The eighty letters, cards and other messages in this correspondence-- produced mainly by Lowry and Gerald Noxon but also by Margerie(Bonner) Lowry -- offer a fresh introduction to Lowry, a certain'Canadian' Lowry. At the same time they give insight into twowriting careers (Bonner and Noxon) closely intertwined with his andvigorously championed by him in the 1940s.
The letters observe the mind of Lowry at play on questions ofliterary technique, on films, and on the beauties and rigors of life inhis Dollarton shack on an inlet near Vancouver. They reveal a warm,supportive, enormously sensitive and intelligent man, modifyingsomewhat the image of him now available. With their dramatization ofNoxon's role in Lowry's writing career, they illuminate for thefirst time something of Lowry's method of actually solving theproblems he encountered in re-writing Under the Volcano.
Noxon, CBC radio dramatist, novelist, and poet, emerges as atalented and perceptive writer who was able to encourage Lowry bothmorally and practically. Noxon's deftness in expertly combining theunofficial roles of devoted and spirited family member and literaryeditor gives the letters -- often brimming with high spirits and fondaffection -- a relaxed and buoyant tone missing from much other Lowrycorrespondence.
The letters as a whole contain the relaxed observations and spontaneous flashes of wit and honesty only letters can show.... Noxon was the best of all possible friends to a man like Lowry: able to be detached without indifference, supportive without collusion, loyal without enmeshment. This volume of letters is as much a tribute to Noxon's wisdom as it is to Lowry's vulnerability.
This correspondence is well worth reading by everyone who is interested in Lowry. The letters to Gerald Noxon lead into Lowry's private existence as only letters to a dear friend can.
The definitive account of a small but significant part of Lowry's life . . . Tiessen's canvas is small, but it is beautifully worked, and his exquisite summary of the past makes me look in anticipation for what is yet to come.
Sources and Editions Used
Part I: August 1940 to May 1944
Part II: June 1944 to June 1945
Part III: December 1945 to Spring 1952
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