While James Joyce was a central figure of high modernism, Malcom Lowry spoke for the next generation of modernist writers and, despite his denials, was almost certainly influenced by Joyce. Wherever the truth lies, there are correspondences and differences to be explored between Joyce and Lowry that are far more interesting than the question of direct influence. Despite numerous differences, their works have much in common: verbal richness, experimentation with narrative structure and perspective, a fascination with cultural and historical forces as well as with the process of artistic creation, and the inclusion of artist figures who are in varying degrees ironic self-portrayals.
The contributors to Joyce/Lowry examine the relationship of these two expatriates writers, both to each other and to broader issues in the study of literary modernism and its aftermath. This collection embraces a variety of approaches. The volume begins with a consideration of Joyce and Lowry as practitioners of Expressionist art and concludes with an essay on John Huston's cinematic interpretation of works by both writers. In between are explorations of nationalism, anti-Semitism, syphilis, mental illness, and authorial design.