From Russia to Eridanus: The Taoist Psychogeographic Ecosphere of Malcolm Lowry

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In tracing the evolution of the cosmic consciousness of Malcolm Lowry (1909-57), a prominently significant English Modernist novelist and poet, this paper provides a multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural, intercontinental framework for analysing the influence of cultures and civilizations - both east and west – upon national identity, as expressed through literature. In its investigation of the material and spiritual domains of the Aztecs and Oaxacan Zapotecs, it considers anthropological, cultural, and ethnographic influences associated with pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican rituals. Hence, it scrutinizes the psychogeographic ecosphere and subconscious dimensions of the Mexican Day of the Dead Hispanic festival observed by Lowry in Cuernavaca in 1936. It also evaluates his dedication to a quest for atonement with the spirits of the dead 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 recognition of Lowry’s need to repent for the debts of the past and for the alienating sins of mankind, synergies are made with the animist, cosmic, and shamanic concepts of the universe reflected in the celestial visions of the Aztec and Zapotec civilizations. In pursuit of Lowry’s search for universal harmony from Russia to Mexico, and on to Canada, cosmopolitan connections are established between the rhythms of the universe reflected in Aztec and Zapotec world-views, the significance of the Pleiades star cluster, the intergalactic symbol of Eridanus, and the philosophical concepts of Taoism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-87
Number of pages19
JournalIAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


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