Malcolm Lowry

Malcolm Lowry

Birkenhead, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England
Death 27 Jun 1957 (aged 47)
Ripe, Wealden District, East Sussex, England
Burial Ripe, Wealden District, East Sussex, England
Memorial ID 9583818 · View Source
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Author. The son of a wealthy businessman, he was born Clarence Malcolm Lowry in Liscard, Cheshire. At 18 he served as a deckhand on a sea voyage to Japan, during which he acquired a lifelong, unquenchable thirst for alcohol. He went down from Cambridge University in 1932 and published his first novel, "Ultramarine", the following year. Living on a small allowance from his father, Lowry boozed his way across much of Europe, the United States, and Mexico before settling in Canada with his second wife, Margerie Bonner Lowry, in 1940. For more than a decade they lived in a tiny squatter's shack in Dollarton, British Columbia; this isolated spot gave Lowry the peace of mind to control his drinking and write his masterpiece, "Under the Volcano" (1947). Set in Mexico on November 1, 1938, The Day of the Dead, this unique novel chronicles the last hours in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic British consul, in a densely-written, hallucinatory style, rich in poetry, symbolism and colorful observation. It was an immense critical success and quickly translated into several languages. Although Lowry continued to write, his fear of failure (among many other neuroses) and acute alcoholism prevented him from completing any other major work. In 1956 Lowry returned to England and settled in the village of Ripe, Sussex, where his life soon spiralled out of control. On the night of June 27, 1957, after a violent argument with his wife, Lowry ended his life with a mixture of sleeping pills and gin. Since he left no suicide note and there was some doubt about his mental state at the time, his death was ruled "misadventure" and he was permitted to be buried in the consecrated ground of the Ripe parish church. Margerie Lowry later helped edit her husband's unfinished manuscripts into the books "Hear Us O Lord From Heaven Thy Dwelling Place" (1961), "Lunar Caustic" (1968), "Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid" (1968), and "October Ferry to Gabriola" (1970). None has the sustained brilliance of "Under the Volcano", which now ranks as one of the great novels of the 20th century. It has been the subject of vast literary analysis and was made into a film, starring Albert Finney and directed by John Huston, in 1984.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 11 Oct 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 9583818
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Malcolm Lowry (28 Jul 1909–27 Jun 1957), Find a Grave Memorial no. 9583818, citing St John the Baptist Churchyard, Ripe, Wealden District, East Sussex, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .