A shamanic visionary: the intercontinental inspiration of Malcolm Lowry’s magic

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Abstract

This paper examines the nature of the magic of Malcolm Lowry (1909-57), a product of his voluminous reading of Anglo-American and European literature, as well as of a highly inquisitive mind. In considering the spiritual odyssey of Sigbjørn Wilderness in Dark as the Grave Wherin My Friend is Laid (1968) and La Mordida (1996), together with the celestial spirit of Eridanus in The Forest Path to the Spring (1961), it investigates Lowry’s cultural renaissance in his search for freedom and moral values in a warring world in crisis. The hypotheses of Walter Benjamin, Oswald Spengler, and Sir John Polkinghorne are considered in terms of their relationship to the rational, scientific, and technological intellect of the Enlightenment, raising the fundamental question of what it means to be human. Lowry’s attempts to attain a higher state of consciousness and self-revelation are analysed in his quest to determine how mankind can realize its full potential. In his aspirations towards a Benjaminian, neo-Romantic return to greater harmony with the natural environment, emotional and spiritual needs are identified. The Forest Path to the Spring – with its soul of Eridanus –reconciles many Lowrian preoccupations by tapping onto the power of the imagination. Relating the earthly to the cosmic, the natural to a supernatural universe, Lowry’s shamanic vision balances a combination of the rational, scientific, and materialistic intellects of the Enlightenment, on the one hand, with the conscious perceiving and subconscious imaginative minds of Romanticism, on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMalcolm Lowry
Subtitle of host publicationFifty Years On International Symposium
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2007
EventMalcolm Lowry: Fifty Years On International Symposium - Centre for Modernist Studies, University of Sussex
Duration: 27 Jun 2007 → …

Conference

ConferenceMalcolm Lowry: Fifty Years On International Symposium
Period27/06/07 → …

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