Malcolm Lowry was born in 1909 in northwest England, near Liverpool. During the 1930s he lived in London, New York, Mexico, and Los Angeles before moving to British Columbia in 1939. This move marked the start of a startlingly fertile period in Lowry’s career as a 20th-century writer. His masterpiece, Under the Volcano (1947), is one of the last great modernist novels.
Patrick A. McCarthy is the author or editor of 11 books and monographs, over 50 scholarly articles, and numerous reference articles and reviews. He authored several studies on Lowry, including Forests of Symbols: World, Text, and Self in Malcolm Lowry’s Fiction; Malcolm Lowry’s “La Mordida”: A Scholarly Edition; and “Under the Volcano” in The Literary Encyclopedia.
Chris Ackerley is a professor of English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. His research focus is modernism, and his speciality is annotation, especially of the writings of Malcolm Lowry and Samuel Beckett.
Vik Doyen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He did archival research in the Malcolm Lowry Collection at the University of British Columbia for his doctoral dissertation.
Miguel Mota is an associate professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He has published on numerous 20th-century and contemporary writers and filmmakers, including Malcolm Lowry, Derek Jarman, Jeanette Winterson and Mike Leigh.
Paul Tiessen is the founding editor of the Malcolm Lowry Newsletter (1977–1984) and The Malcolm Lowry Review (1984–2002). In addition to scholarly articles and book chapters on the work of Malcolm Lowry, Tiessen wrote the introduction for Malcolm Lowry and Margerie Bonner Lowry’s Notes on a Screenplay for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night.
The book proposes four dominant modes of avant-garde production: “Concrete Poetics,” which accentuates the visual and material aspects of language; “Language Writing,” which challenges the interconnection between words and things; “Identity Writing,” which interrogates the self and its sociopolitical position; and “Copyleft Poetics,” which undermines our habitual assumptions about the ownership of expression. A fifth section commemorates the importance of the Centennial in the 1960s at a time when avant-garde cultures in Canada began to emerge.
Readers of this book will become familiar with some of the most challenging works of literature—and their creators—that this country has ever produced. From Concrete Poetry in the 1960s through to Indigenous Literature in the 2010s, Avant Canada offers the most sweeping study of the literary avant-garde in Canada to date.