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Swinging the Maelstrom

Swinging the Maelstrom: A Critical Edition

Edited by VIK DOYEN
Explanatory Notes by CHRIS ACKERLEY
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Swinging the Maelstrom
    Book Description:

    Swinging the Maelstromis Lowry's story of a musician enduring existence in Bellevue, the psychiatric hospital in New York where Lowry himself spent some days in 1936. The novella, written in Canada between 1942 and 1944, during Lowry's happiest and most fruitful years, reveals the deep influence on Lowry of the healing experience of his idyllic retreat at Dollarton.The novella by Malcolm Lowry that appeared inParis Reviewin 1963 under the title "Lunar Caustic," and was published in book form in 1968 does not match the claims made for it by his widow Margerie Lowry of it being the final and definitive version of that work. This text is neither the version which Lowry wrote in New York City in 1936 ("The Last Address"), nor the partially revised version he drafted in Vancouver in 1939 (still called "The Last Address"), nor the radically transformed version that he undertook in Dollarton between 1942 and 1944 ("Swinging the Maelstrom"). In a long letter of January 1952 to the influential New York editor and publisher Robert Giroux, Lowry stated clearly that "Swinging the Maelstrom" should be considered as the final, completed version of the novella (which meanwhile had acquired its new title "Lunar Caustic") and that "The Last Address" should be "looked on as simply the material from which I worked up 'Swinging the Maelstrom'."The present long overdue scholarly edition reveals the exact status of all the "Lunar Caustic" manuscripts, including the posthumous mix of two versions in published form. The book includes scholarly editions of both "Swinging the Maelstrom" and "The Last Address," thus offering the reader unique insight into Lowry's work. The present edition will allow scholars to engage in a genetic study of Lowry's novella and reconstruct, step by step, the creative process that developed from a rather pessimistic and misanthropic vision of the world as a madhouse (the 1936 version of "The Last Address"), via the apocalyptic metaphors of a world on the brink of Armageddon at the beginning of World War II (the 1939 revisions of the "The Last Address"), to a world that-in spite of all its troubles-leaves room for self-irony and humanistic concern (the radical transformation of the novella into "Swinging the Maelstrom" in 1942-44).

    eISBN: 978-0-7766-2087-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. General Editor’s Note
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xiii)

    In January 1946, Malcolm Lowry wrote a long letter to the English publisher Jonathan Cape to defend his unpublished novelUnder the Volcanoagainst numerous criticisms by a reader for the press. Responding to the reader’s note on affinities between Lowry’s manuscript and Charles Jackson’sThe Lost Weekend, a 1944 novel and already a successful film, Lowry argued that “it was the Lost Weekend that should have inevitably recalled the Volcano,” for he “began the Volcano in 1936, the same year having written, in New York, a novelette . . . about an alcoholic entitled The Last Address, which takes...

  6. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xlii)

    Upon Malcolm Lowry’s tragic “death by misadventure” in 1957, some of the obituaries claimed that Lowry (b. 1909) had committed suicide because he no longer felt able to write. To counter such rumours, Lowry’s second wife and widow, Margerie Bonner Lowry, created the myth that the last years of his life had been a particularly creative period. In her correspondence with personal and professional friends and acquaintances, as well as in her biographical note directed to future readers of the Malcolm Lowry Papers in the Special Collections Division of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Library, she insisted not only...

  7. Swinging the Maelstrom
    (pp. 1-44)

    A drunkard pauses outside the City Hospital. What evil fate has brought him here, he asks.

    The heat rises up from the pavements, a mighty force: New York groans and roars above, around, below him: white birds flash in the quivering air: a bridge strides over the river like life itself. But in none of these things can he find an answer.

    He had played the piano all night—how long was it since he had left the tavern early this morning? He started across the street away from the hospital and was nearly run over by a streetcar. Signs...

  8. Textual Notes
    (pp. 45-54)
    (pp. 55-102)
  10. APPENDIX 1: The Last Address
    (pp. 103-182)
  11. Textual Notes
    (pp. 183-190)
  12. APPENDIX 2: The Manuscript Record
    (pp. 191-196)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 197-200)
  14. Contributors
    (pp. 201-202)