t medal had e q u a l l y been f o r g e d i n . h e l l . . . the two men /Fernando and S t a n f o r d ^ were l i n k e d t o g e t h e r w i t h i n v i s i b l e bonds, 13 save t h a t one was good, the o t h e r e v i l . "  Fernando, l i k e S t a n f o r d ,  and l i k e Mexico i t s e l f , o p e r a t e s , i n the c o n t e x t o f the s t r u g g l e between l i f e - f o r c e and death-wish w i t h i n S i g b j ^ r n ' s psyche, on the s i d e o f death.  I n e x c a v a t i n g the M e x i c a n tomb, and i n f i n d i n g the p e t r i f i e d  head, they had s y m b o l i c a l l y plumbed t o g e t h e r the depths o f h e l l ; i n t h i s sense Fernando i s S i g b j ^ r n ' s ' b l o o d - b r o t h e r ' .  But S i g b j ^ r n now  has t o overcome h e l l , and so the memory o f Fernando has t o be  transcended.  Given t h i s , Fernando's death c a n be seen n o t as an a r b i t r a r y e v e n t , b u t as a n e c e s s a r y e x t e n s i o n o f h i s s y m b o l i c meaning, f o r h i s l i f e and death presuppose a commitment t o a g r e a t e r w o r l d than t h a t o f the i n d i v i d u a l psyche; h i s i s a death which i m p l i e s a r e b i r t h .  When,  a f t e r l e a r n i n g o f h i s death, Sigbj«Srn and Primrose v i s i t the house where he had l i v e d , they f i n d t h a t i t i s now a f l o w e r i n g garden; s i m i l a r l y , as a r e s u l t o f h i s work f o r the bank, the s u r r o u n d i n g v a l l e y , which had f o r m e r l y been i m p o v e r i s h e d , has become f e r t i l e and prosperous. Thus h i s death c a r r i e s w i t h i t the promise o f u n i v e r s a l r e b i r t h ; he i s , as the r e f e r e n c e s t o P a r s i f a l suggest, the C h r i s t - f i g u r e who renews the e a r t h .  But f o r S i g b j ^ r n , whose i n c r e a s i n g i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the  -40Consul has been c a r r y i n g him towards death, s i g n i f i c a n c e i n h i s f r i e n d ' s death.  t h e r e i s a more s p e c i f i c  When he d i s c o v e r s t h a t Fernando  has d i e d the C o n s u l ' s d e a t h , he r e a l i z e s t h a t the Mexican d i e d , i n some sense, i n h i s p l a c e , and i n so d o i n g has l i b e r a t e d S i g b j ^ r n a t once from the C o n s u l , self-destruction.  from h i s past i n M e x i c o , and from h i s impending  J u s t as he i s a k i n d of C h r i s t f o r the w o r l d ,  Fernando i s the P a r s i f a l who h e a l s Amfortas-Sigbjc^rn W i l d e r n e s s , the Fisher King. Sigbjc^rn's h e a l i n g i s marked by h i s r e b i r t h i n t o f a i t h .  Throughout  the n o v e l he has been obsessed by the c o i n c i d e n c e s which appear t o dominate h i s l i f e ,  f i n d i n g i n them e v i d e n c e o f "the p a s s i o n f o r o r d e r  a t the r o o t o f a l l t h i n g s ; " but a l t h o u g h he sometimes f e e l s h i m s e l f s i n g l e d out by God t o e l u c i d a t e the Law o f S e r i e s , he i s never a b l e t o bring h i s thinking to a conclusion.  I n a note on Sigbjc^rn, Lowry s a y s :  h i s l i f e i s f u l l of m y s t e r i o u s and t e r r i f y i n g e v e n t s , from which he c o u l d deduce, i f anyone c o u l d , the e x i s t e n c e o f the s u p e r n a t u r a l : o f God: h i s t a l e c o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d as a k i n d o f quest i n s e a r c h , l e s s o f a meaning i n h i s l i f e , but of a s u f f i c i e n t greatness of soul to accept u n f l i n c h i n g l y the e x i s t e n c e o f a meaning and the knowledge t h a t he w i l l never know p r e c i s e l y what i t i s . 1 4 Sigbjc^rn g r a d u a l l y a c q u i r e s t h i s to  'greatness  deduce a r a t i o n a l metaphysic o r o n t o l o g y  of s o u l ' .  He i s never a b l e  from h i s l i f e , but as he  overcomes h i s s u c c e s s i v e c r i s e s - the r e j e c t i o n o f h i s n o v e l , h i s attempted s u i c i d e , the meeting w i t h S t a n f o r d , and the d i s c o v e r y o f Fernando's death - he and Primrose of f a i t h , o f a c c e p t a n c e .  a r e drawn i n c r e a s i n g l y t o an a c t  T h e i r t r u s t i n the S a i n t o f Desperate and  Dangerous Causes grows u n t i l , a f t e r l e a r n i n g of h i s f r i e n d ' s death, S i g b j ^ r n f i n d s h i m s e l f a b l e t o pray n o t o n l y f o r those he l o v e s , b u t  -41-  a l s o f o r humanity i n g e n e r a l , and f i n a l l y f o r S t a n f o r d .  By the end  of Dark As the Grave he i s no l o n g e r e x c l u s i v e l y p r e o c c u p i e d  w i t h him-  s e l f , n o r does he see the o u t s i d e w o r l d as o n l y t h r e a t e n i n g ; he i s beginning  t o accept h i m s e l f as p a r t o f the u n i v e r s e , p a r t o f a p a t t e r n ,  and h i s i m p l i c i t f o r g i v e n e s s o f S t a n f o r d i s symptomatic o f h i s renewed a b i l i t y t o o b j e c t i f y the p a s t , and t o r e g a r d those o u t s i d e h i m s e l f w i t h compassion. But a l t h o u g h  the W i l d e r n e s s e s  have succeeded i n d e f e a t i n g the f o r c e s  that threatened  S i g b j d r n from w i t h i n , and as a r e s u l t have annealed  t h e i r marriage,  the w o r k i n g - o u t o f the d e s t r u c t i v e elements i m p l i c i t  i n M e x i c o and i n Sigbj«$rn's past i s o n l y h a l f - c o m p l e t e ; and s o , conseq u e n t l y , i s t h e process  of rebirth.  I n Dark As the Grave i t i s the  s y m b o l i c , p s y c h i c meaning o f Mexico which t h r e a t e n s t o t r i g g e r the s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e f o r c e s w i t h i n S i g b j ^ r n h i m s e l f ; i n La M o r d i d a , Mexico and the p a s t , i n t h e shape o f an u n p a i d take on a t a n g i b l e r e a l i t y .  f i n e and the M e x i c a n a u t h o r i t i e s ,  U n f o r t u n a t e l y the t y p e s c r i p t o f La Mordida  i s i n even more c h a o t i c a s t a t e than t h a t o f Dark As the Grave, so t h a t i t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o i n t e r p r e t Lowry's i n t e n t i o n s p r e c i s e l y , b u t the g e n e r a l shape o f the n o v e l i s f a i r l y c l e a r .  The W i l d e r n e s s e s ,  w h i l e c o n t i n u i n g t o r e n t t h e i r apartment i n Cuernavaca, t r a v e l t o Acapulco.  T h i s , the scene o f some o f S i g b j ^ r n ' s most t e r r i b l e memories,  r e p r e s e n t s the f a r t h e s t e x t e n s i o n o f the s p i r i t u a l n e c e s s i t y which i s d r i v i n g him South, away from h i s home i n Canada, and i n t o h i s p a s t ; but w h i l e i n t h i s n o v e l there i s some o v e r l a y o f t h e past on the p r e s e n t , the dominant theme i s t o be the r e a l t h r e a t from the o u t s i d e . A f t e r a few days i n w h i c h the mood o f the c l o s e o f Dark As the Grave  -42i s m a i n t a i n e d , and i n which S i g b j ^ r n demonstrates  how t h o r o u g h l y he  has overcome the d e s t r u c t i v e f o r c e s w i t h i n h i m s e l f , the i n v e s t i g a t i o n by the i m m i g r a t i o n a u t h o r i t i e s s e t s i n m o t i o n a complex c h a i n o f events i n which the s p i r i t u a l ground which the W i l d e r n e s s e s had won i s l o s t a g a i n , and which o n l y ends, a f t e r some p h y s i c a l danger,  i n their  leaving  Mexico. P r e v e n t e d from l e a v i n g A c a p u l c o , t h r e a t e n e d w i t h d e p o r t a t i o n and the consequent  l o s s o f P r i m r o s e , and unable t o h e l p h i m s e l f except by  t r y i n g t o p l e a d h i s case b e f o r e l a x and c o r r u p t o f f i c i a l s who w i l l do n o t h i n g u n t i l they g e t t h e i r b r i b e - l a mordida more s t a r t s t o d r i n k h e a v i l y .  - S i g b j ^ r n once  The r e l a t i o n s h i p between husband and  w i f e begins a g a i n t o d e t e r i o r a t e as they argue b i t t e r l y and f r e q u e n t l y . T h e i r l o w e s t p o i n t i s reached when the t h r e a t o f s e p a r a t i o n becomes r e a l ; s i n c e S i g b j ^ r n i s unable t o l e a v e A c a p u l c o , Primrose h a s , a t s h o r t n o t i c e , t o make a l o n g and p o s s i b l y , dangerous j o u r n e y t o Cuernavaca and Mexico C i t y by n i g h t i n a s e c o n d - c l a s s bus.  Sigbjs^rn can o n l y d r i n k  and a w a i t h e r r e t u r n ; when she gets back, t i r e d and r e s e n t f u l , t o f i n d him drunk, she g i v e s f u l l e x p r e s s i o n t o h e r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h him and w i t h t h e i r m a r r i a g e .  A f t e r t h i s , a l t h o u g h the c o u p l e c o n t i n u e  t o d r i n k h e a v i l y and t o argue f r e q u e n t l y , and a l t h o u g h they a r e s t i l l t r e a t e d w i t h g r e a t c r u e l t y by the M e x i c a n a u t h o r i t i e s (who, perhaps, r e p r e s e n t the b r u t a l i t y and d e g r a d a t i o n o f the c i v i l i z a t i o n which man has c r e a t e d f o r h i m s e l f , and which the W i l d e r n e s s e s cannot l i v e i n ) , they a r e f u n d a m e n t a l l y u n i t e d a g a i n s t a common enemy even w h i l e b e i n g i n a more s i g n i f i c a n t sense i s o l a t e d from each o t h e r .  The t h r e a t t h a t  they might be s e p a r a t e d no l o n g e r comes from d i s a f f e c t i o n w i t h i n the  -43-  m a r r i a g e , b u t from the m a c h i n a t i o n s o f the a u t h o r i t i e s ; n e v e r t h e l e s s , as l o n g as they a r e i n the shadow o f the i m m i g r a t i o n o f f i c i a l s , the c o u p l e have no p r o s p e c t o f f i n d i n g happiness i n each o t h e r . But t h i s n o v e l t o o , by t o r t u o u s ways, l e a d s t o r e b i r t h .  The  W i l d e r n e s s e s a r e f i n a l l y d e p o r t e d from Mexico; and a l t h o u g h Sigbj{5rn, s a f e i n Texas, r e g r e t s h i s permanent e x i l e from t h a t c o u n t r y , t h i s r e g r e t i s merely the l i n g e r i n g r e s i d u e o f h i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e i m p u l s e .  In  c r o s s i n g the b o r d e r i n t o a new l a n d he has l e f t b e h i n d h i s p a s t and the d e s i r e f o r death which had drawn him South; i n shedding h i s p a s t he sheds the o l d s e l f which had been p a r a l y z e d and a l i e n a t e d by i t , and so i s r e b o r n .  I n a f i n e l o n g c l o s i n g passage S i g b j ^ r n sums up what  had happened t o them i n M e x i c o , and the hope which he f i n d s i n the whole e x p e r i e n c e : i t was n o t f o r b i d d e n him t o hope she Zj?rimrose7 had found some g r e a t e r f a i t h i n the meaning o f l i f e , i n i t s d e p t h , i t s t e r r o r . Nor t o hope t h a t what had d i e d was h i m s e l f , and what came about through these c o n f u s i o n s these o s c i l l a t i o n s , these misunders t a n d i n g s , and l i e s and d i s a s t e r s these weavings to and f r o , these t r e a c h e r i e s , these p r o j e c t i o n s of the p a s t upon the p r e s e n t , of the i m a g i n a t i o n s upon r e a l i t y , t h a t out o f these d i s l o c a t i o n s o f t i m e , these c o n f i g u r a t i o n s o f u n r e a l i t y , and the c o l l a p s e of w i l l , out of these a l l b u t incommunicable a g o n i e s , as o f the mind and h e a r t s t r e t c h e d and a t t e n u a t e d beyond endurance on an e t e r n a l r a c k , out o f a r r a n t cowardice b e f o r e l i t t l e danger, and b r a v e r y i n the f a c e o f what seemed s l i g h t t o overcome, and h e a r t break, and l o n g i n g , had been b o r n , d a r k l y and tremulous, a s o u l . Suddenly a v i s i o n o f a b s o l u t e j o y s e i z e d him. They would r e t u r n and f i n i s h the house . . . But a dark s w e l l seemed t o overwhelm t h i s dream, i t was the t i d e r i s i n g i n A c a p u l c o , i t r o s e ever h i g h e r and h i g h e r , e n g u l f i n g the beach, the dark f l o o d r i s i n g and r i s i n g : and y e t , l o c k e d i n each o t h e r s arms i t was as i f t h e i r s o u l s were b e i n g borne or l u l l e d l i k e c h i l d r e n over t h i s f l o o d i n t o  -44an ocean peace; a l i m i t l e s s p e a c e f u l m o o n l i t s w e l l r u n n i n g t o the h o r i z o n , behind which r o s e s l o w l y , t i l t e d , as though h e l d up by an i n v i s i b l e a c o l y t e ' s or p r i e s t ' s arm, t o ward o f f e v i l , the s i l v e r , the c r o s s . ^ The  process of r e g e n e r a t i o n has now  been completed.  I n a note  a t the end of the n o v e l , Lowry t e l l s h i m s e l f "end w i t h v i s i o n of l i t t l e house, the hammering, i n s p r i n g , "  and  sense of c r e a t i o n t o o , as an a r t i s t or poet.  "reborn  their  into a spring  A l s o get the  t h a t have sprung up i n t h e i r garden i n t h e i r absence."  flowers These f l o w e r s ,  a s s o c i a t e d w i t h those t h a t blossom a t the end of P a r s i f a l , are a  link  back t o the f l o w e r i n g garden where Fernando's house had been, and  to  18 the V a l l e y of E t l a which he had brought t o f r u i t i o n . t i v e process which he  symbolized  become a c t u a l i n the W i l d e r n e s s '  The  regenera-  a t the c l o s e of Dark As the Grave own  lives:  the t i d e of S i g b j ^ r n ' s  past r i s i n g a t A c a p u l c o i s no l o n g e r t h r e a t e n i n g ; the Southern symbol of f a i t h and o f a c c e p t a n c e , f o r which P r i m r o s e has u n a v a i l i n g l y throughout her seen; and  has  Cross,  searched  s t a y i n Mexico i s , i n the c l o s i n g v i s i o n ,  the c o u p l e , u n i t e d a g a i n , can r e b u i l d the house whose d e s t r u c -  t i o n marked the b e g i n n i n g  of t h e i r estrangement.  So f a r I have o n l y touched on what might be c a l l e d Sigbjc^rn's metaphysical  a l i e n a t i o n , which u n d e r l i e s the main themes of Dark As  .the Grave and La M o r d i d a , and r e c e i v e s i t s c l e a r e s t e x p r e s s i o n "Through the Panama .'. 1  in  A l t h o u g h Sigbjc^rn's g r a v e , i f r a t h e r a b s u r d ,  s c h i z o p h r e n i c s t a t e f i t s i n t o the p a t t e r n of Hear Us 0 L o r d From Heaven Thy we  D w e l l i n g P l a c e as a whole, and must be d i s c u s s e d i n t h a t  context,  can b e s t f o l l o w i t s development through the two M e x i c a n n o v e l s  -45and  i n t o "Through the Panama" i t s e l f . I n these n o v e l s  S i g b j ^ r n i s a w r i t e r who,  h a v i n g completed  The  V a l l e y of the Shadow of Death-Under the V o l c a n o , i s t o y i n g w i t h  the  p o s s i b i l i t y of w r i t i n g a n o v e l about h i s own the e v e n t s w h i c h p r o v i d e d  Everyman who, his  first,  Two  chaotic experience,  struggle  l i n e s of r e a s o n i n g  t h a t the n o v e l i s t i s a k i n d of  i n being  transcending  the m a t e r i a l f o r h i s work, about h i s  t o subdue, and make u s e t o f , h i s p a s t . this idea:  e x p e r i e n c e of  justify  twentieth-century  f a c e d w i t h the problem of imposing o r d e r has  on  t o work through a p e r p l e x i t y which i s  u n i v e r s a l ( i n t h i s c o n t e x t we  are reminded of Ortega's image, used 19  by Lowry i n a l e t t e r t o A l b e r t E r s k i n e n o v e l i s t as h i s p r o t a g o n i s t , of man his  l i f e as he goes a l o n g ) ; and  d e f e n d i n g h i s c h o i c e of a  h i m s e l f as a n o v e l i s t making up  second, t h a t the p r o c e s s of  artistic  c r e a t i o n i s a paradigm f o r a l l c r e a t i o n , so t h a t the n o v e l i s t , i n c h r o n i c l i n g the processes a t work w i t h i n h i m s e l f , can t e l l us about the f o r c e s which a c t on mankind as a whole.  