Aztecs and Zapotecs: The Day of the Dead and the Cosmic Phantoms of Malcolm Lowry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


On the basis of a recent field-trip to Mexico, this paper advances the thesis of my 2009 Malcolm Lowry Centenary International Conference paper on ‘Souls and Shamans’ presented at UBC, Vancouver which considered the cultural, psychological, and spiritual links between Lowry’s cosmic, terrestrial, subterranean, and aquatic world-views. In assessing the interface between the material and spiritual domains perceived by both the Aztecs and the Oaxacan Zapotecs, it examines the subconscious dimensions of the Mexican Day of the Dead festival witnessed by Malcolm Lowry in 1936. It investigates anthropological, cultural, and ethnographic influences, dating back to pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican rituals, reflected in Under the Volcano (1947), Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend is Laid (1968), La Mordida (1996), and The Forest Path to the Spring (1961). In establishing Lowry’s preoccupation with seeking atonement with the spirits of the dead and his recognition of the need to repent for the debts of the past and for the sins of mankind, synergies are made with the cosmic, shamanic, and animist concepts of the universe, expressed by the divine consciousness of the Aztec and Zapotec civilizations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMalcolm Lowry, Encore International Conference
Place of PublicationCentre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle, France
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2012
EventMalcolm Lowry, Encore International Conference - Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle, France, 27th June – 4th July, 2012
Duration: 2 Jul 2012 → …


ConferenceMalcolm Lowry, Encore International Conference
Period2/07/12 → …


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