Colloques & Conferences de l'Universite Lyon 2, "Rewriting / Reprising" - La reprise en litterature

Playing with literary influences : "Through The Panama" as Malcolm Lowry's "celestial meccano"

catherine delesalle

Dernière modification: 2007-07-02


Harold Bloom's ?anxiety of influence? certainly is no vain phrase for Lowry whose first novel Ultramarine was said to plagiarise Nordhal Grieg's Blue Voyage and who, throughout his writing career, got involved, with more or less justification, in such accusations. So that the question of literary influences is a very sensitive one with Lowry, who found himself alternately arguing for the absolute originality - even though with inevitable borrowings - of his work, or wallowing in self-indictment of imaginary plagiarism. To the general problem of unsteady borders between plagiarism and intertextuality is added, in Lowry's case, the pathological desire for identification with other writers or with characters, whether they be in others' fictions or his own. This partly accounts for his tendency to incorporate in his work other texts, including his own, either through thematic or more literal borrowings. The problem of borders thus appears as a besetting one in Lowry's fiction, a problem to which the very title of his novella, ?Through the Panama? calls attention.

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