God  h i m s e l f i s , to  S i g b j ^ r n , the p r o t o t y p i c a l n o v e l i s t , and as he r e f l e c t s on h i s and h i s e f f o r t s t o t r a n s f o r m  something  life  i t i n t o a r t , he makes the p a r a l l e l between  the two c r e a t i v e f o r c e s : I t was as i f indeed he were moving i n the m i d s t of h i s own c r e a t i o n , and even Zxf7 t h a t c r e a t i o n were a f a i l u r e , the s e n s a t i o n was almost godl i k e . For d i d n o t , c o n c e i v a b l y , god £sie7 hims e l f move w i t h i n h i s own c r e a t i o n i n j u s t such a g h o s t l y f a s h i o n , and how should we see him, when we d i m l y sense t h a t he has the power a t any moment t o c u t us out a l t o g e t h e r from h i s strange dark manuscript? But though Sigbj«5rn can see h i s l i f e as a k i n d of n o v e l - and f a c t we  see him,  in  i n "Through the Panama", p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h t u r n i n g i t  -46i n t o a n o v e l - he l a c k s Ortega's assurance t h a t he i s w r i t i n g i t h i m s e l f . Throughout Dark As t h e Grave and L a M o r d i d a he i s possessed at t e r r i f y i n g moments by the f e e l i n g t h a t he i s a c h a r a c t e r who i s b e i n g w r i t t e n , whose w o r l d  i s being organized  around him,  and who i s b e i n g drawn i n t o  a c i r c l e o f e v e n t s over which he has no c o n t r o l .  The s e r i e s o f c o i n c i -  dences i n Dark As the Grave which throws Sigbj<^rn's l i f e i n t o the p a t t e r n of the n o v e l  t h a t he has h i m s e l f w r i t t e n , l i k e h i s awareness o f the  a e s t h e t i c s t r u c t u r e o f t h e events i n L a M o r d i d a , r e i n f o r c e s h i s f e e l i n g t h a t h i s l i f e i s b e i n g w r i t t e n by h i s 'daemon'. The  t e r r o r w h i c h accompanies t h i s f e e l i n g f o r Sigbjc4rn i s r e l a t e d ,  perhaps, t o the t e r r o r of t h e l o s s o f f r e e w i l l .  This t e r r o r i s i n e v i -  t a b l e i n a mind d i v i d e d a g a i n s t o r a l i e n a t e d from i t s e l f ; we may compare 21 G i n s b e r g ' s " I c a n ' t stand my own mind",  or Nietzche's  disturbing  i n s i g h t t h a t i t i s n o t an ' I , b u t an ' i t ' w i t h i n our minds which 1  22 summons up our i d e a s .  We c a n o f t e n sense t h i s k i n d o f d i s s o c i a t i o n  i n Lowry's work; Sigbj(4rn t e l l s h i m s e l f i n "Through the Panama" t o d i s c u s s the problem o f "the. d o u b l e , t h e t r i p l e , the quadruple ' I ," and  i n h i s n o t e s on "Ghostkeeper" Lowry speaks o f "the human mind or  w i l l o r c o n s c i o u s n e s s o r whatever, o f which the owner knows 24 at a l l , y e t which has a w i l l o f i t s own."  Lowry d e s c r i b e s  nothing this  d i s s o c i a t i o n as i t works i n S i g b j ^ r n i n a note i n the t y p e s c r i p t o f Dark As the Grave: S i g j b f i r n ' s thoughts were u n d i s t i n g u i s h e d , o r d i s t i n g u i s h e d o n l y by b e i n g u n n a t u r a l : had h i s p r o f e s s i o n been o t h e r than i t was they might have made more sense: as i t was they made t o him a k i n d of g i b b e r i n g , h i s r e a c t i o n s t o t h i n g s were so complex or so undone by s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a t sometimes, he thought, they might n o t be said to e x i s t at a l l .  -47-  T h i s k i n d of o b j e c t i v i t y demands t h a t the i n d i v i d u a l p o s t u l a t e an ' I * which i s i n some sense o u t s i d e h i m s e l f ; but t h i s s t e p i n i t s e l f  generates  o t h e r s , and so suggests the e x i s t e n c e o f an i n d e f i n i t e number o f " I ' s " . An i n d i v i d u a l caught i n t h i s s e r i e s may thus come t o see h i m s e l f as the sum o f a p o s s i b l y i n f i n i t e number of modes o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s . P r o p o s i t i o n s of t h i s k i n d cannot be thought through; we can i n t e r p r e t them o n l y as the e x p r e s s i o n o f a p r o f o u n d l y  s c h i z o p h r e n i c awareness  o f the s e l f . But a t the same time S i g b j ^ r n i s , i n a sense, r i g h t ; he i_s a c h a r a c t e r i n a n o v e l , and M a l c o l m Lowry i s the 'daemon' who i s c o n t r o l l i n g his  life.  Again,  the n o v e l t h a t the daemon i s w r i t i n g i s a l s o the n o v e l  t h a t S i g b j ^ r n h i m s e l f , i n p u t t i n g h i s c h a r a c t e r M a r t i n Trumbaugh i n his  own p o s i t i o n , w i l l be w r i t i n g i n "Through the Panama".  The r e s u l t  i s another i n d e f i n i t e l y extended s e r i e s , i n which each c h a r a c t e r i s c o n t r o l l e d by a c r e a t o r above h i m s e l f . At t h i s p o i n t i t becomes i m p o s s i b l e t o d i s t i n g u i s h between the c r e a t o r and the c r e a t e d ; f o r b o t h the n o v e l i s t and the r e a d e r , and c h a r a c t e r become i n t e r c h a n g e a b l e .  The q u e s t i o n r e m a i n s , however,  as t o whether the whole c r e a t i v e process of S i g b j ^ r n W i l d e r n e s s , a f o r c e o u t s i d e him.  author  takes p l a c e w i t h i n the psyche  or whethe r a t some p o i n t the c r e a t o r becomes  I n Dark As the Grave, f o r example, Sigbj«Srn i s  i n c r e a s i n g l y trapped by the s e r i e s of c o i n c i d e n c e s  i n t o r e l i v i n g the  dilemmas o f h i s own p r o t a g o n i s t , i n t o making i n f a c t the d e c i s i o n s which he had once made v i c a r i o u s l y i n c r e a t i n g a c h a r a c t e r .  In this  S i g b j ^ r n h i m s e l f seems t o be i n the process o f b e i n g c r e a t e d ; y e t there i s always the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t he i s i n f a c t imposing  these  -48-  e v e n t s on the w o r l d around him, so t h a t he i s n o t so much b e i n g  driven  i n t o the C o n s u l ' s p o s i t i o n as c h o o s i n g t o become the C o n s u l . I n the c o n t e x t  o f Dark As the Grave t h i s q u e s t i o n i s m e a n i n g f u l ,  and a s t r o n g case can be made, I t h i n k , f o r s a y i n g t h a t discovery  o f some e x t e r n a l f o r c e s h a p i n g h i s l i f e has,  an ' o b j e c t i v e ' v a l i d i t y .  Sigbj^rn's i n that  context,  When, however, the whole s e r i e s i s i m p l i e d ,  as i t i s i n "Through the Panama", the q u e s t i o n becomes m e a n i n g l e s s ; f o r , by the v e r y l o g i c o f the s i t u a t i o n which Lowry has s e t up, the d i s t i n c t i o n between s u b j e c t i v e and o b j e c t i v e c o l l a p s e s . We c a n now b e g i n t o see the v a r i o u s components i n Sigbjc^rn's m u l t i p l e i d e n t i t y , and so o f the many p e r s p e c t i v e s Panama".  An approximate s c h e m a t i z a t i o n  would b e :  i n "Through the  -49The man p o s t u l a t e d as b e i n g above, and c o n t r o l l i n g , the man w i t h the model. In.one sense he c a n be seen as Lowry h i m s e l f ; but once the s e r i e s has been e s t a b l i s h e d we cannot say t h a t any s i n g l e box r e p r e s e n t s the f i n a l r e a l i t y o r the u l t i m a t e c r e a t i v e f o r c e . We c a n , then, imagine the S i g b j ^ r n as commentator i n the m a r g i n g l o s s e s - i m p l y i n g i n i t s e l f an a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h C o l e r i d g e . A p p a r e n t l y u n i n v o l v e d i n the a c t i o n of the j o u r n a l i t s e l f , h i s tone i s ironic. H i s commentary p r o v i d e s h i s t o r i c a l and m e t a p h y s i c a l analogues t o the a c t i o n i t s e l f , and l i n k s him w i t h the Sigbjc^rn W i l d e r n e s s , the man who i s undert a k i n g the voyage. W r i t i n g Dark As The Grave and the body of the j o u r n a l i t s e l f . Attempts t o o b j e c t i f y h i m s e l f i n M a r t i n M a r t i n Trumbaugh, author of The V a l l e y o f the Shadow and the p r o t a g o n i s t of the n o v e l Dark As the  (e)  (d)  (c)  (b)  F i r m i n , the Consul, protago n i s t o f The V a l l e y of the Shadow. A l s o (a) the name o f the r e s e a r c h a s s i s t a n t who k i l l s an a l b a tross.  Grave which Sigbjc^rn i s trying to write. Also ( i ) Homer, and ( i i ) Usher Trumbaugh. He i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h the Ancient Mariner. A l s o ( i ) Chapman, and ( i i ) Poe. b u i l d e r s of the c a n a l . I d e n t i f i e s h i m s e l f w i t h the man who has b e f o r e him a model of the c a n a l , and who can c o n c e i v e o f h i m s e l f as b e i n g i n command o f the whole a c t i o n . A l s o ( i ) K e a t s , and ( i i ) Jean E p s t e i n . daemon w r i t i n g Lowry; more i m p o r t a n t , s i n c e W i l d e r n e s s and Trumbaugh a r e types o f Man h i m s e l f (Joyced, as Lowry n o t e d , i n h i s own p e t a r d ) we c a n imagine the daemons w r i t i n g our own l i v e s Note:  ( i ) and ( i i ) a r e analogues t o the a c t i o n . ( i ) i s c e n t r e d on K e a t s ' sonnet "On F i r s t L o o k i n g I n t o Chapman's Homer"; a l t h o u g h i t i s o n l y i m p l i c i t i n Lowry's work, the themes, imagery and 'Chinese Box' s t r u c t u r e o f each suggests a p a r a l l e l . ( i i ) i s based on Jean E p s t e i n ' s r e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Poe's s t o r y i n h i s f i l m of The F a l l of the House of Usher.  -50-  The journal.  b a s a l p e r s o n a l i t y here i s (c) - S i g b j ^ r n as w r i t e r of Although  h a p p i l y m a r r i e d , he appears d e t a c h e d , and a t  he f e e l s t h a t he has  l o s t h i s l o v e of l i f e .  the times  H i s c r e a t i o n of M a r t i n  Trumbaugh r e p r e s e n t s i n p a r t a d e l i b e r a t e attempt t o see h i m s e l f from the o u t s i d e , and so to c a s t h i s i n n e r thought processes form; as a r e s u l t , i n s t e a d of r e s p o n d i n g  to a s i t u a t i o n d i r e c t l y ,  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y t h i n k s to h i m s e l f "Martin f e l t thought . . . "  into aesthetic  . . ."or  he  "Martin  I n t h i s way M a r t i n o f t e n becomes a s c r e e n which  S i g b j ^ r n uses t o p r o t e c t h i m s e l f from the w o r l d o u t s i d e  him:  the r e d - f a c e d e n g i n e e r came i n , a n g r i l y h e l p e d h i m s e l f , out of the f r i g . , t o 3 g l a s s e s of wine. " H u l l o , Mr. Wilderness'. V ( E a r l i e r i t had been S i g b j ^ r n ) . L a t e r i t seemed M a r t i n h e a r d h i s name b e i n g v i l i f i e d . . . M a r t i n remarked t o the e n g i n e e r : " I I f a i t beau temps"--"But i f t h e r e i s t h i s w i n d , " shouted the e n g i n e e r , "then Mr. W i l d e r n e s s won't be a b l e to go ashore i n Curacao and get h i s w h i s k y ! " What the h e l l . This suggested t o me however to have M a r t i n t h i n k t h a t the s t o r y had now gone r o u n d . ^ T h i s process  i s n o t , however, always d e l i b e r a t e ; M a r t i n , as a  c h a r a c t e r i n "Through the Panama", soon comes t o express t u r m o i l of S i g b j ^ r n h i m s e l f . 'shadow', the impulse  He i s a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of the  t o s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n as i t o p e r a t e s  even when the w r i t e r i s happy, h i s c h a r a c t e r may a b j e c t d e s p a i r , and S i g b j ^ r n ' s shortage M a r t i n , i n t o a case of d . t . ' s .  the i n n e r Jungian  i n Sigbj^rn;  be i n a s t a t e of  of l i q u o r i s t r a n s l a t e d , i n  But t o see M a r t i n as m e r e l y the  negative  element i n S i g b j ^ r n i s an o v e r - s i m p l i f i c a t i o n , f o r he i s a l s o an embodiment o f the d e s i r e f o r p a s s i o n a t e c r e a t o r has  involvement i n the w o r l d which h i s  l o s t , and i t i s through M a r t i n t h a t S i g b j ^ r n i s a b l e t o  -51b e g i n t o understand  h i s own n a t u r e and the f u n c t i o n o f h i s a r t .  Thus  an o p p o s i t i o n i s o f t e n s e t up between the somewhat mundane w r i t e r h i s passionate  and  creation:  M a r t i n woke up weeping, however, never b e f o r e h a v i n g r e a l i z e d t h a t he had such a p a s s i o n f o r the w i n d and s u n r i s e . S i , hombre, t h a t i s t e q u i l a . ( T h i s now seems r i d i c u l o u s to me, h a v i n g r i s e n e a r l y and washed a s h i r t . ) ^ A g a i n s t M a r t i n i s s e t ( d ) , the detached who,  i n the m a r g i n commentary, attempts  a wider context.  and i r o n i c S i g b j ^ r n  t o p l a c e the whole voyage i n  In h i s r e - t e l l i n g o f the h i s t o r y of the c a n a l he  not o n l y r e c o r d s the c o s t of man's e f f o r t s t o reshape h i s environment, but q u e s t i o n s the v a l u e o f the c i v i l i z a t i o n which humanity i s b u i l d i n g for i t s e l f .  I f M a r t i n embodies S i g b j ^ r n ' s d e s i r e t o f e e l ,  the e x p r e s s i o n o f h i s d e s i r e t o u n d e r s t a n d ;  b u t , by the l o g i c o f the  s i t u a t i o n which Lowry has c r e a t e d , u n d e r s t a n d i n g beyond (d) l i e s  (d) i s  cannot come, f o r  ( e ) , and beyond (e) an i n d e f i n i t e s e r i e s .  Thus we  have, i n "Through the Panama", an e x t e n s i o n of the theme of i s o l a t i o n ; we  see i n t o a mind which i s fragmented, and which i s t r a p p e d by  v e r y methods through which i t t r i e s t o o r g a n i z e  experience.  the  -52-  FOOTNOTES:  CHAPTER I I  n.b. A l l p a g e - r e f e r e n c e s t o Dark As the Grave Wherein My F r i e n d I s L a i d a r e t o the t s . h e l d i n the S p e c i a l C o l l e c t i o n s D i v i s i o n of the U.B.C. L i b r a r y ; these a r e f o l l o w e d by the l o c a t i o n s i n the p u b l i s h e d v e r s i o n o f the n o v e l e d i t e d by M a r g e r i e Bonner Lowry and Douglas Day ( T o r o n t o : G e n e r a l P u b l i s h i n g , 1968), g i v e n i n p a r e n t h e s i s ( ) . ''"This s i t u a t i o n i s foreshadowed i n the two s t o r i e s d i s c u s s e d i n the I n t r o d u c t i o n t o t h i s t h e s i s - " H o t e l Room i n C h a r t r e s " and " I n Le Havre". 2  p . 19. (p.13)  3  p . 389 (p.7)  ^The names ' S t a n f o r d ' and ' M a r t i n e z ' a r e those used i n the p u b l i s h e d v e r s i o n of the n o v e l ; i n the t s . Lowry uses the a c t u a l names of the p e o p l e on whom these c h a r a c t e r s were based. The o r i g i n a l of M a r t i n e z was J u a n Fernando Marquez, t h a t of S t a n f o r d was J o h n B o u s f i e l d . Marquez i s a l s o g i v e n the surname A t o n a l z i n i n "Garden o f E t l a " (see n o t e 18 b e l o w ) . 5  p . 141. (p.77-8)  6  p . 467.  7  p . 144. (p.80)  8  p . 295. (p.152)  9  p . 416. (p.165)  1 0  p . 211. (p.77)  1 1  p . 466. (p.210)  1 2  p . 390. (p.3)  1 3  p . 483. (p.221) p. 555.  1 5  L a M o r d i d a ( t s . h e l d i n the U.B.C. c o l l e c t i o n ) , p. 344-6.  •53L a M o r d i d a , p.  352.  "^La M o r d i d a , p.  345.  1 6  18 Fernando Marquez and the V a l l e y of E t l a a r e a l s o the s u b j e c t s of Lowry's essay "Garden of E t l a , " i n U n i t e d N a t i o n s World 4 (June, 1950), pp.45-47. 19 The S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s of Malcolm Lowry, p. 3 2 9 f f . 20 Dark As the Grave, p. 313. 2 1  "America"  (p.141-2).  1.3.  22 N i e t z s c h e , Beyond Good and E v i l ,  1.19.  23 Hear Us 0 Lord From Heaven Thy D w e l l i n g P l a c e (New Y o r k : J.B. L i p p i n c o t t Co., 1961), p. 73. 24 P e r l e E p s t e i n , The P r i v a t e L a b y r i n t h of Malcolm Lowry: "Under the V o l c a n o " and the Cabbala (New Y o r k : 1969), p. 227. 25 Dark As the Grave, p. 559. 26 Hear Us 0 L o r d , p. 67. 2 7  H e a r Us 0 L o r d , p. 41.  CHAPTER I I I  Hear Us 0 L o r d From Heaven Thy D w e l l i n g P l a c e i s a t once a volume of  s t o r i e s and a k i n d o f n o v e l ; a l t h o u g h each component s t o r y can be  r e a d and a n a l y z e d i n d e p e n d e n t l y , t h e i r i n t e n s i t y and r i c h n e s s can o n l y be f u l l y a p p r e c i a t e d by r e g a r d i n g them w i t h i n the c o n t e x t o f the whole work.  