A web Companion to Under the Volcano
March 23, 2009 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Under The Volcano, a Hypertextual & Illustrated Companion to the 1947 semi-autobiographical novel by English writer Malcolm Lowry.
posted by Devils Rancher (16 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
That's a top-5 novel for me - thanks for this link.
posted by facetious at 8:36 PM on March 23, 2009

I've recently been into Exploring the Waste Land, also full of hypertextual modernist goodness.
posted by themadjuggler at 9:07 PM on March 23, 2009

"Everything is to be found in Peter Rabbit," the Consul liked to say – UTV, 175.

"Everything" includes the garden, the gardener, eviction from Paradise, the fate of Peter's father, the jacket, and even the Cabbalistic writer, MacGregor Mathers, from whom Lowry took his list of demons (UTV, 185-86).

Thanks. What a novel Under the Volcano is!
posted by Wolof at 10:44 PM on March 23, 2009

Great novel, great site. Thanks for the post!
posted by benzenedream at 11:33 PM on March 23, 2009

"William James if not Freud would certainly agree with me when I say that the agonies of the drunkard find their most accurate poetic analogue in the agonies of the mystic who has abused his powers."


I was researching this novel after seeing it namedropped in an AskMe thread earlier today. Thanks.
posted by Curry at 11:46 PM on March 23, 2009

The novel effected me like no other, and I can't stop recommending it to people. This site is a great resource, though to be honest I'd hoped for more, partly because I'm insatiable and partly because Chris Ackerly, from whom these notes are drawn, published such a thorough Companion to Under the Volcano, where he annotates almost line by line the many Byzantine layers of allusion within the text. I googled about trying to find some links to flesh out the context of the novel's publication and reception, but apparently precious little, which is to say nothing, is available online. Mostly, I wanted to link to a famous letter between Lowry and his editor Jonathan Cape, who assembled this website, wherein Lowry chapter by chapter defends to the merits of his novel. Cape had said if he made drastic changes, he would publish the novel, and if he didn't, he still might publish the novel. Lowry took his challenge dreadfully seriously, as he did all his life's challenges, and the resulting letter is compelling drama and very illuminating on Lowry's intentions and writing process. Anyway, the letter is not to be found online (you'd need a copy of his collected letters), and little else as well, so I'm glad all the more for this resource.
posted by kaspen at 12:40 AM on March 24, 2009

Affected me! Argh! Apparently not enough to compel me to grammaticality.
posted by kaspen at 12:44 AM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is great! Thanks!

(themadjuggler: thanks for the waste land link)
posted by lucia__is__dada at 2:16 AM on March 24, 2009

I love the book and have been meaning to reread it; this will be a great resource when I do. Many thanks!

a thorough Companion to Under the Volcano, where he annotates almost line by line the many Byzantine layers of allusion within the text

I got all excited and went to Amazon, where I found it's OP and there are "2 used from $261.13." Son of a bitch! Why doesn't he put the whole thing online where people can get some good out of it?
posted by languagehat at 5:40 AM on March 24, 2009

I had actually begun the process of going back through the book with a highlighter & a note pad, taking down notes on all the obscure references I didn't understand, in order to flesh them out in a "furthr reading" sort of way when I stumbled on this page, via the AskMe thread about book that take place in one day, then via Wikipedia sources cited. This cuts down some of the gruntwork I had before me.

FWIW, although it may sound like I'm moderating my own thread or GYOFBing, I haven't been hit this hard by a book since Moby Dick. What an amazing spotlight on the human soul, & what an amazing portrayal of the internal bafflement of serious alcoholism.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:36 AM on March 24, 2009

Under the Volcano is following me everywhere. After I recommended the book in that AskMe mentioned upthread, I decided to re-read it.
As luck would have it, the used bookstore at which I am employed happened to purchase a copy over the weekend, so of course I bought it.
As I sat down to read the book last night, my roommate started watching a movie on TV: Under the Volcano. (which is worth watching for the awesome performance by Albert Finney)
And now this post is on the front page. I hope this isn't a hint that I should stop drinking so much.

But thanks for this post anyway, this is good.
posted by mesh gear fox at 7:27 AM on March 24, 2009

Fantastic. Many thanks.
posted by elmono at 8:06 AM on March 24, 2009

(which is worth watching for the awesome performance by Albert Finney)

A lot of lovers-of-the-book are haters-of-the-movie, but I absolutely adore (that's an odd word, in context) them both. Finney OWNS the part -- performace of a lifetime. The cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa is what pulled me in the first time I saw it -- it's a lovely visual work, as well. Very underrated film, as far as I'm concerned. Huston took on a Hurculean task, and while flawed, I think it's pretty spectacular anyway. Factoid: Orson Welles originally wanted to direct UTV as his first film, but the studio deemed the project impossible, so he made Citizen Kane instead.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:24 AM on March 24, 2009

Okay, where did I get that "factoid"? Citizen Kane pre-dated UTV by 6 years. Must track down and browbeat faulty source. Sorry for the noise.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:33 AM on March 24, 2009

A little more related music: from the album "Harmony Row" by Jack Bruce, "The Consul at Sunset".

(The first three words of the post rang a bell. To be perfectly honest, I did not know about this novel. Oops.)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 10:24 AM on March 24, 2009

which is worth watching for the awesome performance by Albert Finney

Also starring the lovely Jacqueline Bisset. Rated R for nudity.

His, not hers.

You've been warned.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:12 PM on March 24, 2009

« Older Valhalla, I am coming....   |   Antarctic Fox Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments