Title: Selected Letters of Malcolm Lowry. Edited by...
Publisher: Jonathan Cape, London
Publication Date: 1967
Edition: First Printing of the First UK Edition.
A Fine copy in a Near Fine price-clipped dust jacket with some light edge wear. This collection of Lowry's letters cover his early life in England, his stay in Mexico, British Columbia, his return to and final years in England. His correspondence describe his struggles with poverty and alcohol as well as his relationships with other writers, friends, his editor and his wife. Lowry's letters, collected and edited by Harvey Breit and his wife, are a counterpoint to his work. Lowry, in many ways like Dylan Thomas, was the "artist at bay, cornered as it were by poverty, the world's indifference, and his apparently savage inclination for alcohol." He was also disoriented, disturbed and driven and throughout the correspondence which is self explanatory but never self excusing, he is hounded by the circumstances of imprisonment, debt, illness, etc. as well as the long years of writing, revising, justifying Under the Volcano before it was vindicated by its publication and worldwide acceptance. The letters here are not only important in that they provide an autobiographical exposure, but also in that they implement and illuminate the book itself. His claim that it was "so designed, counter-designed and interwelded that it could be read an indefinite number of times and still not have yielded all its meanings or its drama or its poetry" is by now substantiated. The letters, arranged chronologically, are to Conrad Aiken whom he so admired, to his friend Downie Kirk, to relatives, but particularly to his publisher Albert Erskine who served him in much the same way that Perkins served Wolfe. Like the novel, they have both a personal intensity and a momentum of their own: they are to a large extent self-bound; and they are full of the despair ("Don't think I can go on. Where I am it is dark. Lost.") in which he lived and died. Bookseller Inventory # 25340
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