The book i s a member o f a genre r e p r e s e n t e d by, among o t h e r works,  Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Hemingway's I n Our Time, a n d F a u l k n e r ' s The Unvanquished and Go Down, Moses, i n each o f which the i n d i v i d u a l s t o r y marks a c r u c i a l p o i n t i n the development o f a l a r g e r p a t t e r n . Hemingway, Anderson, and F a u l k n e r i n The Unvanquished a r e , however, p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h e x p l o r i n g the g r o w t h - p o i n t s i n a p r o t a g o n i s t ' s c o n s c i o u s n e s s ; o n l y Go Down, Moses, w i t h i t s complex s y m b o l i c and m y t h i c a l i n t e r r e l a t i o n between the s t o r i e s which make i t up, can be s a i d t o be c l o s e l y comparable t o Hear Us 0 L o r d . Lowry's s t o r i e s a r e i n t e r r e l a t e d on a number o f l e v e l s . take p l a c e i n the y e a r s 1947-51.  They a l l  They share a u n i t y o f movement:  the f i r s t s t o r y i s s e t , c l e a r l y enough, i n Vancouver; the n e x t i s an a c c o u n t o f a j o u r n e y from Vancouver t o Europe; the next t h r e e a r e s e t i n I t a l y ; and the f i n a l two r e t u r n t o the a r e a around Vancouver^ the same t i m e , the s t a r t i n g - p l a c e i s seldom f o r g o t t e n ; even elsewhere,  At  travelling  the p r o t a g o n i s t s c o n s t a n t l y t h i n k back t o the B u r r a r d I n l e t ,  w i t h i t s s h i p s , s e a b i r d s , and s u r r o u n d i n g mountains, and t o the l i f e they l e a d i n the s q u a t t e r ' s s e t t l e m e n t on i t s shore  ( w i t h the e x c e p t i o n  -55-  o f Cosnahan o f "Elephant i n Nantucket).  and Colosseum", who remembers a s i m i l a r  life  A g a i n , w h i l e the names and n a t i o n a l i t i e s " o f the p r o t a -  g o n i s t s v a r y , they a r e r e c o g n i z a b l y v e r s i o n s o f the same b a s i c f i g u r e the man a t odds w i t h and almost c o m p u l s i v e l y aware o f the w o r l d him, who i s s t r u g g l i n g t o w i n a c o n t e s t w i t h i n himself.''"  outside  The d i f f e r e n c e s  i n the names and n a t i o n a l i t i e s o f the p r o t a g o n i s t s suggest l e s s t h a t they a r e d i f f e r e n t people than t h a t they r e p r e s e n t a k i n d o f Everyman. The main u n i f y i n g element i n Hear Us 0 L o r d i s t o be found, however, i n i t s t o t a l thematic  structure.  i s o l a t e d , and i s c o n s c i o u s  I n each s t o r y the p r o t a g o n i s t i s  of h i s lack of r e l a t i o n to h i s  surroundings;  b e f o r e he can r e - e s t a b l i s h h i m s e l f , he has t o a s s i m i l a t e o r overcome p a r t of h i m s e l f - he has,  f i n a l l y , t o comprehend h i m s e l f v i s - a - v i s  2 h i s t o t a l environment.  I n each case b u t one  the b a t t l e i s , t o some  e x t e n t , won, so t h a t each s t o r y ends w i t h a p a r t i a l r e b i r t h ; and a l t h o u g h no s i n g l e v i c t o r y can be f i n a l , each prepares the ground f o r a f u r t h e r s p i r i t u a l advance.  I n the end the book's m u l t i p l e p r o t a g o n i s t a c t u a l -  i z e s h i s p o t e n t i a l f o r happiness,  but he i s o n l y a b l e t o do so by  u n d e r g o i n g , i n h i s v a r i o u s personae, Lowry's g r e a t c y c l e o f " w i t h d r a w a l and r e t u r n " - the w i t h d r a w a l  i n t o s e l f i n o r d e r , e v e n t u a l l y , t o come  to terms w i t h t h a t which i s o u t s i d e - a n d t h i s i s a voyage which never ends.  As E l i o t s a i d i n a d i f f e r e n t c o n t e x t : There i s o n l y the f i g h t t o r e c o v e r what has been l o s t And found and l o s t a g a i n and a g a i n : and now, under conditions 2 That seem u n p r o p i t i o u s .  4  Lowry c a l l e d h i s book "a s o r t o f n o v e l o f an odd a e o l i a n k i n d . " Regarded as a volume o f s t o r i e s , i t must s t r i k e most r e a d e r s a s , a t b e s t , b r i l l i a n t and i d i o s y n c r a t i c ; i f , however, we l o o k a t i t as a k i n d  -56-  o f n o v e l , i t becomes one of the most profound, r e l e v a n t , and h o p e f u l statements  finally  to have been o f f e r e d t o the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y .  We  are i n c r e a s i n g l y aware of o u r s e l v e s as marooned on a w o r l d which we can d e s t r o y but not comprehend; i t i s t h i s awareness which i n f o r m s Hear Us 0 L o r d .  L i k e Under the V o l c a n o , i t needs t o be r e a d many t i m e s ,  and i t w i l l r e v e a l new meanings on each r e a d i n g . "The  B r a v e s t B o a t " i s a t once the b e g i n n i n g and the end of the  c y c l e o f Hear Us 0 L o r d . departure  The s e t t i n g , Vancouver, i s b o t h a p o i n t o f  ( f o r S i g b j ^ r n W i l d e r n e s s i n the next s t o r y ) and a d e s t i n a t i o n  ( f o r the boat i t s e l f and f o r the m u l t i p l e p r o t a g o n i s t of the the s t o r y takes p l a c e i n 1951 stories  book);  - c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y l a t e r than the o t h e r  i n the book which are a s s i g n e d a s p e c i f i c d a t e .  The s t o r y  s e r v e s much the same purpose i n the c o n t e x t of Hear Us 0 L o r d as the f i r s t c h a p t e r s e r v e s i n Under the V o l c a n o ,  f o r t o come t o the end  the book presupposes a r e t u r n to the c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y l a t e r when the whole s p i r i t u a l j o u r n e y l i e s once a g a i n b e f o r e us.  of  beginning, This  c y c l i c a l s t r u c t u r e u n d e r l i n e s the fundamental theme of Lowry's work t h a t man,  i n u n d e r t a k i n g h i s s e a r c h f o r wholeness, embarks on a voyage  t h a t never ends. To become whole the i n d i v i d u a l must come to terms w i t h h i s t o t a l environment, and i n "The  B r a v e s t Boat" the a m b i g u i t i e s of t h i s e n v i r o n -  ment, the v a r i o u s c o n f l i c t i n g f a c e t s of i t which have t o be a s s i m i l a t e d , are d e f i n e d .  On the one hand i s the m a g n i f i c e n t and i n h o s p i t a b l e  w o r l d o f n a t u r e i t s e l f , r e p r e s e n t e d by the mountains "whose f r e e z i n g summits, massed peak behind s p i r e , j a g g e d l y t r a v e r s e d ' t h e c o u n t r y northward  as f a r as the eye c o u l d r e a c h , b y  the stormy sea, and  by  -57the wind which b u f f e t s the l o v e r s .  Against nature  i s s e t the c i t y ,  dehumanized and s t e r i l e , w i t h i t s beer p a r l o r s " c r a w l i n g w i t h verminous l i g h t even i n m i d - a f t e r n o o n and r e s e m b l i n g p u b l i c l a v a t o r i e s f o r both s e x e s , "  gigantic emerald-lit  i t s opium-dens, and i t s group  of s t a i n l e s s c i t i z e n s t r y i n g a s i x t e e n - y e a r - o l d boy f o r murder.  The  c i t y i s emblematic o f man's c i v i l i z a t i o n ; i t s name suggests i t s s p i r i t u a l o r i g i n , f o r when C a i n b u i l t the f i r s t c i t y he named.it a f t e r h i s s o n , Enoch.  7  E n o c h v i l l e p o r t i s r e c o g n i z a b l y a product  o f the seed o f C a i n .  Between the untamable w o r l d o f n a t u r e and the grotesque h o r r o r o f the c i t y l i e s the park i n w h i c h the s t o r y takes p l a c e .  A refuge 8  for  the s e a b i r d s and f o r those who cannot l i v e i n the c i t y ,  i t i sa  k i n d o f Eden, a p l a c e where man and n a t u r e can be p a r t o f the same e n t i t y , and so a p l a c e where i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r man, even i f o n l y momentarily, to i d e n t i f y himself w i t h h i s surroundings. i s a vantage-point  as w e l l as a s a n c t u a r y ;  And the park  from i t they see n o t o n l y  the mountains and the c i t y , but a l s o the " l o w l y l i t t l e  self-built  shacks and f l o a t h o u s e s " which a r e " n e a r l y the o n l y human d w e l l i n g s visible  . . . t h a t had any a i r o f b e l o n g i n g , o r i n w h i c h t h e i r i n h a b i 9  t a n t s c o u l d be s a i d any l o n g e r t o p a r t i c i p a t e , "  and i t i s w i t h i n o r  near the park t h a t they see the homes "as o f some s t a l w a r t Columbian Adam, who had c a l m l y s t o l e n back w i t h h i s Eve i n t o P a r a d i s e , under the f l a m i n g sword o f the c i v i c cherubim."''"^  These shacks, which a r e  to become, throughout Hear Us 0 L o r d , b o t h the s i t e and symbol o f a p r e c a r i o u s but d e e p l y - r o o t e d  human h a p p i n e s s ,  adumbrate the book's  major theme; t h a t man c a n o n l y complete h i m s e l f by t h o r o u g h l y i n v o l v i n g h i m s e l f i n the w o r l d around him, by becoming an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f a l a n d s c a  -58We see the l o v e r s i n the landscape o f the park; t h e i r  position  i s d e f i n e d both by t h e i m p l i e d comparison w i t h the caged a n i m a l s , and by the i m p l i e d c o n t r a s t w i t h the b i r d s , who " l i k e a l l b i r d s i n these p a r t s may f e e l s u p e r i o r t o man i n t h a t he i s h i s own customs o f f i c i a l , and can c r o s s the w i l d border w i t h o u t l e t . " ' ' '  1  Y e t a l t h o u g h S i g u r d and  A s t r i d a r e t h r e a t e n e d and t r a p p e d both by the elements  o f nature  and the c i t y , they a r e c o m p l e t e l y secure i n the park, j u s t as they are q u i t e s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t w i t h i n t h e i r two-person community.  Like  the park i t s e l f , they b e l o n g n e i t h e r t o n a t u r e ' s a l o o f grandeur nor to the c i t y ; they have a c h i e v e d , however p r e c a r i o u s l y , a s e p a r a t e peace. The d i f f i c u l t i e s and dangers a g a i n s t which t h i s peace and community have been won a r e suggested by the-voyage o f the t o y boat  itself,  which had d r i f t e d f o r twelve y e a r s , t h r e a t e n e d both by n a t u r e ' s  storms  and man's s h i p s , t o a r r i v e o n l y s i x t y m i l e s from i t s s t a r t i n g - p o i n t . S i g u r d t o o , l i k e most o f the p r o t a g o n i s t s i n Hear Us 0 L o r d , has been a s a i l o r ; and i n the next s t o r y , Sigbjc^rn W i l d e r n e s s , u n d e r t a k i n g the book's voyage back t o i t s s t a r t i n g p l a c e , w i l l have t o endure the t e r r o r s o f a tempest a t sea.  The i m p l i c a t i o n i s t h a t the f e l i c i t y  which S i g u r d and A s t r i d have reached can o n l y be a t t a i n e d through a c c e p t i n g , and s u r v i v i n g , the dangers - p h y s i c a l , i n t e l l e c t u a l , u a l - which  the storm and the sea s y m b o l i z e .  spirit-  And t h e r e i s no s u g g e s t i o n  i n the s t o r y t h a t the s t r u g g l e i s o v e r , t h a t the v i c t o r y has been won f o r a l i f e t i m e ; S i g u r d and A s t r i d have had t o face and s u r v i v e many storms, and a t the end we see them b u f f e t e d by the wind and l a s h e d w i t h spray and r a i n ; y e t toward the c l o s e o f the s t o r y comes the promise  o f the r e c u r r e n t r e g e n e r a t i o n o f S p r i n g , i n terms w h i c h , w i t h  -59t h e i r sense o f two s t a t e s or e v e n t s c o - e x i s t i n g a t once i n n a t u r e , take us f o r w a r d t o "The F o r e s t Path t o the S p r i n g : " Nor was i t p o s s i b l e t o grasp f o r more than a moment t h a t a l l t h i s w i t h i t s f e e l i n g o f death and d e s t r u c t i o n and b a r r e n n e s s was o n l y an appearance, t h a t beneath the f l o t s a m , under the v e r y s h e l l s they crunched, w i t h i n the t r i c k l i n g o v e r f l o w s o f w i n t e r - b o u r n e s they jumped o v e r , down at the t i d e m a r g i n , e x i s t e d , j u s t as i n the f o r e s t , a s t i r r i n g and s t r e t c h i n g of l i f e , a s e e t h i n g o f spring. 1 2  W i t h i n "The B r a v e s t Boat" t h e r e a r e o t h e r i n d i c a t i o n s o f the c y c l i c a l p a t t e r n which makes t h e j s t o r y a t once an i n t r o d u c t i o n t o and a summing-up o f Hear Us 0 L o r d as a whole.  S i g u r d ' s g r a n d f a t h e r was  a l i g h t h o u s e k e e p e r , a guide and mark f o r sea-borne v o y a g e r s ; h i s f a t h e r , a f o r e s t warden, was a man who l i v e d i n an i n t e r d e p e n d a n t 13 r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the n a t u r a l w o r l d .  Now, through h i s community  w i t h A s t r i d , S i g u r d h i m s e l f has a c h i e v e d the same k i n d o f i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h h i s environment.  U n l i k e the c i t i z e n s o f E n o c h v i l l e p o r t , he has  a t t a i n e d l o v e and compassion.  And t h a t the c y c l e w i l l c o n t i n u e i s  suggested by the boy and h i s f a t h e r t r y i n g t o s a i l another t o y boat. In  the end we a r e l e f t n o t so much w i t h a sense o f the i n s e c u r i t y  of  the e q u i l i b r i u m which the l o v e r s have found i n a l a r g e l y h o s t i l e  w o r l d , as w i t h a sense o f t h e i r c a p a b i l i t y , a f t e r so much has been overcome, t o c o n t i n u e , e s s e n t i a l l y , t o w i n t h r o u g h , t o s u r v i v e . W i t h "Through the Panama" we move back - back i n time t o 1947, and back t o an e a r l i e r stage of s p i r i t u a l development, of  the voyage i t s e l f .  I have d i s c u s s e d the p s y c h i c a l  the b e g i n n i n g dissociation  which i s generated i n S i g b j ^ r n W i l d e r n e s s by h i s c o n s t a n t need t o o b j e c t i f y h i m s e l f , t o see h i m s e l f from the o u t s i d e .  This process,  -60-  which q u i c k l y becomes h a b i t u a l , even c o m p u l s i v e ,  i s essentially  Sigbjc^rn's e f f o r t to u n d e r s t a n d h i m s e l f , but i t l e a d s a t f i r s t to an i n t e l l e c t u a l  only  fragmentation.  I n t h i s s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n , t h i s e f f o r t t o see h i m s e l f , Sigbjc^rn sees v e r y l i t t l e of the w o r l d o u t s i d e .  T h i s i n a b i l i t y to 'see' i s a  r e c u r r e n t m o t i f throughout Hear Us 0 L o r d ; i n "Strange Comfort," , for  example, we are t o l d t h a t W i l d e r n e s s  the p r o t a g o n i s t of "The to a b l i n d man  who  sees v i r t u a l l y n o t h i n g ,  and  F o r e s t Path t o the S p r i n g " compares h i m s e l f  has r e c o v e r e d h i s s i g h t .  Lowry uses the m o t i f  not  o n l y to suggest the e x t e n t of the p r o t a g o n i s t s ' a l i e n a t i o n , but a l s o to i n d i c a t e t h a t i t i s through i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h o t h e r s t h a t s i g h t i s regained.  I n "Through the Panama" Sigbjc^rn can o n l y see through h i s  w i f e ' s eyes; f o r P r i m r o s e , here as i n the M e x i c a n n o v e l s ,  represents  a p r i n c i p l e of l i f e , of harmony w i t h the u n i v e r s e , which opposes her husband's s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n : and l a t e r , the s t a r s : but now M a r t i n saw the f i x i t y of the c l o s e d o r d e r of t h e i r system: death i n s h o r t . . . . (They are o n l y not dead when I l o o k at them w i t h P r i m r o s e . ) Wonderful t r u t h i n Lawrence about t h i s . "Somehow my l i f e draws (he w r i t e s ) s t r e n g t h from the depths o f the u n i v e r s e , from the depths among the s t a r s , from the g r e a t w o r l d ' " Think Primrose f e e l s something l i k e t h i s . I t i s not t h a t b l i n d n e s s and d i s s o c i a t i o n are endemic i n S i g b j c ^ r n ; he i s l e a v i n g E r i d a n u s , where he has i s now,  l i v e d i n something of the harmony  which Lawrence speaks o f .  