Postcolonialism, transnationalism, exile, travel, identity, expatriates
The themes of empire, nationality, and self-imposed exile constitute underexplored topics in critical discussions of modernist author Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957). Until recently, most academic studies have approached his work from biographical, mythological, and psychoanalytic perspectives. While a few studies have performed historical readings of his novels, such investigations tend, primarily, to focus on his engagement with western literary and theoretical movements of the early twentieth century. Of the few studies that address the cross-cultural reach of his novels, most are limited to discussions of Mexican history and traditions, thus prioritizing a specific geographical region when they might, instead, illuminate the author’s career-long engagement with cultural developments on a world scale—historical realignments triggered by wartime anxieties and the impending dissolution of the British Empire. Employing an interpretive framework that synthesizes postcolonial theory, cultural anthropology, and contemporary theories of the transnational, I demonstrate how the exile-heroes of three of Lowry’s novels—Ultramarine (1933), Under the Volcano (1947), and Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend is Laid (1968)—struggle to navigate the experience of social liminality, dramatizing, in the process, an increasingly fraught relationship between English expatriates and imperial models of English national identity. Rejecting the well-known mythical hero’s cyclical quest, so often culminating in a triumphant return to society, the Lowrian exile-hero, instead, remains in a liminal state, emblematizing, through persistent cultural questioning, a transnational concept of identity that resists institutionally prescribed models of thought and behavior.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
English; Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Tricker, Spencer, "Exiled As The Ship Itself: Liminality And Transnational Identity In Malcolm Lowry's Ultramarine, Under The Volcano, And Dark As The Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2361.