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In Ballast to the White Sea

University of Ottawa Press | Canadian Literature Collection


In Ballast to the White Sea is Malcolm Lowry’s most ambitious work of the mid-1930s. Inspired by his life experience, the novel recounts the story of a Cambridge undergraduate who aspires to be a writer but has come to believe that both his book and, in a sense, his life have already been “written.” After a fire broke out in Lowry’s squatter’s shack, all that remained of In Ballast to the White Sea were a few sheets of paper. Only decades after Lowry’s death did it become known that his first wife, Jan Gabrial, still had a typescript. This scholarly edition presents, for the first time, the once-lost novel. Patrick McCarthy’s critical introduction offers insight into Lowry’s sense of himself while Chris Ackerley’s extensive annotations provide important information about Lowry’s life and art in an edition that will captivate readers and scholars alike.

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“Under the Volcano follow-up In Ballast to the White Sea typed up from copy after manuscript was burned in a fire…The book was launched this weekend at The Bluecoat arts centre in Liverpool. Artistic director Bryan Biggs said it “provides the missing link between Lowry’s first, somewhat immature novel, Ultramarine, written while he was still a student, and his acknowledged masterpiece, Under the Volcano.”

– Alison Flood, “ ‘Lost’ Malcolm Lowry novel published for the first time,” The Guardian, October 26, 2014

Also articles in the UK News (October 29, 2014), LA Times (October 30, 2014); NPR (October 30, 2014);

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“What does In Ballast have that you don’t get elsewhere in Lowry? There is more dense, original, expressive writing, those primary transcriptions of reality that Lowry always – when he allowed himself – shone at. (…) Gorgeous, rhapsodic sentences, many of them turning on placenames (…) a kindly ability to incorporate impressions, references, knowledge (…) A shift of focus to things that were never central in any of Lowry’s previously published books (…) a masterpiece of doleful sports writing”

– Michael Hofmann, “Set up and put off,” The Times Literary Supplement, April 15, 2015

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“In recent years, Canadian modernist literature has been the subject of wide-ranging recovery

projects like Editing Modernism in Canada and the Canadian Writing and Research Collaboratory, many of which have been facilitated by digital platforms. Part of the Canada and the Spanish Civil War sub-series of the University of Ottawa Press’s Canadian Literature Collection, Best Stories is the second literary work brought out in print as part of spanishcivilwar.ca, a more holistic digital archival recovery platform. In addition to the context of Canadian modernist recovery projects, Sharpe’s collection engages in the global recovery of leftist literature. (...) Among Sharpe’s most skillful critical moves is a series of readings that contravene book reviews Garner’s self-construction. By evaluating Garner’s self-fashioning as one of the many texts that constitute Garner’s cultural impact, Sharpe allows the persona and the oeuvre to mutually inform one another. (...) Sharpe suggests that this repetition across fictional and nonfictional forms imbues the writing

with a realism based on the intertextuality within Garner’s written works, particularly in the case of the Spanish Civil War stories. The explanatory notes for the three stories on the Spanish Civil War are some of the most extensive in the collection, speaking to the richness of the stories’ historical context and to the linguistic, cultural, and international experience of the combatants they portray. (...) Sharpe’s edition provides a tidy, if implicit, parallel to Garner’s collection. Sharpe’s edition

fits into broader digital and print publications, draws together multiple critical contexts, and

features a writer whose work appeared primarily in Canadian venues. Thanks to Sharpe’s editorial treatment, Garner’s “multimedia production” across print, film, and radio spans outwards from the print instance of the stories; the multiplicity of international, Canadian, classed, gendered, and radicalized contexts emerge as networked connections across Garner’s short fiction. The connections of Canadian literary production and archival recovery to their international contexts come to light.”

– Emily Christina Murphy, Queen's University, Modernism/Modernity

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Malcolm Lowry was born in 1909 in northwest England, near Liverpool. During the 1930s he lived in London, New York, Mexico, and Los Angeles before moving to British Columbia in 1939. This move marked the start of a startlingly fertile period in Lowry’s career as a 20th-century writer. His masterpiece, Under the Volcano (1947), is one of the last great modernist novels.

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Patrick A. McCarthy is the author or editor of 11 books and monographs, over 50 scholarly articles, and numerous reference articles and reviews. He authored several studies on Lowry, including Forests of Symbols: World, Text, and Self in Malcolm Lowry’s Fiction; Malcolm Lowry’s “La Mordida”: A Scholarly Edition; and “Under the Volcano” in The Literary Encyclopedia.

 
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The 1940 Under the Volcano

University of Ottawa Press | Canadian Literature Collection


The 1940 Under the Volcano—hidden for too long in the shadows of Lowry’s 1947 masterpiece—differs from the latter in significant ways. It is a bridge between Lowry’s 1930s fiction (especially In Ballast to the White Sea) and the 1947 Under the Volcano itself. Joining the recently published Swinging the Maelstrom and In Ballast to the White Sea, The 1940 Under the Volcano takes its rightful place as part of Lowry’s exciting 1930s/early-40s trilogy. Scholars have only recently begun to pay systematic attention to convergences and divergences between this earlier work and the 1947 version. Miguel Mota and Paul Tiessen’s insightful introduction, together with extensive annotations by Chris Ackerley and David Large, reveal the depth and breadth of Lowry’s complex vision for his work. This critical edition fleshes out our sense of the enormous achievement by this twentieth-century modernist.

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It is in every way a stunning job, clear, thorough, everywhere intelligent yet accessible not only for the Lowry scholar, but also for the general reader: a fine professional piece of work that should stand for many years as the definitive rendering of this important text.

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Malcolm Lowry was born in 1909 in northwest England, near Liverpool. During the 1930s he lived in London, New York, Mexico, and Los Angeles before moving to British Columbia in 1939. This move marked the start of a startlingly fertile period in Lowry's career as a 20th-century literary modernist. The 1940 Under the Volcano formed the basis for his masterpiece, Under the Volcano (1947)—one of the last great modernist novels.

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Miguel Mota is Associate Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He has published on numerous 20th-century and contemporary writers and filmmakers.

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Paul Tiessen is Professor Emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is the founding editor of the Malcolm Lowry Newsletter (1977–1984) and The Malcolm Lowry Review (1984–2002).

 
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Swinging the Maelstrom

University of Ottawa Press | Canadian Literature Collection


Swinging the Maelstrom is the story of a musician enduring existence in the Bellevue psychiatric hospital in New York. Written during his happiest and most fruitful years, this novella reveals the deep healing influence that the idyllic retreat at Dollarton had on Lowry.

This long-overdue scholarly edition will allow scholars to engage in a genetic study of the text and reconstruct, step by step, the creative process that developed from a rather pessimistic and misanthropic vision of the world as a madhouse (The Last Address, 1936), via the apocalyptic metaphors of a world on the brink of Armageddon (The Last Address, 1939), to a world that, in spite of all its troubles, leaves room for self-irony and humanistic concern (Swinging the Maelstrom,1942–1944).

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Vik Doyen studied at the University of Pennsylvania and did archival research in the Malcolm Lowry Collection at UBC for his doctoral dissertation Fighting the Albatross of Self : A Genetic Study of the Literary Work of Malcolm Lowry (Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, 1973). He also presented several papers on Lowry at international conferences.

 
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