He  however, through l e a v i n g "the  o n l y p l a c e on e a r t h he has  l o v e d , " and i n t r y i n g to r e a s s i m i l a t e h i s  past i n order t o transmute i t i n t o a r t , thrown back i n t o h i m s e l f ; he i s , as the m a r g i n commentary c l e a r l y i m p l i e s , a modern A n c i e n t  Mariner,  -61-  haunted by the " i n s a t i a b l e a l b a t r o s s of s e l f , " condemned once more to re-make h i m s e l f . I n k e e p i n g w i t h t h i s r o l e , S i g b j ^ r n i s obsessed by a sense o f homelessness  and a f e a r of death (which i s a l s o , of c o u r s e , i n a n o t h e r  p a r t of h i s m u l t i p l e p e r s o n a l i t y , a d e s i r e f o r d e a t h ) .  He f e e l s the  " i n e n a r r a b l e i n c o n c e i v a b l y d e s o l a t e sense o f h a v i n g no r i g h t t o be where you a r e , " and notes t h a t " T h i s d e s o l a t e sense of a l i e n a t i o n p o s s i b l y u n i v e r s a l sense o f d i s p o s s e s s i o n ; " ^ i n a grotesque dream he imagines t h a t Death g i v e s him f o r t y days to l i v e .  These themes  are  t a k e n up i n v a r i a t i o n s on the ambiguous " F f e r e J a c q u e s " r e f r a i n of  the  ship's engines: P l e a s e go on! Why not die I Sonnez l e s matines . . . Sans maison Sans m a i s o n l 6  Yet t h i s a l i e n a t i o n and d e s i r e f o r death are p r i m a r i l y symptoms of S i g b j ^ r n ' s n e u r o s i s , f o r on board the Diderot^" e f f i c i e n c y , c o u r t e s y , 7  and humanity  prevail.  He r e c o g n i z e s t h i s when he n o t e s of h i s d e a t h -  dream: I t i s h a r d t o b e l i e v e t h a t a d i s g u s t i n g and w i c k e d dream of t h i s n a t u r e has been produced by the s o u l i t s e l f , i n i t s p a s s i o n a t e s u p p l i c a t i o n t o i t s u n s c r u p u l o u s owner to be c l e a n s e d . But i t h a s . 1 8  W i t h i n the c h a o t i c and fragmented w o r l d of SigbjsSrn's mind, o n l y one thing i s stable - h i s love f o r Primrose.  With each o t h e r they a r e  easy and f a m i l i a r , and i t i s o n l y under the s i m u l t a n e o u s t h r e a t of t h e i r s e p a r a t i o n and t h e i r passage through the Panama (which on  one  -62-  l e v e l r e p r e s e n t s a f i n a l break w i t h the p a s t , i n both Canada and M e x i c o ) t h a t the n e c e s s i t y f o r a l c o h o l becomes an The  c a n a l i t s e l f i s a complex and e n i g m a t i c  obsession. symbol.  It is a  l i n k between two oceans, two w o r l d s ; f o r S i g b j ^ r n , as I have suggested, i t r e p r e s e n t s a break w i t h , or even a transcendence o f , the past and  t h i s may  be p a r t of the p o i n t of h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of i t as  "something  l i k e a n o v e l - - i n f a c t j u s t such a n o v e l as I . . . might have w r i t t e n 19 myself,"  f o r h i s n o v e l r e p r e s e n t s an e f f o r t t o a s s i m i l a t e and make  use o f , and t h e r e b y overcome, h i s p a s t . S i g b j ^ r n i s f i n a l l y committing undertaking  A g a i n , i n l e a v i n g the  h i m s e l f to l e a v i n g h i s o l d l i f e  Pacific, and  anew the quest f o r r e b i r t h , and we can see the c a n a l  itself  as a symbol of t h i s r e b i r t h ; i t i s the b i r t h c a n a l through which the c h i l d passes, and (as Primrose is  the e x p e r i e n c e  which l e a d s to the s o u l ' s  regeneration  n o t e s , the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the word ' l o c k ' i s t h a t  one  ' l o c k e d ' i n an e x p e r i e n c e , w h i l e the s t e p - l i k e n a t u r e o f the l o c k s  suggests i n i t s e l f a m y s t i c a l a s c e n t which l e a d s to r e n e w a l ) . all,  Above  I t h i n k , the c a n a l i s a symbol of c o n t r o l - man's e f f o r t s t o c o n t r o l  and re-Miiake h i s environment, S i g b j ^ r n ' s e f f o r t ' s , through h i s n o v e l , to the  c o n t r o l and re-make the c h a o t i c w o r l d of h i s mind (and a l s o , g i v e n 1  C h i n e s e  box'  s t r u c t u r e of the s t o r y , the c o n t r o l o f man  by agents beyond him) And  - and  himself  the c o s t a t which such c o n t r o l i s a c h i e v e d .  a t t h i s l e v e l the c a n a l suggests no way,  no d i r e c t i o n t o be  e i t h e r f o r S i g b j ^ r n , o r , by e x t e n s i o n , f o r man  followed,  h i m s e l f ; a f t e r the  commentary i n which the c o s t o f the c a n a l i n terms of human l i f e  long and  s u f f e r i n g has been v i v i d l y , i f i r o n i c a l l y , d e t a i l e d , Sigbjc^rn i s brought t o ask "QUO  VADIS?" - a q u e s t i o n w h i c h a p p l i e s not o n l y t o  -63-  S i g b j f i r n h i m s e l f as he e n t e r s a new ocean and a new area o f e x p e r i e n c e , but a l s o t o the b u i l d e r s o f the c a n a l and t o man i n t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y civilization. The  process o f r e g e n e r a t i o n , however, b e g i n s s l o w l y and p a i n f u l l y  t o work i n S i g b j j i r n .  As the s h i p c r o s s e s the C a r i b b e a n and e n t e r s the  A t l a n t i c , he t r i e s i n c r e a s i n g l y , through h i s a l t e r ego M a r t i n Trumbaugh, to understand  h i m s e l f and h i s i d e a l s .  F o r a time i t becomes i m p o s s i b l e  to keep t r a c k o f the l e v e l s o f d u p l i c i t y i n S i g b j ^ r n ' s - o r M a r t i n ' s c h a r a c t e r ; even the a p p a r e n t l y honest and d e s t r u c t i v e s e l f - a p p r a i s a l i n i t i a t e d by M a r t i n ' s s c o r n o f the " n o n - c r e a t i v e b u l l y - b o y s and homosapient schoolmasters  of E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e "  i s marked by a t o r t u o u s  self-congratulation: N e u r o s i s , o f one k i n d and a n o t h e r , i s stamped on almost every word he w r i t e s , both n e u r o s i s and a k i n d o f f i e r c e h e a l t h . Perhaps h i s t r a g e d y i s t h a t he i s the one normal w r i t e r l e f t on e a r t h and i t i s t h i s t h a t adds t o h i s . i s o l a t i o n and so t o on  h i s sense o f g u i l t . ^ Though he comes t o an awareness o f the n e c e s s i t y f o r  understanding  and compassion, t h i s awareness i s shot through w i t h i r o n y and a sense of s u p e r i o r i t y .  "One s h o u l d r e a l i z e , " he w r i t e s , " t h a t your Hemingway  has a r i g h t t o shoot w i l d c r e a t u r e s and w h i l e he i s engaged i n t h a t dubiously masculine  o c c u p a t i o n he i s n o t , a t l e a s t f o r the moment, 21  s h o o t i n g anyone e l s e . " shut up.  Shut up.  I n the end he can o n l y t e l l h i m s e l f "Oh  Shut up."  I t i s w i t h the coming o f the storm t h a t S i g b j ^ r n ' s fragmented consciousness  begins  t o be annealed.  S t i l l working  through M a r t i n ,  he g r a d u a l l y a c h i e v e s a f u l l e r r e a l i z a t i o n o f what he wants t o be, and what he wants h i s p r o t a g o n i s t t o r e p r e s e n t .  The note o f r e g e n e r a t i o n  -64comes through R i l k e :  "Things must be d i f f e r e n t w i t h u s , from the  22 ground up, o t h e r w i s e a l l t h e m i r a c l e s i n the w o r l d w i l l be i n v a i n . " Sigbjc^rn r e c o g n i z e s h i s i s o l a t i o n , b u t he a l s o r e a l i z e s t h a t t h i s i s a s t a t e w h i c h he shares i n common w i t h mankind, "For a l a s t h i s i s the way the m a j o r i t y o f human beings see o t h e r human b e i n g s , as shadows, 23 themselves  the o n l y r e a l i t y . "  As a r e s u l t he chooses f o r h i s i d e a l s  the s o c i a l , h u m a n i t a r i a n v i r t u e s - compassion, c o u r t e s y , t a c t , humor w h i c h enable men t o i n t e r a c t w i t h one a n o t h e r ; b u t h i s g r e a t e s t i d e a l i s r e p r e s e n t e d by h i s l o v e f o r and community w i t h P r i m r o s e : Above a l l t h i n g s perhaps he wanted t o be l o y a l t o Primrose i n l i f e . But he wanted t o be l o y a l t o her beyond l i f e , and i n whatever l i f e t h e r e might be beygnd. He wanted t o be l o y a l t o h e r beyond death. A t the h e i g h t o f the storm, when the s h i p cannot s t e e r and i s i n danger o f b e i n g broken up, Sigbjc^rn i s a t l a s t a b l e t o c a s t o f f his  s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n and become Everyman, a t once a c i t i z e n o f the  w o r l d and a u n i v e r s a l e x i l e - "an Englishman who i s a Scotchman who i s a Norwegian who i s a negro a t h e a r t from Dahomey who i s m a r r i e d to  an A m e r i c a n who i s on a French s h i p i n d i s t r e s s w h i c h has been b u i l t  by Americans and who f i n d s a t l a s t t h a t he i s a Mexican dreaming o f 25 the.White  C l i f f s o f Dover."  From t h i s p o s i t i o n he i s a b l e t o pro-  nounce a k i n d o f b e n e d i c t i o n on mankind, a b e n e d i c t i o n w h i c h i s a t once a n acknowledgement o f the n e c e s s i t y f o r human r e g e n e r a t i o n and an a b s o l u t i o n from i n d i v i d u a l g u i l t : l e t the whole w o r l d make a f r e s h s t a r t . A u n i v e r s a l amnesty ( e x t e n d i n g even t o the b u l l i e s , the Mexican i m m i g r a t i o n i n s p e c t o r s , and f i n a l l y m y s e l f , who have never l i f t e d a f i n g e r t o speak a g a i n s t the death i n l i f e a l l about me t i l l t h i s moment).  -65S o c i e t y i s too g u i l t y i n the eyes o f God t o h o l d any man permanently t o account i n a l a r g e r sense f o r a crime a g a i n s t i t , no m a t t e r how w i c k e d : c o l l e c t i v e l y , who have always — these donkey, these man—done something worse. ^ 2  I n t h i s way Sigbjc^rn i s r e c o n c i l e d w i t h h i s fellow-man; and t h i s s t a t e ment e x e m p l i f i e s an e f f o r t of compassionate u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h a t which M a r t i n had r e a c h e d b e f o r e  the storm.  f a r i n excess  A f t e r t h i s , the  storm d i e s down and Bishop L i g h t i s s i g h t e d ; the b e l l s i n the song of the s h i p ' s e n g i n e s a r e r e j o i c i n g , and Sigbjc^rn's m i s s i o n i s c l e a r : " t o teach by h i s own example, l o v e and r e v e r e n c e t o a l l t h i n g s  that  God made and l o v e t h . " I n "Strange Comfort A f f o r d e d by the P r o f e s s i o n ^ ? ' themes which o c c u r i n "Through the Panama" and the M e x i c a n n o v e l s  - the a l i e n a t i o n  of the a r t i s t , and h i s need t o c o n s t r u c t , or r e c o n s t r u c t , the w o r l d w h i c h he p e r c e i v e s  - appear a g a i n and r e a c h a p a r t i a l r e s o l u t i o n .  For the f i r s t time we see the p r o t a g o n i s t  ( a g a i n Sigbjf6rn W i l d e r n e s s ,  but w i t h the r e s e r v a t i o n s g i v e n i n note 1 below) c o m p l e t e l y  alone;  o n l y toward the end o f the s t o r y do we f i n d a h i n t o f any r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h a n o t h e r l i v i n g person.  This i s o l a t i o n i s a c c e n t u a t e d  by Sigbjc^rn's  two most s a l i e n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s - h i s f e a r of o t h e r s , and h i s i n a b i l i t y to see the w o r l d around him.  We f i r s t see him b e f o r e K e a t s '  i n Rome, where, a f t e r c o p y i n g  the words on the house i n t o h i s notebook,  he g l a n c e s  house  around him " w i t h a h e a v i e r , more p e n e t r a t i n g l o o k — t h a t i n  f a c t was i n f o r m e d by such a m a l a i s e  he saw n o t h i n g a t a l l but which 2 7  was i n t e n d e d  t o say ' I have a p e r f e c t r i g h t t o do t h i s . "  I n the  f i r s t few pages o f the s t o r y Lowry emphasizes t h i s i n a b i l i t y t o s e e ,  -66f o r i t i s the c o s t a t w h i c h S i g b j ^ r n attempts t o r e c o r d what he  per-  c e i v e s ; the a c t of r e c o r d i n g d i s a s t r o u s l y l i m i t s the p e r c e p t i o n of what i s r e c o r d e d : h a v i n g c l i m b e d the narrow s t a i r c a s e , he was almost i n s t a n t l y c o n f r o n t e d by a legend i n a g l a s s case which s a i d : Remnants of a r o m a t i c gums used by Trelawny when c r e m a t i n g the body of S h e l l e y . And these words, f o r h i s notebook w i t h w h i c h he was a l r e a d y rearmed f e l t r a t i f i e d i n t h i s p l a c e , he a l s o c o p i e d down, though he f a i l e d t o comment on the gums t h e m s e l v e s , which l a r g e l y escaped h i s n o t i c e , as indeed d i d the house i t s e l f . . . 2 8  S i g b j ^ r n i s unable t o respond a d e q u a t e l y  t o any proximate s t i m u l u s ;  o n l y i n r e a d i n g h i s notebook can he f e e l the anguish  of Keats'  death  or the h o r r o r of the Mamertine P r i s o n . But a l t h o u g h  t h i s notebook, f i l l e d w i t h a p p a r e n t l y  irrelevant  i d e a s and random o b s e r v a t i o n s , i s an a c c u r a t e m i r r o r o f i t s c r e a t o r ' s d i s o r d e r e d p e r c e p t i o n , i t has a t the same time a c e r t a i n a l o g i c a l c o h e r e n c e , and c o n s t i t u t e s a k i n d of a e s t h e t i c s y n t h e s i s of the  ideas  which S i g b j f ^ r n i s t r y i n g to r e c o n c i l e ; w i t h i n i t the s u f f e r i n g s o f Keats and Poe,  t h e i r n e c e s s i t y t o transmute t h e i r l i v e s i n t o a r t ,  t h e i r common imprisonment i n t h e i r s o u l s " l i k e h a p l e s s  shipmasters,  determined t o d r i v e t h e i r l e a k y commands f u l l of v a l u a b l e  treasure  29 a t a l l c o s t s , somehow, i n t o p o r t , "  complement each o t h e r .  Outside  the notebook i s the unimpassioned modern w o r l d which S i g b j ^ r n i s so a f r a i d o f , whose poets never say a n y t h i n g l i k e "For God's sake p i t y me!"  - p r e f e r r i n g to transmute t h e i r anguish  into "hieroglyphics,  m a s t e r l y c o m p r e s s i o n s , o b s c u r i t i e s to be d e c i p h e r e d 30 and p o e t s - - l i k e S i g b j ^ r n W i l d e r n e s s . "  by  experts--yes,  -67I t i s through m e d i t a t i n g on h i s notebook to  comprehend h i s n a t u r e as an a r t i s t .  that S i g b j ^ r n i s able  Keats and Poe, he r e a l i z e s  were e s s e n t i a l l y men who t r a n s f o r m e d t h e i r s u f f e r i n g i n t o words; the poet i s d i s t i n g u i s h e d from o t h e r s by h i s " m a g i c a l monopoly, h i s 31 p o s s e s s i o n o f words."  S i g b j p r n h i m s e l f i s p r e - e m i n e n t l y a man o f  s u f f e r i n g , and a man o f words; a l t h o u g h he d r e s s e s l i k e a bank c l e r k , he bears no r e a l resemblance  t o those around him.  an i n e v i t a b l e c o n c o m i t a n t o f h i s b e i n g a w r i t e r .  His alienation i s C o n f r o n t e d , i n the  second notebook, w i t h an example o f h i s own attempt t o t r a n s f o r m s u f f e r i n g i n t o words, he understands t h a t h i s e s s e n t i a l community i s w i t h Keats and Poe, and so.can.accept h i s commitment t o a r t .  Even  as he c r o s s e s out the l e t t e r which r e c a l l s the worst p e r i o d o f h i s l i f e , he wonders how much o f i t he can remember, and what use he c o u l d make o f i t .  R e c o g n i z i n g t h i s community w i t h the two p o e t s , the  s u f f e r i n g s which make him what he i s become p l e a s u r a b l e , so t h a t a t the  end o f the s t o r y he emulates each o f h i s p r e d e c e s s o r s :  d i e d i n an a l c o h o l i c daze, by f i n i s h i n g h i s f i f t h  Poe, who  "unregenerate"  grappa; and K e a t s , who d i e d o f t u b e r c u l o s i s , by b u r s t i n g i n t o a " r e l a t i v e l y p l e a s u r a b l e " f i t o f coughing. "Strange Comfort"  i s , I f e e l , the most p u z z l i n g and most ambiguous  s t o r y i n Hear Us 0 L o r d . his  S i g b j ^ r n ' s problems - h i s i n a b i l i t y t o s e e ,  i n c a p a c i t y t o l i v e i n the w o r l d - a r e r a t i o n a l i z e d r a t h e r than  s o l v e d ; h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h Keats and Poe o f f e r s no way out of his  self-absorption.  