Psychogeographic Impact on Malcolm Lowry's Consciousness: From the Zapotec and Aztec Civilizations to Taoism

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This paper provides an intercontinental, cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary framework for an analysis of the influence of cultures and civilizations - both east and west – upon literature and national identity. It investigates the evolution of the cosmic consciousness of the English Modernist novelist and poet, Malcolm Lowry (1909-57) by scrutinizing the psychogeographic and subconscious dimensions of the Mexican Day of the Dead Hispanic festival which he observed in Cuernavaca in 1936. In its analysis of the material and spiritual domains of both the Aztecs and the Oaxacan Zapotecs, it considers anthropological, cultural, and ethnographic influences associated with pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican rituals. In doing so, it determines Lowry’s dedication to his quest for atonement with the spirits of the dead in works, such as 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 his need to repent for the debts of the past and for the alienating sins of mankind, synergies are made with cosmic, shamanic, and animist concepts of the universe, as reflected in the celestial visions of the Aztec and Zapotec civilizations. In pursuit of Lowry’s search for universal harmony, 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)4-9
Number of pages6
JournalThe IAFOR Academic Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


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