Remaking the Voyage

BookRemaking the Voyage

Remaking the Voyage

New Essays on Malcolm Lowry and 'In Ballast to the White Sea'

Liverpool English Texts and Studies, 86


July 1st, 2020


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An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and the OAPEN library.

‘Who ever thought they would one day be able to read Malcolm Lowry’s fabled novel of the 1930s and 40s, In Ballast to the White Sea? Lord knows, I didn’t’ – Michael Hofmann, TLS

This book breaks new ground in studies of the British novelist Malcolm Lowry (1909–57), as the first collection of new essays produced in response to the publication in 2014 of a scholarly edition of Lowry’s ‘lost’ novel, In Ballast to the White Sea. In their introduction, editors Helen Tookey and Bryan Biggs show how the publication of In Ballast sheds new light on Lowry as both a highly political writer and one deeply influenced by his native Merseyside, as his protagonist Sigbjørn Hansen-Tarnmoor walks the streets of Liverpool, wrestling with his own conscience and with pressing questions of class, identity and social reform. In the chapters that follow, renowned Lowry scholars and newer voices explore key aspects of the novel and its relation to the wider contexts of Lowry’s work. These include his complex relation to socialism and communism, the symbolic value of Norway, and the significance of tropes of loss, hauntings and doublings. The book draws on the unexpected opportunity offered by the rediscovery of In Ballast to look afresh at Lowry’s oeuvre, to ‘remake the voyage’.


Remaking the Voyage makes a major contribution to Lowry studies, perhaps unsurprisingly given the strength of the academic contributors. It genuinely advances humanistic knowledge of Lowry’s In Ballast, additionally offering an intriguing identity politics argument or interpretive nexus, comprising cultural and geographical location, class and political awareness/affiliation.’
- Professor Richard J. Lane, Vancouver Island University

Author Information

Helen Tookey teaches creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University. She has published two poetry collections with Carcanet Press: Missel-Child (2014, shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize 2015) and City of Departures (2019, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2019). She is the author of Anaïs Nin, Fictionality and Femininity (Oxford University Press, 2003) and co-editor, with Bryan Biggs, of Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World (Liverpool University Press, 2009). Bryan Biggs has worked at Bluecoat, Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre, for over four decades, curating numerous exhibitions, and live art programmes. In 2017 he directed Bluecoat’s tercentenary year. He writes on contemporary culture and is co-editor, with Julie Sheldon of Art in a City Revisited (Liverpool University Press, 2009) and, with John Belchem, of Liverpool City of Radicals (Liverpool University Press, 2011).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1. Haunted by Books: Malcolm Lowry’s Ultramarine and In Ballast to the White Sea37
2. ‘We’ve got a bastard duke on board’: Class, Fantasy and Politics in Malcolm Lowry47
3. Malcolm Lowry and the End of Communism63
4. In Ballast to the White Sea: The Springboard for Russian Influences on Malcolm Lowry’s Visionary Intellect77
5. In Ballast to the White Sea: A Plunge into the Matrix93
6. Walking with Shadows: Index, Inscription and Event in Malcolm Lowry’s In Ballast to the White Sea111
7. ‘Hva vet vi?’: In Ballast to the White Sea and the Weighting of Evidence135
8. Identity and Doubles: Being and Writing in Malcolm Lowry’s In Ballast to the White Sea151
9. The Lost Other: Malcolm Lowry’s Creative Process167
10. Infernal Discourse: Narrative Poetics among the Ashes of In Ballast to the White Sea and Under the Volcano183
11. ‘Leaning forward eagerly’: Malcolm Lowry’s Moviegoers and In Ballast to the White Sea199
12. From In Ballast to the White Sea to Rumbo al Mar Blanco: The Spanish Reception of Malcolm Lowry’s Unfinished Novel215
13. ‘Glimpses of Immortality’: Our Voyages with Vik Doyen233