attractive:  Two main l i n e s o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n a r e t o me e q u a l l y  f i r s t , t h a t w i t h i n the t o t a l c o m p o s i t i o n the s t o r y i s  a d e l i b e r a t e l y f a l s e n o t e , a p s e u d o - r e s o l u t i o n which i s s e t up o n l y  -68as a c o n t r a s t t o the deeper r e s o l u t i o n s o f f e r e d i n "Elephant and Colosseum" and "The F o r e s t Path to the S p r i n g ; " and second, t h a t the  s t o r y r e p r e s e n t s an i n t e r i m s o l u t i o n which p r e p a r e s the way f o r  the  f u l l e r v i s i o n w h i c h Cosnahan reaches i n the next s t o r y .  Both  l i n e s o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n p o i n t , I t h i n k , i n the same d i r e c t i o n - t h a t S i g b j ^ r n ' s sense of i d e n t i t y a t the c l o s e of "Strange C o m f o r t " i s incomplete.  The p r o f e s s i o n h o l d s out 'comfort' t o the a l i e n a t e d  man,  but no more. "Elephant and Colosseum" i s Lowry's most s u s t a i n e d p i e c e of comic writing.  We can r e a d i t almost as a parody of Under the V o l c a n o , f o r  m o t i f s and t e c h n i q u e s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h a t book a r e used i n c o n t e x t s w h i c h r e n d e r them, i n p a r t a t l e a s t , l u d i c r o u s :  the good and e v i l  a n g e l s w h i c h torment G e o f f r e y F i r m i n become, i n t h i s s t o r y , the t w i n p e r s o n a l i t i e s Drumgold and Cosnahan, who  c a r r y on an i n t e r m i t t e n t ,  and sometimes inane d i a l o g u e ; the opening l i n e of Dante's  ironic,  Inferno,  w h i c h i n another c o n t e x t would be an o b v i o u s presage o f d i s a s t e r , i s used t o o r d e r a g l a s s o f m i l k .  Y e t d e s p i t e the l i g h t n e s s w i t h which  Lowry t r e a t s h i s theme i n t h i s s t o r y , an u n d e r l y i n g s e r i o u s n e s s remains. "Elephant and Colosseum", i s o l a t e d man,  l i k e Under the V o l c a n o , i s a s t u d y o f an  an a r t i s t and m a g i c i a n who  i s t r y i n g t o absorb and  assimilate h i s world. Cosnahan i s c o m p l e t e l y a l o n e ; h i s w i f e has had t o s t a y i n A m e r i c a , h i s mother has d i e d , and he s e a r c h e s i n v a i n f o r h i s b r o t h e r and h i s publisher.  As a Manxman, he i s a member o f an a n c i e n t r a c e which  he sees as b e i n g r a p i d l y s c a t t e r e d ; he i s a f r a i d o f modern c i v i l i z a t i o n , and i s , moreover,  s t r a n d e d i n a c o u n t r y whose language he does not  -69understand.  He i s , l i k e the r e s t o f h i s f a m i l y , and l i k e the Manx  r a c e i t s e l f , an anachronism;  h i s thoughts c o n s t a n t l y r e t u r n t o those  who a r e o u t o f p l a c e i n the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y - h i s mother, a w i t c h ; h i s b r o t h e r John, a P r o u d h o n i t e a n a r c h i s t g a o l e d i n S t . Helena; h i s b r o t h e r M a t t , the o n l y Manx Roman C a t h o l i c p r i e s t .  As he wanders  through a n c i e n t and modern Rome, h a g - r i d d e n w i t h the g u i l t y memory o f not h a v i n g w r i t t e n t o h i s mother b e f o r e she d i e d , and the a n g u i s h o f a r r i v i n g i n Europe t o o l a t e t o see h e r , s e a r c h i n g f o r a f a m i l i a r f a c e , and f o r some e v i d e n c e o f h i s r e c o g n i t i o n as a w r i t e r , he i s c o n f r o n t e d w i t h the problem o f r e c o g n i z i n g h i s own i d e n t i t y i n the f a c e o f a c i v i l i z a t i o n which n e i t h e r he nor h i s a n c e s t o r s have ever been p a r t of.  H i s s e a r c h f o r the t r a n s l a t i o n o f h i s book i s e s s e n t i a l l y a p a r t  of t h i s search f o r i d e n t i t y .  The t r a n s l a t i o n would i m p l y r e c o g n i t i o n  by o t h e r s , and so a s s u r e Cosnahan t h a t h i s work - and, by e x t e n s i o n , Cosnahan h i m s e l f - had v a l u e ; and a l s o , s i n c e i n one sense  'translate'  32 means " t o c a r r y o r convey t o heaven w i t h o u t d e a t h " ,  i t would s i g n a l i z e  Cosnahan's r e b i r t h . He i s , however, unknown t o h i s I t a l i a n p u b l i s h e r ; the o n l y r e s u l t o f the a f t e r n o o n ' s attempt  t o f i n d h i s p l a c e i n Rome's chaos i s t h a t  Cosnahan f e e l s h i m s e l f more i s o l a t e d than e v e r .  But i n s t e a d o f f i n d i n g  h i s book, he meets the e l e p h a n t , Rosemary, and t h i s meeting his reintegration.  leads to  Rosemary i s a s s o c i a t e d both w i t h the sea-voyage  i n Cosnahan's past which was the b a s i s o f h i s book, and w i t h h i s mother, who, w i t h the g i f t o f a suede e l e p h a n t , c o n f e r r e d on him some o f h e r m a g i c a l power.  Thus both i n magic and a r t , the e l e p h a n t stands a t  the source o f Cosnahan's s t r e n g t h , and proves t o be the u n r e c o g n i z e d  -70l i n k which g i v e s h i s l i f e coherence.  And  i n h e r s e l f , a t once  grotesque  and s u b l i m e , endowed w i t h the v i r t u e s o f Humor, t o l e r a t i o n , and wisdom, she becomes the mnemonic o f an i n t u i t i v e comprehension of the u n i v e r s e , an i n v e r s e Moby D i c k who  t e s t i f i e s t o "the e x i s t e n c e o f a l m i g h t y  God,  33 and H i s wide w i l d humor." With t h i s i n t u i t i v e comprehension, t h i s t r a n s c e n d i n g o f the v i s i o n of l i f e his  to one a t once comic and profound, Cosnahan can  tragic  see  work as " p r e c i o u s , r i d i c u l o u s , s e c o n d - r a t e , and y e t to him  . . .  34 all-important."  I t i s h i s l i f e , but he no l o n g e r needs i t to feed  the ' v a n i t y ' which compelled him t o seek r e c o g n i t i o n from o t h e r s , and as a r e s u l t , h i s c r e a t i v e powers are a g a i n l i b e r a t e d . he can now  More i m p o r t a n t ,  see h i m s e l f i n h i s c o n t e x t as a member of the human r a c e ,  and can see t h a t t h i s c o n t e x t i n v o l v e s , as a c o n d i t i o n , a c e r t a i n k i n d of i s o l a t i o n , of i n d i v i d u a l i t y : he would ask A r t h u r which Huxley i t was who wrote t h a t men s h o u l d not seek f o r t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s , r a t h e r t h a t which draws them t o g e t h e r , w h i c h of t h a t v e r y v a r i o u s n e s s , uniqueness, he'd j u s t been t h i n k i n g about; no m a t t e r , both were r i g h t . . . man was Quayne, and man was Quaggan, man was Q u i l l i s h , man was Q u a l t r o u g h , man was Q u i r k and Quayle and Looney, and I l l i a m Dhone, who had been hanged. And y e t l i v e d — b e c a u s e he was i n n o c e n t ? - ^ A l t h o u g h Cosnahan i s s t i l l a l o n e , the c l i m a c t i c a n a g n o r i s i s has him t o see h i s l i f e as p a r t of a m e a n i n g f u l  p a t t e r n , i n which the  v a r i o u s spheres o f past and p r e s e n t , the i n d i v i d u a l mind and a t i o n , the w o r l d of man  enabled  and the w o r l d of God,  are r e c o n c i l e d .  civilizHe  has become p a r t of Rome, and he can a w a i t the a r r i v a l of h i s b r o t h e r and h i s p u b l i s h e r w i t h  equanimity.  "Elephant and Colosseum" r e p r e s e n t s the h i g h e s t degree o f i n t e g r a t i o n which  the lone p r o t a g o n i s t can r e a c h , b u t i t s t o p s s h o r t o f  the renewal o f Cosnahan's i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h o t h e r s .  This f i n a l  u t i o n o f the m u l t i p l e p r o t a g o n i s t ' s a l i e n a t i o n i s postponed  resol-  until  " G i n and G o l d e n r o d " and "The F o r e s t Path t o the S p r i n g " ; meanwhile the c y c l e o f Hear Us 0 L o r d t u r n s a g a i n toward d e s p a i r as Cosnahan's p e r c e p t i o n o f harmony i s negated. is  A l t h o u g h "Present E s t a t e of P o m p e i i "  one o f the most r i c h l y comic, and c e r t a i n l y the b a w d i e s t , o f Lowry's  works, i t i s the most p e s s i m i s t i c episode i n the book.  I n i t a theme  i m p l i c i t i n "Elephant and Colosseum" - the r e l a t i o n o f man t o the c i v i l i z a t i o n which he has c r e a t e d , and w h i c h , i n the f a c e o f time, i s , like  the i n d i v i d u a l , ephemeral - i s f u l l y e x p l o r e d . The  p r o t a g o n i s t , Roderick Fairhaven, i s t o u r i n g I t a l y w i t h h i s  w i f e Tansy; but w h i l e Tansy i s an e n t h u s i a s t i c t o u r i s t , R o d e r i c k i s p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h the sense of a l i e n a t i o n which t r a v e l l i n g i n i t s e l f implies.  " T h i s , p r e - e m i n e n t l y , " he remarks,  " i s where you don't belong  . . . behind you, thousands o f m i l e s away, i t i s as i f y o u c o u l d hear ..36 your own r e a l l i f e  p l u n g i n g t o i t s doom."  The i n s e c u r i t y endemic  i n man i s f o c u s s e d i n R o d e r i c k ; h i s ' r e a l l i f e '  l i e s i n E r i d a n u s , whose  i n h a b i t a n t s l i v e under the c o n s t a n t t h r e a t o f e v i c t i o n as "the s t h e n i c c o n f u s i o n o f t e c h n o l o g i c a l advance" c l o s e s i n on them. 37 f o r a r e f u g e from c i v i l i z a t i o n ;  He i s s e a r c h i n g ,  E r i d a n u s i s a r e t r e a t from man s  p r e s e n t , j u s t as the R e s t a u r a n t V e s u v i u s i s a r e f u g e from man's p a s t . But n e i t h e r the r e s t a u r a n t n o r , i n the c o n t e x t of t h i s s t o r y , E r i d a n u s , o f f e r permanent s a n c t u a r y .  A g a i n and a g a i n we a r e reminded o f humanity  v u l n e r a b i l i t y ; ' E r i d a n u s i s t h r e a t e n e d by a t e c h n o l o g i c a l s o c i e t y ,  -72-  Pompeii has been d e s t r o y e d by V e s u v i u s , Volney speaks o f the p a s s i n g of c i v i l i z a t i o n s , and the human r a c e i t s e l f i s o b s c u r e l y endangered by f l y i n g  saucers.  Yet the r e a l t h r e a t t o humanity comes n o t from the t i t a n i c , even o c c u l t , power o f n a t u r e r e p r e s e n t e d by V e s u v i u s , n o r from whatever incomprehensible  t e r r o r the f l y i n g saucers s y m b o l i z e , but from w i t h i n  man h i m s e l f : Awestruck by h i s c a l l o u s n e s s , h i s i g n o r a n c e , h i s l a c k of t i m e , h i s f e a r t h a t t h e r e w i l l be no time to b u i l d a n y t h i n g b e a u t i f u l , f e a r of e v i c t i o n , of e j e c t i o n , man no l o n g e r belongs t o o r understands the w o r l d he has c r e a t e d . The meaning o f Pompeii  l i e s not i n i t s d e s t r u c t i o n b u t i n i t s r e l a t i v e  s u r v i v a l ; i t i s a c i t y o s s i f i e d i n i t s p a s t , and so has remained an entity.  Comparing i t s r u i n s w i t h the c h a o t i c s u p e r i m p o s i t i o n of one  age's b u i l d i n g s on another which he had found i n N a p l e s , R o d e r i c k comes to see man's c o n s t a n t need t o d e s t r o y and r e b u i l d as an e x p r e s s i o n of h i s i n s e c u r i t y .  Man's desperate need f o r o t h e r s , e v i d e n c e d  by h i s c o n s t a n t b u i l d i n g and r e b u i l d i n g , and by the f r e n z i e d  both  sexuality  which so p r e o c c u p i e s the g u i d e , s p r i n g s from h i s awareness o f the t r a n s i e n c e of h i s l i f e . attempt  I n the f a c e o f h i s own m o r t a l i t y he c a n o n l y  t o a s s e r t h i s i d e n t i t y ; but t h i s a s s e r t i o n c o n s t i t u t e s - a n  acknowledgement o f the 'otherness* o f the w o r l d around him, and so makes him o n l y more c o n s c i o u s o f h i s d i s o r i e n t a t i o n : R o d e r i c k c o u l d n o t h e l p but wonder whether man too was n o t b e g i n n i n g t o s t a n d , i n some profound i n e x p l i c a b l e sense, f u n d a m e n t a l l y i n some such i m p e r f e c t o r d i s l o c a t e d r e l a t i o n t o h i s environment as he. Man once stood a t the c e n t e r of the u n i v e r s e , as E l i z a b e t h a n poets stood a t the c e n t e r of the w o r l d . — B u t the d i f f e r e n c e between the man-made r u i n s and  -73the r u i n s of Pompeii was t h a t the man-made ones had not f o r the most p a r t been found worth pres e r v i n g , or had been c a r r i e d away. Had some p r e c i o u s p a r t of man been c a r r i e d away w i t h the r u i n s ? P a r t l y i t was as i f man b u i l t w i t h r u i n i n v i e w . . . See Naples and d i e ! ^ 3  A l t h o u g h the s t o r y c o n t a i n s w i t h i n i t s e l f , i n i t s humor and i n Tansy's v i t a l i t y , the germs of an a t t i t u d e which might l e a d t o an of  acceptance  the w o r l d and man's p l a c e i n i t , t h i s c o n c l u s i o n i s b l e a k .  achievements  Such  o f beauty and harmony as man might r e a c h ( a s , perhaps,  the F a i r h a v e n ' s shack i n E r i d a n u s ) are a s s u r e d , a t b e s t , of a l i m i t e d s u r v i v a l under the shadow of an e v e r l a s t i n g t h r e a t ; the s t o r y c l o s e s w i t h V e s u v i u s , dormant, but capable o f once more becoming, w i t h o u t w a r n i n g , the e l e m e n t a l d e s t r o y e r . With "Gin and G o l d e n r o d " we r e t u r n t o E r i d a n u s , and b e g i n the movement toward r e i n t e g r a t i o n which w i l l c u l m i n a t e i n "The F o r e s t Path to the S p r i n g . "  Here the t h r e a t o f d e s p o l i a t i o n which had t r o u b l e d  F a i r h a v e n i s becoming a c t u a l ; s u b d i v i s i o n s are b e g i n n i n g to encroach on the area around  the s e t t l e m e n t .  Throughout the s t o r y , the w o r l d  of n a t u r e , the f o r e s t s , b i r d s and w i l d f l o w e r s w i t h which the W i l d e r n e s s e s so s t r o n g l y i d e n t i f y themselves, i s c o n t r a s t e d w i t h the d u s t y chaos of  the road and the 'ugsome' s t e r i l i t y of the new houses;  although  S i g b j ^ r n observes t h a t "the c o n q u e r i n g of w i l d e r n e s s , whether i n f a c t or  i n h i s /_man's7 mind, was  he f e e l s t h a t "progress was  p a r t of h i s own  process of s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n , "  the enemy, i t was not making man more happy 40  or  secure.  R u i n a t i o n and v u l g a r i z a t i o n had become a h a b i t . "  The  f r e n e t i c a c t i v i t y which F a i r h a v e n had found e p i t o m i z e d i n Naples i s moving i n on E r i d a n u s , which had h i t h e r t o been an e n c l a v e of peace and security.  -74Unable t o l i v e w i t h c i v i l i z a t i o n ' s a t t r i t i o n of the environment which he i s p a r t o f , S i g b j ^ r n i s d r i v e n to f i n d escape i n the o b l i v i o n which a l c o h o l o f f e r s , and the s t o r y i s concerned w i t h the a f t e r m a t h o f h i s drunken debauch. P r i m r o s e , who  He s u f f e r s a p a r t i a l estrangement from  a l t e r n a t e s sympathy w i t h sheer b i t c h i n e s s , he has  to  make the p a i n f u l j o u r n e y to the b o o t l e g g e r ' s house, and he has t o f a c e a g a i n the b o o t l e g g e r h i m s e l f .  When, however, the o r d e a l i s o v e r , the  f i s s i o n between the couple b e g i n s to be h e a l e d , and on the way  back  t o t h e i r home they meet w i t h h o p e f u l s i g n s - the f r i e n d l y woman i n the garden, the man w i t h the t y p e w r i t e r . As they r e - e n t e r the f o r e s t , w i t h the p r o s p e c t of a d r i n k - t h i s time to be shared - b e f o r e them, t h e i r community w i t h each o t h e r , and w i t h n a t u r e , i s r e - e s t a b l i s h e d . T h e i r home i s s t i l l  t h r e a t e n e d , but S i g b j ^ r n ' s debt has been p a i d ,  and the impulse which had d r i v e n him t o seek i s o l a t i o n and i n a l c o h o l has been e x o r c i s e d .  