Shamanic Influences on Malcolm Lowry: East-West Connections

Foxcroft, N.H. (2010) Shamanic Influences on Malcolm Lowry: East-West Connections In: 4th International Malcolm Lowry Colloquium: A Tribute to Rául Ortiz y Ortiz , 2nd November 2010: The Day of the Dead, Malcolm Lowry Foundation/ Museo de la Casona Spencer, Cuernavaca, Mexico. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper investigates various psychological, psychogeographical, and anthropological forces - cultural, social, and linguistic – bearing on Malcolm Lowry’s works. With its focus on the influence of nineteenth-century Russian literature upon his creative mind, it examines East-West cross-cultural and historical factors and their implications for the ‘ascent of man’. It explores the impact of Sir James Frazer’s ethnographic research and of Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador, upon Aztec civilization, as reflected in Lowry’s novel, Under the Volcano (1936-47), set in Mexico on the Day of the Dead. Previous research is also advanced by pursuing Lowry’s spiritual odyssey in his mystic quest for truth and salvation. Consideration is given to connections established with his natural, supernatural, and celestial roots. His application of psychoanalysis is probed, as are synergies with social, cultural, and linguistic anthropology, cabbalistic astrology, and even voodoo in Dark as the Grave wherein my Friend is Laid (1945-68). Lowry’s paradisean symbol of the soul of Eridanus in The Forest Path to the Spring (1947-61) is considered in the context of his attempt to harmonize the rational, scientific, and materialistic intellect of the Enlightenment with the aspirations of European Romanticism. An analysis of his cosmic consciousness and his preoccupation with the Cabbala reveals links between Modernism and shamanism. Psychotherapeutic and shamanic healing is seen as a way of enabling regeneration via ethnographic and aesthetic methods. Developing the inclinations of Ted R. Spivey, it may be deduced that, for Malcolm Lowry, true salvation is attainable only in a fusion of the two worlds (the natural with the divine, the terrestrial with the celestial) and the two minds (the rational and scientific with the spiritual, and the conscious, perceiving intellect with the subconscious imagination).

Item Type: Contribution to conference proceedings in the public domain (Keynote Address)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shamanic; Rául Ortiz; Malcolm Lowry; Russian literature; English literature; psychology; psychogeography; anthropology; East-West; cross-cultural; ascent of man; Sir James Frazer; ethnography; Hernán Cortés; Spanish conquistador; Aztec; Cuernavaca; Mexico; Under the Volcano; Day of the Dead; spititual; mystic; linguistic; Cabbala; astrology; voodoo; Dark as the Grave wherein my Friend is Laid; paradisean; Eridanus; The Forest Path to the Spring; the Enlightenment; European Romanticism; Romanticism; cosmic; Kabbalah; Modernism; shamanism; psychotherapeutic; regeneration; aesthetic; Ted R. Spivey; celestial; subconscious; imagination; Nigel Foxcroft; literature; Museo de la Casona Spencer; Malcolm Lowry Foundation.
Subjects: Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > R700 Russian and East European Studies
Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > R900 Other European Languages, Literature and related subjects
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area > V230 American History
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area > V390 History by Topic not elsewhere classified
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V130 Medieval History
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area > V220 European History
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V600 Theology and Religious studies
Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > Q100 Linguistics
Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > T700 American studies
L000 Social Sciences > L900 Cultural Studies
Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > Q200 Comparative Literary studies
L000 Social Sciences
Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > Q300 English studies
Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > T400 Asian studies
Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > R400 Spanish Studies
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area > V290 History by Area not elsewhere classified
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V120 Byzantine History
L000 Social Sciences > L600 Anthropology
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area > V270 World History
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V140 Modern History
Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Faculties: Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts
Depositing User: Nigel Foxcroft
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2010 08:57
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2014 13:24
URI: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/id/eprint/7947

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