Sursum Corda!: 1947-1957

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University of Toronto Press, 1995 - 800 páginas
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The general tone of this second volume of letters is considerably darker than that of the first. Though Under the Volcano (published in 1947) was behind Lowry, it would never leave him alone. The success of the novel became a curse: he could not avoid helping his translators; he longed for a film treatment of the book; he found it difficult to become fully engaged in new work; the celebrity associated with a best-seller was, as he put it in a poem, a 'disaster' akin to your house burning down.

Illnessses, the death of friends, threats of eviction from his beloved foreshore Dollarton home, and drink plagued Lowry. And yet, he made repeated attempts to escape his personal abysses. He made new friends, re-established a good working relationship with his editor Albert Erskine, began several new projects, and continued to write superb letters. The more than 400 included here, all written during the last decade of his life, reveal a man fascinated with films, bristling with plans for his masterwork The Voyage That Never Ends, eager to discuss the virtues of Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Cocteau, and the work of friends like Gerald Noxon or Jimmy Stern. There is also a selection from his several hundred 'love notes' written to Margerie Lowry and pinned to places in the Dollarton shack or to trees along the 'forest path to spring.' These notes, like much else in the volume, are published here for the first time, providing interesting glimpses into Lowry's private world. The letters written just before his sudden death in England in 1957 are among his most moving; they reveal a weariness of spirit, a deep regret for the loss of his Dollarton paradise, but also the courage, self-deprecating humour, love of language, and keen intelligence that characterize everything he wrote.

In addition to a critical introduction and detailed chronologies, this volume includes photographs, many of the drawings with which Lowry illustrated his letters, and reproductions of holograph letters.

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Acerca del autor (1995)

Clarence Malcolm Lowry was born on July 28, 1909 in Cheshire, England. He attended Braeside School, Caldicote School and the Leys School, Cambridge before sailing to the Far East as a deckhand in the summer of 1927. Upon his return in 1929, Lowry settled down to his education, first studying with poet and novelist Conrad Aiken for several months and then entering St. Catherine's College, Cambridge University, England. He graduated in 1932 with a B.A. in English and published his first novel, "Ultramarine," in 1933. In 1934, he married Jan Gabrail in Paris, but was tormented by emotional problems. After spending some time in the psychiatric wing of Bellevue Hospital in New York, he began work on his next book, "Lunar Caustic" in 1935. The next year, he and his wife moved to Mexico where he began writing "Under the Volcano." Over the next 10 years, work on the book continued, despite personal crises that included a divorce and remarriage, moves from Mexico to Los Angeles to Vancouver, and the destruction of his home by fire. "Under the Volcano" was finally published in New York on February 19, 1947 and in London on September 1, 1947. The book has since become a classic, but unfortunately its themes of alcoholism and failure were all too genuine a part of Lowry's life. While he continued to write and to travel, the remainder of his life was plagued by the severe emotional problems brought about by his excessive drinking. Malcolm Lowry died on June 27, 1957 in the English village of Ripe, Sussex.

Sherrill E. Grace is a professor in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia.

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