oblivion  With t h i s e x p i a t i o n comes r e g e n e r a t i o n ;  "a k i n d o f hope began to bloom a g a i n . " The s t o r i e s so f a r have been concerns w i t h moments of c r i s i s i n the p r o t a g o n i s t s ' l i v e s , and the ways i n which these are r e s o l v e d . I n "The a man  F o r e s t Path t o the S p r i n g " we see the l o n g process by  which  a c h i e v e s harmony through h i s g r a d u a l a s s i m i l a t i o n i n t o the w o r l d  around him.  W i t h i n the s t r u c t u r e o f Hear Us 0 L o r d i t r e p r e s e n t s a  movement i n t o both the past and the f u t u r e ; i t begins i n the e a r l y y e a r s of the Second War,  and takes us through to a time i n which v a r i o u s  e v e n t s , i n c l u d i n g the d e s t r u c t i o n of the P r o t a g o n i s t ' s home and a voyage t o Europe, have been weathered.  The s t o r y i s a triumphant  ment of the theme o f Hear Us 0 L o r d as a whole - t h a t man,  state-  once he i s  -75-  a b l e t o overcome h i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e impulse  and l i v e i n harmony w i t h  the n a t u r a l w o r l d , i s a b l e to s u r v i v e ; i t a t once takes up the m o t i f o f r e g e n e r a t i o n which c l o s e s "Gin and Goldenrod", and b r i n g s the book back t o i t s s t a r t i n g - p o i n t . The unnamed p r o t a g o n i s t who honeymoon i s a man  b r i n g s h i s wife to Eridanus  for their  d i v i d e d against h i m s e l f ; while h i s love f o r h i s  w i f e i s i n t e n s e , and w h i l e he q u i c k l y comes to observe and  appreciate  the w o r l d o f n a t u r e around him, he i s aware of the t h i n g s which threaten t h e i r happiness.  One  t h r e a t i s the war which i s e n g u l f i n g  the w o r l d , and which he f e e l s h i m s e l f o b l i g e d t o j o i n ;  "It's a hell  of a time t o l i v e , " he t e l l s h i s w i f e c a l l o u s l y , , "There can't be  any  41 of t h i s nonsense about l o v e i n a c o t t a g e . "  More i m p o r t a n t ,  however,  i s the d e s t r u c t i v e forces- a t work w i t h i n h i m s e l f , f o r he i s the  product  o f h i s past l i f e , a l i f e dominated by a l c o h o l , by the c i t y , and by n i g h t - the s e l f - c o n s u m i n g the J u n g i a n  w o r l d o f the j a z z m u s i c i a n .  the  This a n t i - s e l f ,  'shadow', i n t r u d e s i t s e l f on the p r o t a g o n i s t a t d i s c o n c e r t i n g  moments: One n i g h t , coming a c r o s s the porch from the woodshed w i t h a l a n t e r n i n one hand and a l o a d of wood under the o t h e r arm, I saw my shadow, g i g a n t i c , the l o g s o f wood as b i g as a c o f f i n , and t h i s shadow seemed f o r a moment the g l o w e r i n g embodiment o f a l l t h a t t h r e a t e n e d us; y e s , even a p r o j e c t i o n of t h a t dark c h a o t i c s i d e of m y s e l f , my f e r o c i o u s destructive ignorance.^ 2  Even when he i s h a p p i e s t , r e t u r n i n g from the s p r i n g , he f i n d s h i m s e l f overwhelmed by an u n r e a s o n i n g  h a t r e d , "a v i r u l e n t and murderous t h i n g  t h a t throbbed a l l through my v e i n s l i k e a p a s s i o n . . . and i t took 43 i n everyone i n i t s sweep, everyone e x c e p t my w i f e . " He sees h i m s e l f  -76-  for  a time as a p e r v e r s i o n of man,  n a t u r e t h a t I had read man  possessed by "the w i l d f o r c e s o f  44 had been sent i n t o the w o r l d t o redeem,"  a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n not o n l y of the f e r o c i t y which draws men but a l s o o f c h a o t i c n a t u r e  into  war,  itself.  D e s p i t e the moments i n which he i s possessed  by h i s 'shadow , 1  the p r o t a g o n i s t g r a d u a l l y b e g i n s t o see a fundamental u n i t y i n the dichotomous w o r l d about him.  E r i d a n u s , named a f t e r the m y t h i c a l  r i v e r which i s a t once the r i v e r of l i f e and the r i v e r of death, i s a meeting-point turning world."  of o p p o s i t e s , a paradigm of "the s t i l l  p o i n t o f the  The i n l e t i s n e i t h e r r i v e r nor sea; on i t s one  shore  are n a t u r e ' s mountains, on the o t h e r , man's o i l - r e f i n e r y - which i s i t s e l f both a t h i n g of beauty and the h e l l which i t s s i g n p r o c l a i m s . T h i s c o n c a t e n a t i o n of o p p o s i t e s i m p l i e s i n i t s e l f a b a l a n c e ; the wheel t u r n s about a s t i l l a single thing. understand  p o i n t , and the wheel i t s e l f must be, i n the  end,  I n o b s e r v i n g the t i d e s , the p r o t a g o n i s t comes t o  the meaning o f the Tao,  the p r i n c i p l e of s t a b i l i t y w h i c h  u n d e r l i e s the f l u x and comprehends the d i c h o t o m i e s  i n the w o r l d :  at such a time o f s t i l l n e s s , a t the b r i e f p e r i o d o f h i g h t i d e b e f o r e the ebb, i t was l i k e what I have l e a r n e d the Chinese c a l l the Tao, t h a t , they say, came i n t o e x i s t e n c e b e f o r e Heaven and E a r t h , something so s t i l l , so c h a n g e l e s s , and y e t r e a c h i n g everywhere, and i n no danger o f b e i n g exhausted: l i k e " t h a t which i s so s t i l l and y e t passes on i n c o n s t a n t f l o w , and i n p a s s i n g on, becomes remote, and h a v i n g become remote, returns.^ It  i s h i s w i f e who  i n t e r p r e t s t h i s w o r l d t o the p r o t a g o n i s t , who  b r i n g s him t o r e c o g n i z e the beauty and v i t a l i t y of n a t u r e which m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f about E r i d a n u s ; he r e c a l l s her t a l k i n g t o him "as i f  -77I had been a b l i n d man r e c o v e r i n g h i s s i g h t t o whom she had t o teach 46 a g a i n the b e a u t i e s and o d d i t i e s o f the w o r l d . " in  the k i n d o f harmony w i t h h e r s u r r o u n d i n g s  She l i v e s n a t u r a l l y  which the p r o t a g o n i s t  can o n l y g r a d u a l l y , and sometimes p a i n f u l l y , a c h i e v e ; t h e i r community i n each other i s a t once a metaphor f o r and the i n d i s p e n s a b l e b a s i s of the g r e a t e r community w i t h the o u t s i d e w o r l d which he, l i t t l e by l i t t l e , attains.  "Perhaps", he r e f l e c t s , "she was h e r s e l f the e i d o l o n  o f e v e r y t h i n g we l o v e d i n E r i d a n u s , o f a l l i t s s h i f t i n g moods and t i d e 47 and darks and suns and s t a r s . "  Y e t d e s p i t e h i s community w i t h h i s  w i f e , and t h e i r i n c r e a s i n g f r i e n d s h i p w i t h the g e n t l e f i s h e r m e n are the o t h e r i n h a b i t a n t s o f E r i d a n u s , he i s s t i l l o f h a t r e d and l i f e - w e a r i n e s s .  who  tormented by moment  Before h i s r e g e n e r a t i o n i s complete  he has t o w i n a b a t t l e w i t h i n h i m s e l f ; he has somehow t o overcome the i n c r e a s i n g arduousness of the d a i l y j o u r n e y up the l a d d e r o f h i s p a s t , a l o n g t h e ambiguous Proteus life itself.  Although  P a t h , t o the s p r i n g , the f o u n t a i n h e a d o f  he has seen, through h i s w i f e , the u n i t y i n  n a t u r e , the s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e i m p u l s e , o b j e c t i f i e d i n the f r a y e d rope which he f i n d s on the p a t h , i s s t i l l a t work w i t h i n him. It  i s through the c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h the cougar, a c r e a t u r e which  in  i t s beauty and i t s menace, suggests the d u a l i t y b o t h i n n a t u r e and  in  the p r o t a g o n i s t - and, by e x t e n s i o n , i n man - t h a t he i s f i n a l l y  a b l e t o b r i n g about a u n i t y w i t h i n h i m s e l f ; f o r he r e a l i z e s t h a t the l i o n i s l e s s t e r r i b l e than the products o f the dark s i d e o f h i s own mind w h i c h , i n p a r t , i t s y m b o l i z e s : H a l f c o n s c i o u s I t o l d m y s e l f t h a t i t was as though I had a c t u a l l y been on the l o o k o u t f o r something on the path t h a t had seemed r e a d y , on e v e r y s i d e ,  -78t o s p r i n g out of our p a r a d i s e a t us, t h a t was n o t h i n g so much as the embodiment i n some f r i g h t f u l a n i m a l form of those nameless somnambulisms, g u i l t s , ghouls of past d e l i r i u m , wounds t o o t h e r s o u l s and l i v e s , ghosts of a c t i o n s a p p r o x i m a t i n g t o murder, even i f not my own a c t i o n s i n t h i s l i f e , b e t r a y a l s of s e l f and I know not what, ready t o l e a p out and d e s t r o y me, t o d e s t r o y u s , and our h a p p i n e s s , so t h a t when, as i f i n answer t o a l l t h i s , I saw a mere l i o n , how c o u l d I be afraid?,„ And y e t m y s t e r i o u s l y the l i o n was a l l t h a t t o o . As a r e s u l t he r e c o g n i z e s  t h a t "as a man  the p a s t , and  my  t h a t i t was  I had become t y r a n n i z e d  duty to t r a n s c e n d  i t i n the  by  present.  A f t e r the meeting w i t h the l i o n , the j o u r n e y a l o n g the path l o s e s i t s arduousness; i n f a c t the e f f o r t l e s s n e s s w i t h w h i c h the r e t u r n i s a c c o m p l i s h e d comes t o have something of the q u a l i t y of a m y s t i c a l i l l u m i n a t i o n , f o r the j o u r n e y instantaneous and  and  seems to the p r o t a g o n i s t t o be both  t o l i e o u t s i d e time.  A t the same time the gloomy  s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e thoughts which he had  the path do not d i s a p p e a r ,  formerly entertained  but r a t h e r are subsumed to become an  p a r t of the u n i t y of h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s .  I n t h i s way  and  S p r i n g are r e c o n c i l e d ; and w i t h t h i s f i n a l  g r a t i o n h i s c r e a t i v e powers are r e l e a s e d , so t h a t he i s a t l a s t to transcend  integral  he too becomes  an image of the u n i v e r s a l harmony i n which l i g h t and d a r k , l i f e d e a t h , and W i n t e r and  on  inteable  and make use of h i s past i n w r i t i n g h i s m u s i c .  From t h i s p o i n t on, the couple are not f i n i s h e d w i t h t r o u b l e , or t h r e a t , or l o s s ; but t h e i r a s s i m i l a t i o n of themselves i n t o each o t h e r and i n t o t h e i r w o r l d g i v e s them the s t r e n g t h t o p e r p e t u a l l y renew t h e m s e l v e s , so t h a t even the b u r n i n g a k i n d of r e b i r t h , a f r e s h b a p t i s m .  The  of t h e i r shack l e a d s  to  p r o t a g o n i s t can grow o l d w i t h  e q u a n i m i t y , c o n f i d e n t t h a t h i s l o v e f o r h i s w i f e i s always i n c r e a s i n g ,  and can even see age as p a r t o f a g r e a t e r f l u x :  " I wondered i f what  r e a l l y we s h o u l d see i n age i s m e r e l y the p r i n c i p l e o f the seasons themselves w e a r i n g o u t , o n l y t o renew themselves through another k i n d of  death.And,  w a t c h i n g the r a i n d r o p s f a l l i n g on the w a t e r , he  answers F a i r h a v e n s d e s p a i r i n the f a c e o f the evanescence 1  life;  o f human  "Each drop f a l l i n g i n t o the sea i s l i k e a l i f e , I thought, each  p r o d u c i n g a c i r c l e i n the ocean, o r the medium o f l i f e  i t s e l f , and  w i d e n i n g i n t o i n f i n i t y , though i t seems t o m e l t i n t o the s e a , and 52 become i n v i s i b l e , o r d i s a p p e a r e n t i r e l y , and be l o s t . " l a s t see human l i v e s as p a r t o f the harmonious  He c a n a t  c y c l e o f n a t u r e , as  p a r t o f the unmoving f l u x o f the Tao; so t h a t i n the end, the couple can a c c e p t the dark and menacing reaches o f the stream o f l i f e and s t i l l d r i n k from i t j o y f u l l y .  W i t h t h i s a f f i r m a t i o n of man's c a p a c i t y t o  become complete, and i n becoming complete, t o s u r v i v e , Hear Us 0 L o r d r e t u r n s t o i t s s t a r t i n g - p o i n t ; the s u p p l i c a t i o n f o r endangered sounded i n the Manx f i s h e r m e n ' s hymn, i s answered.  voyagers  -80-  FOOTNOTES:  CHAPTER I I I  The i n t e r c h a n g e a b i l i t y o f the c h a r a c t e r s i n Hear Us 0 Lord i s suggested by a n o t e which Lowry thought o f p r e f a c i n g t o "Strange Comfort A f f o r d e d by the P r o f e s s i o n : " He [the p r o t a g o n i s t o f t h a t s t o r y ] has i n any case o n l y o b l i q u e l y a n y t h i n g t o do w i t h the c h a r a c t e r W i l d e r n e s s of La Mordida or Through the Panama, and i f he happens t o be c a l l e d t h a t name h e r e i t i s because the author was t o y i n g w i t h the i d e a , by no means as c h i l d i s h as i t sounds, of e s c a p i n g from the t y r a n n y of i n v e n t i n g s p u r i o u s names i n s h o r t s t o r i e s f o r p r o t a g o n i s t s whose names d i d n ' t m a t t e r - even i f they were t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r s - by g i v i n g them the same name. T h i s would t u r n the author i n t o a s o r t of d i r e c t o r o r producer of c e r t a i n p i e c e s i n w h i c h , say, S i g b j ^ r n W i l d e r n e s s was an a c t o r a c t i n g the p a r t of a c h a r a c t e r whose name was b e s i d e the p o i n t , though a c e r t a i n p a r t i c u l a r unique s t a n d a r d would come t o be expected o f S i g b j ^ r n W i l d e r n e s s p l a y i n g a g i v e n p a r t ; so the i d e a h e r e would have been something l i k e S i g b j ^ r n W i l d e r n e s s i n Strange Comfort A f f o r d e d by the P r o f e s s i o n , (as one might say P e t e r L o r r e i n so & so) r a t h e r than a s t o r y about anyone o f t h a t name. T h i s ms. n o t e i s t o be found i n t h e U.B.C. Lowry c o l l e c t i o n a t the end o f d r a f t I of "Through the Panama." 2 "Present E s t a t e o f P o m p e i i " i s , I t h i n k , an e x c e p t i o n . 3  " E a s t Coker"  1.186-8.  4 The  S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s of Malcolm Lowry, p. 230.  ~*Hear Us 0 Lord From Heaven Thy D w e l l i n g P l a c e (New Y o r k : L i p p i n c o t t Company, 1961), p. 13. The f o l l o w i n g page-references t h i s chapter a r e t o t h i s work.  J.B. in  p. 16. ^ See  Genesis 4:17.  S t a n l e y Park performs much the same f u n c t i o n i n Lowry's s t o r y , "Ghos t k e e p e r . "  V 10  17. p. 24.  unpublished  1  I K  1  p.  15.  p.  26.  13 The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the f o r e s t warden and h i s environment i s one of the themes of another u n p u b l i s h e d s t o r y , "We're A l l Good Ducks Here p. J o . 15 p.  31.  p.  36.  T h e a l l u s i o n to Denis struggled against persecution h i s i n f l u e n t i a l Encyclopedia, undergone i f man i s t o t r y t o 1 7  p.  40.  p.  62.  °P.  77.  P.  78.  1 8  2  2 1  22 p.  81.  p.  85.  p.  87.  P  .  96.  P  .  96.  23  2 4  2 5  2 6  2 7  2 8  p.  99-100.  p.  100.  D i d e r o t (1713-1784), the p h i l o s o p h e r who and p o v e r t y f o r twenty y e a r s t o produce suggests the h a r d s h i p s which have t o be change h i m s e l f and h i s w o r l d .  -82-  29  3  p. 108.  ° p . 109.  31 p. 108. 32 OED 33 p. 161. p. 172. 35 p. 162-3. 3  177  6  p. 177. 37 The name ' F a i r h a v e n ' i t s e l f , of c o u r s e , b r i n g s t o g e t h e r the themes of b e a u t y and s e c u r i t y , s u g g e s t i n g the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s need f o r b o t h . 3 8  p . 188,  39 p. 199. 40 P.  204.  41 p. 230. 42 p. 233. 4  9 / *  3  p. 243. 44 p. 243. 4 5  p . 234-5.  46 p. 274. 4  7  9/7  p. 247. 48 For the image o f the l a d d e r , see Lowry's poem "The P a s t " , S e l e c t e d Poems o f M a l c o l m Lowry (San F r a n c i s c o : C i t y L i g h t s , 1962), p. 69.  49 50 51 52  p. 263-4 p. 279. p. 277-8 p. 282.  CHAPTER IV  " M e t a p h y s i c a l s p e c u l a t i o n s are attempts t o t h i n k u n t h i n k a b l y , and i t i s q u i t e hard enough t o t h i n k t h i n k a b l y " - Charles F o r t , Lol "The  F o r e s t Path to the S p r i n g " r e c o r d s the e x p e r i e n c e  of a  man  i n complete harmony w i t h a l l a s p e c t s of h i s environment; the n a r r a t o r o f t h a t s t o r y has  f i n a l l y found the home, the p o i n t of b a l a n c e ,  Lowry's p r o t a g o n i s t s are c o n s t a n t l y s e a r c h i n g f o r . "Ghostkeeper",  1  and  I n two  which  stories,  I'The Element F o l l o w s You Around, S i r J " ,  2  Lowry  r e t u r n s t o the themes o f p e r s e c u t i o n and a l i e n a t i o n ; but i n these s t o r i e s the d i s t i n c t i o n between s u b j e c t i v e and o b j e c t i v e b r e a k s down, so t h a t we cannot say whether the p e r s e c u t o r i s an i r r a t i o n a l incomprehensible  agent which l i e s o u t s i d e the human mind, or a  o f t h a t mind's o c c u l t i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h the w o r l d o u t s i d e i t .  and product They are  an outcome of the i n t e r e s t i n para-normal and p s y c h i c a l phenomena 3 which i s evidenced 'metaphysical  throughout Lowry s work,  horror s t o r i e s ' :  and might be  termed  ' h o r r o r s t o r i e s ' because they  ( w i t h complex r e s e r v a t i o n s t h a t I s h a l l come to l a t e r ) the of p o s s i b l y malevolent w h i c h do n o t operate by men;  agencies, capable  of c o n t r o l l i n g our  existence lives,  a c c o r d i n g to the s c i e n t i f i c laws c o n s t r u c t e d  ' m e t a p h y s i c a l ' because t h i s c o n t r o l symbolizes  under which l i f e  imply  a condition  is lived.  These s t o r i e s might w i t h some j u s t i c e be c o n s i d e r e d as mere  -85c u r i o s i t i e s , and i t must be a d m i t t e d  that t h e i r h o r r o r i s too a b s t r a c t  to be g r i p p i n g , t h e i r m e t a p h y s i c s too r e c o n d i t e t o be p e r s u a s i v e . s o c i e t y l i k e o u r s , whose t e c h n o l o g y  A  and p h i l o s o p h y have been e s s e n t i a l l y  developed out o f the concept o f c a u s a l i t y , may f i n d no p o i n t o r meaning i n s t o r i e s which p o s t u l a t e an o c c u l t and -acausal i n t e r a c t i o n between the animate and the t h e o r e t i c a l l y i n a n i m a t e ,  between the mind o f an  i n d i v i d u a l and the m a t e r i a l w o r l d which i s o u t s i d e t h a t mind.  Lowry's  v i n d i c a t i o n l i e s , I t h i n k , i n the f a c t t h a t the m o t i f s which c h a r a c t e r i z e these s t o r i e s have a s y m b o l i c y e a r s mankind has r e g a i n e d  r a t h e r than a l i t e r a l v a l u e .  I n recent  i t s awareness o f i t s e l f as r e l a t e d t o the  r e s t o f the w o r l d ; we have g r a d u a l l y been f o r c e d t o t h i n k i n terms of a p l a n e t a r y e c o l o g y .  W h i l e Lowry d i d not t h i n k o f man's p l a c e i n  h i s environment i n e c o l o g i c a l terms, he showed a p a r a l l e l k i n d o f awareness; man and the w o r l d a r e seen, i n Hear Us 0 L o r d e s p e c i a l l y , as a g e s t a l t .  I n "The F o r e s t Path t o the S p r i n g " the g e s t a l t i s h a r -  monious; i n "The Element F o l l o w s You Around, S i r ! " i t i s d i s c o r d a n t , and we can see t h i s s t o r y as a m e t a p h o r i c a l  e x p r e s s i o n o f man's  i n a b i l i t y t o l i v e i n a w o r l d w h i c h he has i n p a r t c r e a t e d and i n p a r t destroyed. T h i s use o f the o c c u l t as metaphor can be b e s t seen i n a passage from "Outward Bound" (which,  l i k e "The Element F o l l o w s You Around, S i r ! " ,  4 i s a s e c t i o n o f October F e r r y t o G a b r i o l a ) i n which J a c q u e l i n e says o f h e r m a g i c i a n f a t h e r : "Daddy's had the i d e a t h a t people l i k e him needed t o combat the e v i l s i d e o f i t a l l , t h a t m a i n t a i n s i s f l o u r i s h i n g more now than i t d i d the M i d d l e Ages. He's g o t a bee i n h i s bonnet H i t l e r , f o r example."  are he in about  Llewelyn  -86-  "But he says t h a t on t h i s s i d e too t h e r e ' r e e v i l f o r c e s a t w o r k — a n d t h a t t h e r e ' r e some a l c h e m i s t s too among s c i e n t i s t s , l i k e an o l d w i z a r d f r i e n d of h i s i n C l e v e l a n d — a n d t h a t i n a few y e a r s t h e y ' l l have the power t o blow the whole w o r l d t o s m i t h e r e e n s — i t sounds c r a z y , doesn't it?" 5  We  need n o t , I am  s u r e , deduce from r e a d i n g  t h i s passage t h a t Lowry  b e l i e v e d H i t l e r to be a d e v i l i n c a r n a t e , or t h a t he thought i t took Alchemy t o c r e a t e images of e v i l  the Hydrogen Bomb; he i s u s i n g these m e d i e v a l  to suggest the e n o r m i t y of the impulse t o e v i l ,  d e s t r u c t i o n , w i t h i n man  today - and  i t i s t h i s impulse which  to leads  t o the r i s e of a H i t l e r or the i n v e n t i o n of n u c l e a r weaponry. i s not t o say t h a t we  do not have t o come to terms w i t h the meaning  of the e v e n t s which occur i n "The and  This  Element F o l l o w s You Around, S i r ! "  "Ghostkeeper", but r a t h e r t h a t these e v e n t s are a k i n d of o b j e c t i v e  c o r r e l a t i v e o f the i m p e r f e c t w h i c h Lowry  and  the  world  discerned.  I n "The  Element F o l l o w s You Around, S i r ! " the d i s t i n c t i o n between  the s u b j e c t i v e and mind and  i n t e r a c t i o n between man  the o b j e c t i v e , between the s t a t e of the  protagonist's  the e v e n t s i n the w o r l d o u t s i d e i t , comes c l o s e t o c o l l a p s i n g  altogether.  A f t e r the B a r k e r v i l l e Arms (the L l e w e l y n s '  house) has  been d e s t r o y e d  i n an u n e x p l a i n e d f i r e , E t h a n L l e w e l y n  takes t o d r i n k .  As a r e s u l t he  i s not o n l y i n v o l v e d i n a t r i v i a l - though f o r a prom-  i n e n t lawyer somewhat s c a n d a l o u s - brush w i t h the p o l i c e , but h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s w i f e , who deteriorates. i s o l a t e d and  i s h e r s e l f c l o s e t o a nervous breakdown,  E t h a n q u i c k l y becomes, l i k e most of Lowry's h e r o e s , paranoiac;  he i s e s t r a n g e d from h i s w i f e and  son,  afraid  of the p o l i c e j and c o n s t a n t l y imagines people to be l a u g h i n g b e h i n d h i s back over h i s a r r e s t .  -87As the t a l l y o f unseasonable storms,  paranormal d i s a s t e r s , and  uncaused f i r e s mounts up, Ethan i n c r e a s i n g l y sees h i m s e l f as b e i n g pursued by some s u p e r n a t u r a l agency i n t e n t on d e s t r o y i n g him; y e t w i t h the c o l l a p s e o f the d i s t i n c t i o n between the i n n e r and o u t e r w o r l d s , the p o s s i b i l i t y always remains t h a t the agency i s E t h a n h i m s e l f ; t h e r e appeared t o be no f e b r i f u g e a g a i n s t t h i s double s i c k n e s s , t h i s i n t e r p e n e t r a t i n g f e v e r o f madness, where e f f e c t j o s t l e d cause i n a wrong d i m e n s i o n and r e a l i t y i t s e l f seemed euchred . . . . i n s a n i t y and nightmare seemed t o f l o w i n t o l i f e and back a g a i n w i t h o u t h i n d r a n c e , t o the f r e n z i e d i n f e c t i o n o f both. For a l t h o u g h E t h a n ,  on the one hand, i s the Good S a m a r i t a n , "the  h e l p e r o f the l i t t l e man," he i s a l s o the Wandering Jew, the man who struck Christ. to  F o r Lowry, p a r t o f the c o n d i t i o n o f b e i n g human i s  p a r t a k e o f the dark side' o f man's n a t u r e , and so t o share mankind's  c o l l e c t i v e g u i l t ; "had he, E t h a n ,  s t r u c k Him?"  Ethan asks h i m s e l f ,  7 and r e p l i e s "he, E t h a n , had s t r u c k Him."  A g a i n , Ethan's name b r i n g s  to mind Hawthorne's c h a r a c t e r E t h a n Brand (another man a s s o c i a t e d w i t h f i r e ) , who spent h i s l i f e i n s e a r c h o f the u n f o r g i v e a b l e s i n , and f i n a l l y found i t w i t h i n h i s own h e a r t .  L i k e the Wandering Jew, E t h a n  L l e w e l y n " i s s a i d t o do much good among the townspeople," b u t under the s t r e s s a r i s i n g o u t o f h i s p e r s e c u t i o n and h i s p a r a n o i c f e a r of o t h e r s , h i s g u i l t and h a t r e d emerge: . ... f e a r s o f y e t another day d a r k e n i n g t o i t s end w i t h a sense o f g u i l t . And o u t o f the f e a r s grew w i l d h a t r e d s , g r e a t u n r e a s o n i n g e s e m p l a s t i c h a t r e d s : h a t r e d o f people who l o o k e d a t him so s t r a n g e l y i n the s t r e e t : l o n g - f o r g o t t e n h a t r e d s of schoolmates who'd p e r s e c u t e d him about h i s eyes at s c h o o l : h a t r e d o f the day t h a t ever gave him b i r t h t o be the s u f f e r i n g c r e a t u r e he was, h a t r e d of a w o r l d where your house burned down w i t h no r e a s o n , h a t r e d o f h i m s e l f , and out o f a l l t h i s g  h a t r e d d i d n o t grow s l e e p .  -88The Wandering Jew seeks r e s t i n d e a t h ; l i k e him, Ethan i s p r e e m i n e n t l y a man who i s a l l o w e d no r e s t . many o f h i s images o f man:  I n the lawyer Lowry b r i n g s t o g e t h e r  l i k e the C o n s u l , Ethan i s a b l a c k m a g i c i a n ,  a man possessed by demons; l i k e the Sigbj«5rn W i l d e r n e s s o f "Through the  Panama", he i s a type o f the A n c i e n t M a r i n e r , a g u i l t - l a d e n  wanderer;  l i k e Hugh i n Under the V o l c a n o and B i l l P l a n t a g e n e t i n  "Swinging the M a e l s t r o m " , he a t t e m p t s t o be the Good S a m a r i t a n . of  these images, o f c o u r s e , c o n t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which  Each  conflict  w i t h one a n o t h e r ; Ethan i s a man d i v i d e d a g a i n s t h i m s e l f , and the outward t u r m o i l o f the elements i s an e x a c t c o u n t e r p a r t t o the inward chaos o f h i s mind. The c o n f u s i o n between the s u b j e c t i v e and o b j e c t i v e i s never e n t i r e l y resolved.  A f t e r h i s attempt t o escape from h i m s e l f by g o i n g t o the  cinema - an attempt which f a i l s because the f i l m t u r n s out t o be no l e s s than a s y m b o l i c r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f h i s own p l i g h t - E t h a n c o n c l u d e s , i n the l i b r a r y , t h a t "The o n l y haunted house was the human mind. the  And  human mind was t h a t o f a m a g i c i a n . . . who had f o r g o t t e n the use 9  of  h i s powers, b u t from time t o time c o u l d n o t h e l p u s i n g them."  Other ' i n t e l l i g e n c e s ' may e x i s t , but the r e a l d e s t r o y e r i s man h i m s e l f ; " n o t h i n g " , Ethan r e a l i z e s , "was s u p e r n a t u r a l " (Lowry's For  italics).  a moment the problem seems t o be s o l v e d ; a l t h o u g h the i n t e r a c t i o n  between Ethan's mind and the o u t s i d e w o r l d remains ' o c c u l t ' i n t h a t i t i s , i n .^.everyday terms, i n e x p l i c a b l e , the f i r e s and o t h e r c a l a m i t i e s appear t o be the r e s u l t o f Ethan's own impulse t o s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n o p e r a t i n g i n the w o r l d beyond him. Y e t as Ethan moves towards  this  c o n c l u s i o n the demon which possesses him r e a s s e r t s i t s e x i s t e n c e .  -89-  S k i p p i n g through  C h a r l e s F o r t ' s W i l d T a l e n t s , Ethan comes a c r o s s  account of the u n e x p l a i n e d Thurston was  death by f i r e of J . Temple  an  Thurston.  presumably the author of the p l a y The Wandering  Jew  from which the f i l m E t h a n has j u s t seen had been adapted, and a scene i n the f i l m i s s t r o n g l y r e m i n i s c e n t of the c i r c u m s t a n c e s author's  of the  death.  Ethan's f i r s t r e a c t i o n t o t h i s c o i n c i d e n c e i s e l a t i o n ; he as d i d Cosnahan a f t e r m e e t i n g Rosemary, l i k e a m a g i c i a n who  feels,  has  had  h i s powers r e s t o r e d to him.  L a t e r , however, h a v i n g r e t u r n e d t o the  beer p a r l o r , he e x p e r i e n c e s  a ' d i s i l l u m i n a t i o n ' , an i n v e r s i o n of the  e c s t a t i c harmony of "The  F o r e s t Path t o the S p r i n g " , i n which he  becomes c o m p l e t e l y i d e n t i f i e d w i t h the s o r d i d s u f f e r i n g and i m p l i c i t i n the  misery  bar:  i t was as though, h a v i n g v i s u a l i z e d a l l t h i s w i t h h i s eyes shut now he were i t - - t h e s e w a l l s , these t a b l e s , t h a t c o r r i d o r , w i t h the huge woman from Gravesend, f l a t on her back m o t i o n l e s s i n i t , obdurate as the t r u t h t h i s beer p a r l o r , t h i s p l a c e o f garboons h a r d by the L a u r e n t i a n S h i e l d . i t was l i k e s e e i n g a l l the s e n s e l e s s t r i c k e r i e s and t r e a c h e r i e s a l c o h o l had here imposed on the mind; a l l the m i s e r y , m i s c h i e f , w r e t c h e d n e s s , i l l u s i o n s : y e s , the sum of a l l the hangovers t h a t had been a c q u i r e d h e r e , and q u i t e o v e r l o o k i n g those t h a t had been h e a l e d . Ethan's v i s i o n i s one of u n r e l i e v e d h o r r o r , an "Image or s t a t e of b e i n g t h a t , f i n a l l y appeared to i m p l y , r e p r e s e n t , an u n r e a l i t y , a d e s o l a t i o n , d i s o r d e r , f a l s i t y t h a t was  beyond e v i l . "  The w o r l d r e v e a l e d to  him,  l i k e t h a t of Lunar C a u s t i c , i s one whose " h a l f - d a r k n e s s q u i v e r e d w i t h 11 the a n g u i s h of s e p a r a t i o n from the r e a l l i g h t , "  a p l a c e where " n e i t h e r  death nor s u i c i d e c o u l d e v e r be a s o l u t i o n , s i n c e n o t h i n g here had  -90been s u f f i c i e n t l y r e a l i z e d e v e r to possess l i f e . "  12  The  o f t h i s w o r l d i s a product of the f a i l u r e o f man's m a g i c a l for,  incompleteness powers;  as the c o n t e x t makes c l e a r , ' r e a l i z e d ' c a r r i e s the overtones  of  F o r t ' s use o f ' v i s u a l i z a t i o n ' - to imagine a s i t u a t i o n , and i n i m a g i n i n g it,  to create that s i t u a t i o n .  Man  has e i t h e r f a i l e d t o c r e a t e h i m s e l f ,  o r he has been i m p e r f e c t l y ' v i s u a l i z e d ' by h i s c r e a t o r . E t h a n i s a b l e , e v e n t u a l l y , to r e s o l v e h i s ' d i s i l l u m i n a t i o n ' the e x p e r i e n c e o f hope.  and  o f the whole " c o l l i s i o n o f c o n t i n g e n c i e s " i n t o a message  The m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f a p a t t e r n i n a s e r i e s of e v e n t s ,  he  d e c i d e s , a s s e r t s , even when the p a t t e r n appears d i a b o l i c a l , the of a u n i v e r s e which i s c r e a t e d .  Man  flux  alone i s unable t o p e r c e i v e  f l u x ; o n l y when brought up a g a i n s t such a strange c o n c a t e n a t i o n occurences i s he  "vouchsafed  of c r e a t i o n i t s e l f . "  ...  