Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano: A Twentieth Century Faust Story
Vincent, Russell Dean, Jr.
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Under the Volcano, published in 1947, has been called "a work of genius," "a twentieth century classic,"a legendary novel by a tragic figure who wrote his agony into it," "a great book," and "a neglected masterpiece." It is all of these. And it is with deep doubt that I submit this paper. It is highly possible that in dealing with a limited aspect of such an illimitable novel I have been grossly unfair to Lowry and to his novel. That Under the Volcano can be read as a twentieth century Faust story I have no doubt, but I would remind those who read this paper that my intention, the presentation of a valid reading of the novel, was a severely limited one indeed. The novel is a Faust story, but it is also much more than that. I hope that this brief paper will somehow contribute to the recognition that Under the Volcano merits.