In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITIES 447 generously and appropriately, so that readers may savour the crisp and mature prose of this most sane, sensible, and lovable of our writers. This, then, is an informative and refreshingly direct critical study. There are some blemishes, but these are minor. A few incorrect spellings have slipped through, including the names of the English nature-writer Jefferies and the Canadian publishers McClelland and Stewart; some other grammatical and typographical errors ought to have been caughtby copy-editors; and the absence ofpage-references is occasionally annoying if one wants to follow up Robertson's commentary. But these imperfections do not detract in any serious way from the excellence ofthe bookas a whole. We badly needed a book on this subject, and Robertson has filled the gap in praiseworthy fashion. I rarely find myself impelled to praise a volume in such positive terms, and it is a pleasure to do so. (W.J. KEITH) Chris Ackerley and Lawrence J. Clipper. A Companion to 'Under the Volcano' University of British Columbia Press. 492 . $45.00 Malcolm Lowry was doubly exiled: a British expatriate writing in Canada, whose most famous novel portrays his fictional personal yearning from Mexico for the lost Canadian paradise. Fittingly enough, A Companion to 'Under the Volcano' has an international flavour. Chris Ackerley teaches at the University of Otago in New Zealand, while Lawrence Clipperis based at Indiana University. Publication was undertaken by the University of British Columbia Press after the co-authors, unknown to one another, submitted separate manuscripts almost simultaneously. The synchronicity doubtless delighted Lowry's shade. Under the Volcano attracted an earlier guide to its arcana: Perle S. Epstein's highly specialized work, The Private Labyrinth ofMalcolm Lowry: 'Under the Volcano' and the Cabbala (1969). The Ackerley-Clipper Companion is much more eclectic. A compendium of curious information, it offers chapter-by-chapter commentary on a miscellany of scientific, historical, political, mythological, literary, cinematographic, and biographical allusions relevant to fuller understanding of the novel. The identification of figures and events from Mexicanhistoryis particularlyvaluable, as are the indications from time to time of the stages at which significant phrases, ideas, or episodes appeared in (or disappeared from) successive drafts of Under the Volcano. A Companion is provided with a select bibliography, a glossary of foreign terms (mainlySpanish), a cabbalisticdiagram, mapsofCuernavaca and the Valley of Morelos (but not of Oaxaca), and an index of key terms and recurrent motifs. Page references are helpfully keyed to the most generally available paperback edition (Penguin), as well as to the standard hardcover editions (Lippincott, Cape). 448 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 Inevitably, the process of explaining textual minutiae, however goodhumouredly , is sometimes reminiscent of breaking butterflies on the wheel. Inevitably, some notes will seem superfluous to some readers. Without the provocation of particular textual difficulties, how necessary are explanations of terms such as casuistry, claret, hades, neurasthenia, oxymoron, pernod, pogroms, or poltergeist, the full significance ofwhich may be verified by resort to any standard dictionary? Sometimes, itishard to know where to stop. On the other hand, one would not willingly forego the explanation of Lowry's cryptic allusion to Tristan da Cunha's being good for the teeth (the indigenous diet lacks sugat and the island. water contains fluoride), or the commentary on Lowry's apparent confusion over the terms tequila and mescal, or the exposition of the complexities of the Mayan calendrical system. A Companion is not entirely error-free. Conrad's Patusan, where Jim seeks refuge, is located in a remote area of what was formerly Dutch East Borneo (now Indonesian Borneo) rather than'a remote district of Malaya' (p 58). Shakespeare's Lucrece is married to Collatinus, not 'Collinatus' (p 275). The Queen of the Goths in Titus Andronicus is Tamora, not 'Tamara' (p 320 - twice). Ophelia did not'cast herself into the brook' (p 340), but is reported by Gertrude to have fallen by accident. Translation of Spanish phrases in Under the Volcano is accurate, by and large. However, itis doubtful ifthe adjective is best translated as 'fanciful' in the idiom completamentefantdstico (p 22). Australianworkers who abogan por la paz are perhaps 'supporting' or 'advocating' peace, rather than 'pleading' for it (p 39). The verb llegar means...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 447-448
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.