a glimpse  this of  i n t o the v e r y w o r k i n g s  M e d i t a t i n g upon t h i s , Ethan has a momentary  v i s i o n o f the process of c r e a t i o n which i s not u n l i k e t h a t which concludes  "The  F o r e s t Path to the S p r i n g " :  E t h a n seemed t o see b e f o r e h i s eyes whole u n i v e r s e s e t e r n a l l y c o n d e n s i n g and r e c o n d e n s i n g themselves out o f the ' i m m a t e r i a l ' i n t o the ' m a t e r i a l ' , and as a t the c o n t i n u e d v i s u a l i s a t i o n of t h e i r C r e a t o r , b e i n g r a d i a t e d back a g a i n . W h i l e meantime here on e a r t h the ' m a t e r i a l ' was o n l y c o g n i s a b l e through the mind of man!''3  S i n c e man  cannot p e r c e i v e the c o n s t a n t i n t e r c h a n g e between the ' m a t e r i a l '  and the ' i m m a t e r i a l ' , he cannot d i s t i n g u i s h between the ' r e a l ' and 'imaginary', by the d e v i l .  o r know whether he i s b e i n g e n l i g h t e n e d by God or  deceived  N e v e r t h e l e s s E t h a n i s a b l e to ask " c o u l d n ' t the meaning,  the message, f o r them, be s i m p l y t h a t t h e r e had been a message a t 14 all?"  the  (Lowry's i t a l i c s ) .  H i s c o n c l u s i o n i s not t h a t he i n any  -91sense c r e a t e d the sequence o f c o i n c i d e n c e s h i m s e l f , b u t t h a t i t i s a p r o d u c t o f the c r e a t i v e f o r c e which makes- and remakes t h e u n i v e r s e . But any hope which might be i m p l i e d by t h i s t e n t a t i v e r e s o l u t i o n i s u n d e r c u t i n t h e c l o s i n g passage o f t h e s t o r y , when t h e L l e w e l y n s , t r y i n g t o escape from t h e element, a r e f o l l o w e d by f i r e a c r o s s the P r a i r i e s , and a r r i v e i n Vancouver o n l y t o see a f i s h e r m a n ' s shack a c r o s s the B u r r a r d I n l e t b u r n i n g . " ' T h i s shack, b u i l t on p i l e s , takes 1  us back t o the p i l e - d w e l l i n g s o f t h e N i c o b a r I s l a n d e r s , which a r e d e s c r i b e d i n a ' f i l l e r ' i n the opening newspaper sequence as b e i n g among t h e w o r l d ' s most a n c i e n t type o f homes.  The element i s s t i l l  f o l l o w i n g the L l e w e l y n s around, d e s t r o y i n g the p o s s i b i l i t y o f peace and s e c u r i t y s y m b o l i z e d by t h e shack. In  "Ghostkeeper" Lowry r e t u r n s a g a i n t o the theme o f t h e s e a r c h  for  p a r a d i s e , and e x p l o r e s a m o t i f which i s r a i s e d b r i e f l y i n Dark As  the  Grave, when S i g b j ^ r n l e a r n s t h a t t h e c o r r e c t t r a n s l a t i o n o f t h e  w a r n i n g which r u n s through Under t h e V o l c a n o ('Le g u s t a e s t e j a r d i n ? . . .') i s : "Do you l i k e t h i s garden which i s y o u r s ?  See t o i t t h a t  16 i t i s thus:  t h a t your c h i l d r e n don t d e s t r o y i t . "  Here a g a i n ,  however, we see a w o r l d i n w h i c h t h e f a m i l i a r c o n d i t i o n s o f everyday l i f e f a i l to hold.  The s e t t i n g , c h a r a c t e r s , and a c t i o n a r e a l l remin-  i s c e n t o f "The B r a v e s t Boat", b u t as Tom and Mary Goodheart walk through S t a n l e y Park a d i s t u r b i n g s e r i e s o f c o i n c i d e n c e s b u i l d s up.  Tom has  l o s t h i s watch; he meets an Englishman who has a l s o l o s t a watch and a Frenchman who t r i e s t o s e l l him one, l a t e r r e t u r n s a watch t o the  man who had dropped i t , and f i n a l l y p i c k s up a watch  inscribed  w i t h t h e name 'Henrik Ghostkeeper' - the name which had been w r i t t e n  -92-  i n c h a l k on a r u i n e d l i f e b o a t which he had i n t e r p r e t e d as a bad omen. There a r e i n d i c a t i o n s o f u n n a t u r a l e v e n t s ; the h e a d l i n e on a s p i r i t u a l i s t newspaper reads "Policemen Pursue P o l t e r g e i s t " , Mary reads an account of a f l y i n g saucer s i g h t i n g , and a tree-house f a l l s onto a bench which they had almost s a t on.  A l t h o u g h the time and p l a c e o f the s t o r y  are g i v e n p r e c i s e l y (Lowry g i v e s the e x a c t d a t e , and takes the o p p o r t u n i t y , when the couple r e a c h P r o s p e c t P o i n t , o f r e c o r d i n g the l a t i t u d e and l o n g i t u d e t o the n e a r e s t second), the time and space o f the w o r l d which Tom and Mary p e r c e i v e a r e g r a v e l y d i s o r i e n t e d ; i n the f a c e o f t h i s t h e sober a d v i c e on the p i c t u r e o f George V - "Keep Calm and C a r r y On" - appears, t o say the l e a s t ,  inadequate.  The p r o t a g o n i s t i s , t h e n , a g a i n c o n f r o n t e d w i t h the i d e a t h a t h i s l i f e i s b e i n g shaped by an o u t s i d e i n t e l l i g e n c e , s y m b o l i z e d , as Lowry t e l l s u s ,  1 7  by the name 'Henrik G h o s t k e e p e r . 1  L i k e Ethan,  Goodheart f e e l s t h a t h i s e x p e r i e n c e o f f e r s a c l u e t o the 'meaning' o f the u n i v e r s e , b u t the c l u e suggests a c o n f u s i n g m u l t i p l i c i t y o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s ; a v o i c e "as from h a l f way up i n the a i r " asks h i m : "What about the wheels w i t h i n wheels, Mr. Goodheart,  and n o t m e r e l y  the wheels w i t h i n wheels, b u t the wheels w i t h i n wheels w i t h i n Mr. Goodheart,  t h a t a r e even now s t i l l  t u r n i n g and e v o l v i n g newer, 18  y e t more w o n d e r f u l and more meaningless m e a n i n g s — . the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f Goodheart's  wheels,  , . Lowry e x p l a i n s  e x p e r i e n c e i n a l o n g note t o the s t o r y :  The mind i s not equipped t o l o o k a t the t r u t h . Perhaps people g e t i n k l i n g s o f t h a t t r u t h on the l o w e s t plane when they d r i n k t o o much or g o - c r a z y and become d e l i r i o u s b u t i t can't be stomached, c e r t a i n l y n o t from t h a t s o r t o f upside-down and r e v e r s e d p o s i t i o n . Not t h a t the t r u t h i s 'bad' or 'good': i t s i m p l y is_, i s i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e ,  -93and though one i s p a r t of i t , t h e r e i s too much of i t to grasp a t once, o r i t i s ungraspable, being p e r p e t u a l l y P r o t e a n . ^ Hence a f i n a l need p r o b a b l y f o r an acceptance of one's l i m i t a t i o n s , and of the absurd i n o n e s e l f . So f i n a l l y even t h i s s t o r y i s absurd which i s an i m p o r t a n t p a r t of the p o i n t i f any, s i n c e t h a t i t s h o u l d have none whatsoever seems p a r t 20 of the p o i n t t o o . The  i n t e l l e c t alone cannot f i n d t r u t h or meaning i n l i f e , even when  g i v e n such c l u e s as the c o n c a t e n a t i o n s  o f events found i n "The  Element  F o l l o w s You Around, S i r ! " and "Ghostkeeper"; i t can a t b e s t apprehend t h a t t h e r e i s a meaning, but i t cannot deduce what t h a t meaning might be.  Tom's r e l e a s e comes not on an i n t e l l e c t u a l but an e m o t i o n a l suddenly h i s f e a r was t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o l o v e , l o v e f o r h i s w i f e , and t h a t m e a n i n g l e s s , menacing f e a r was t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o a s p r i n g wood b e a r i n g w i t h i t the s c e n t o f peach blossoms and w i l d cherry blossoms.  plane:  2 1  T h i s r e s o l u t i o n - i t s e l f r e m i n i s c e n t o f the c l o s e o f " H o t e l Room i n C h a r t r e s " , w r i t t e n some twenty y e a r s e a r l i e r - might serve as an epitome o f Lowry's work.  Each p r o t a g o n i s t searches  f o r a meaning  i n the w o r l d which w i l l g i v e h i s l i f e a c o n t e x t ; but the answer t o 'the problem o f l i f e  1  i s seen t o l i e , i f anywhere, not i n i t s s o l u t i o n  but i n i t s d i s a p p e a r a n c e .  I n "The  Last Address", S i g b j ^ r n L a w h i l l  i s unable to f i n d any answer, and can o n l y t r y to opt out of the w o r l d ; B i l l P l a n t a g e n e t , on the o t h e r hand, i s f i n a l l y a b l e t o f i n d r e l e a s e from h i m s e l f through a c t i o n .  Sigbj«5rn W i l d e r n e s s ,  i n the M e x i c a n  n o v e l s , i s r e b o r n not because he i s a t l a s t a b l e to r e c o n c i l e the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s i n the w o r l d about him, but because he comes to an i n t u i t i v e comprehension of h i m s e l f i n r e l a t i o n t o h i s w i f e , t o h i s p a s t , and to the t o t a l g e s t a l t o f the u n i v e r s e .  I n "Through the Panama"  -94Sigbjc^rn i s p a r a l y z e d by h i s s c h i z o p h r e n i c p e r c e p t i o n o f a jumbled r e a l i t y ; h i s escape comes w i t h the r e a l i z a t i o n o f h i s c a p a c i t y f o r l o v e and compassion.  And, o f c o u r s e , the m u l t i p l e p r o t a g o n i s t o f Hear  Us 0 L o r d , who i s f a c e d w i t h the whole c o n f u s i o n o f c i v i l i z a t i o n and  p a s t , f i n d s 'meaning' i n human l i f e  present  through a slow i n t e g r a t i o n  i n t o the w o r l d o u t s i d e him. D. H. Lawrence s a i d o f c h i l d r e n "They were one l i v i n g continuum w i t h a l l the u n i v e r s e . s t a t e o f innocence,  This i s the e s s e n t i a l  o f n a i v e t e , and i t i s the p e r s i s t e n c e o f t h i s  s t a t e a l l through l i f e , as the b a s i c s t a t e o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s , preserves  the human b e i n g a l l h i s l i f e  which  f r e s h and a l i v e , a t r u e  indivi-  22 dual."  Lowry's answer t o man's a l i e n a t i o n i s t o seek t h i s  living  continuum w i t h the u n i v e r s e ; and i t i s found when the i s o l a t e d is  subsumed i n t o community w i t h  another.  self  -95-  FOOTNOTES:  CHAPTER I V  The f i r s t d r a f t o f t h i s s t o r y i s h e l d i n the S p e c i a l C o l l e c t i o n s D i v i s i o n of the U.B.C. L i b r a r y ; a d d i t i o n a l m a t e r i a l i s p u b l i s h e d i n P e r l e E p s t e i n ' s The P r i v a t e L a b y r i n t h of Malcolm Lowry (New Y o r k : 1969). 2 Show Magazine, March 1964, pp. 45-103. R e p r i n t e d i n W i n t e r ' s T a l e s I I , ed. A.D. Maclean (New Y o r k : 1965), pp. 83-119. 3 G e o f f r e y F i r m i n , f o r example, i s a b l a c k m a g i c i a n , Cosnahan a w h i t e m a g i c i a n and w a t e r - d i v i n e r , and K r i s t b j o r g , i n "The F o r e s t Path t o the S p r i n g " , appears momentarily as a m a g i c i a n . I n "Present E s t a t e o f P o m p e i i " we come a c r o s s s e a - s e r p e n t s and f l y i n g s a u c e r s , w h i l e Sigbjc^rn W i l d e r n e s s i s possessed by h i s 'daemon'. 4 T h i s n o v e l i s b e i n g e d i t e d f o r p u b l i c a t i o n by Mrs. Lowry, and has n o t been a v a i l a b l e f o r s t u d y . ^Lowry and the C a b b a l a , p. 225. 6  Winter's  T a l e s I I , p. 84.  7  i b i d . , p. 103.  g i b i d . , p. 93. 9  i b i d . , p. 109.'  " ^ i b i d . , p. 114. "''See Chapter I , n o t e . 12 ' W i n t e r 's T a l e s I I , p. 115. 13 i b i d . , pp. 116- 7. 1  14 i b i d . , p. 117. ^ P e r h a p s t h i s i s t h e W i l d e r n e s s ' shack, i n w h i c h case i t would have added s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the c o n t e x t of the sequence of n o v e l s Lowry e n v i s i o n e d . The p o i n t may be r e s o l v e d w i t h the p u b l i c a t i o n of October Ferry to Gabriola.  -9616  Dark As the Grave Wherein My F r i e n d I s L a i d ( T o r o n t o : G e n e r a l P u b l i s h i n g , 1968), p. 140. "^Lowry and the C a b b a l a , p.  227.  18 i b i d . , p.  228.  19 C. f . the 'Proteus P a t h ' i n "The F o r e s t Path to the S p r i n g . " 20 Lowry and the C a b b a l a , p.  228.  ibid. 22 D. H. Lawrence, P h o e n i x , ed. Edward D. McDonald (London: Heinemann, 1961), p. 761.  William  -97BIBLIOGRAPHY  Note:  S e c t i o n A l i s t s the p u b l i s h e d works of Lowry which a r e r e f e r r e d to or d i s c u s s e d i n t h i s t h e s i s . • S e c t i o n B g i v e s the b i o g r a p h i c a l m a t e r i a l on which my I n t r o d u c t i o n i s , i n p a r t , based. There i s v i r t u a l l y no c r i t i c i s m o f Lowry's work o t h e r than Under the V o l c a n o a v a i l a b l e as y e t ; the items I have l i s t e d i n S e c t i o n C o f f e r o n l y the b e g i n n i n g s o f a c r i t i c a l a p p r a i s a l .  S e c t i o n A: Dark As the Grave Wherein My F r i e n d I s L a i d , ed. Douglas Day and M a r g e r i e Lowry. T o r o n t o : G e n e r a l P u b l i s h i n g , 1968. "The Element F o l l o w s You Around, S i r ! " Show Magazine, March, 1964, pp. 45-103; and W i n t e r ' s T a l e s , ed. A.D. Maclean. New York: S t . M a r t i n ' s P r e s s , 1965, pp. 83-119. "Garden o f E t l a v V  U n i t e d N a t i o n s World, 4 (June 1950), pp. 45-47.  "Ghostkeeper." S e l e c t i o n s and commentary i n P e r l e E p s t e i n ' s The P r i v a t e L a b y r i n t h of M a l c o l m Lowry: 'Under the V o l c a n o ' and the Cabbala (New Y o r k : H o l t , R i n e h a r t and W i n s t o n , 1969), pp. 226-8. Hear Us 0 Lord From Heaven Thy D w e l l i n g P l a c e . L i p p i n c o t t Company, 1961. " H o t e l Room i n C h a r t r e s . " " I n Le Havre."  S t o r y , 5 (September  L i f e and L e t t e r s , X:55  New Y o r k :  J . B.  1934), pp. 53-58.  ( J u l y 1934), pp. 462-6.  Lunar C a u s t i c , ed. E a r l e B i r n e y and M a r g e r i e Lowry. P a r i s Review, 29 (Winter S p r i n g 1963), pp. 15-72. Separate e d i t i o n p u b l i s h e d by Jonathan Cape (London: 1968). "Outward Bound."  S e l e c t i o n s and commentary i n E p s t e i n , pp. 225-6.  The S e l e c t e d L e t t e r s of M a l c o l m Lowry, ed. Harvey B r e i t and M a r g e r i e Lowry. London: Jonathan Cape^ 1967. S e l e c t e d Poems o f M a l c o l m Lowry, ed. E a r l e B i r n e y w i t h the a s s i s t a n c e of M a r g e r i e Lowry. San F r a n c i s c o : C i t y L i g h t s , 1962. Ultramarine. London: Jonathan Cape, 1933. by Jonathan Cape (London: 1963). Under the V o l c a n o .  New Y o r k :  Revised e d i t i o n  Reynal & H i t c h c o c k ,  1947.  published  -98S e c t i o n B: A i k e n , Conrad. "Conrad A i k e n : an I n t e r v i e w . " (Winter S p r i n g 1968), pp. 97-124. .  "Malcolm L o w r y — A N o t e . "  P a r i s Review,  42  Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 8 ( S p r i n g  1961), pp. 29-30. .  Ushant.  New Y o r k :  Meridian,  1962.  C a l d e r - M a r s h a l l , A r t h u r . "A P o r t r a i t o f M a l c o l m Lowry c o m p i l e d by A r t h u r C a l d e r - M a r s h a l l . " The L i s t e n e r , 78-2011 (12 October 1967), pp. 461-3. K n i c k e r b o c k e r , Conrad. "Swinging the P a r a d i s e S t r e e t B l u e s : M a l c o l m Lowry i n E n g l a n d . " P a r i s Review, 38 (Summer 1966), pp. 13-38. Lowry, M a r g e r i e . " B i o g r a p h i c a l Note on M a l c o l m Lowry." l i s h e d by J . B. L i p p i n c o t t Company ( P h i l a d e l p h i a :  A note pub1961).  S e c t i o n C: Anon. P.  "A Prose Waste Land." 338.  Times L i t e r a r y Supplement, May  11, 1962,  Bradbury, Malcolm. /Review o f Hear Us 0 L o r d and Under the V o l c a n g7 . C r i t i c a l Q u a r t e r l y , 4:4 ( W i n t e r 1962), pp. 377-9. Day, Douglas. I n t r o d u c t i o n t o Dark As the Grave Wherein My F r i e n d I s L a i d . See S e c t i o n A above. Edmonds, D a l e . "The S h o r t F i c t i o n of Malcolm Lowry." i n E n g l i s h , XV (1967), pp. 59-80. K i l g a l l i n , A. R. "Lowry Posthumous." 1969), pp. 80-83.  Tulane S t u d i e s  Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 39 (Winter  Matthews, M i c h a e l . /^Review of Hear Us 0 L o r d and S e l e c t e d Poems7. B r i t i s h Columbia L i b r a r y Q u a r t e r l y , 26:4 ( A p r i l 1963), pp. 31-33. Read, F o r r e s t . ^Review of Hear Us 0 Lord7. pp. 190-2.  Epoch, XI :3 ( F a l l  1961),  R o b e r t s o n , Anthony. "Aspects o f the Quest i n the M i n o r F i c t i o n o f M a l c o l m Lowry." M.A. t h e s i s , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, May 1966. Woodcock, George. "Under Seymour M o u n t a i n . " ( S p r i n g 1961), pp. 3-6.  Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 8  

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