PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: to access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
PN Review Prize winners announced
Carcanet Press and PN Review are delighted to announce the winners of the first ever PN Review Prize. read more
Most Read... Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott

(PN Review 235)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue CELEBRATING JOHN ASHBERY Contributors include Mark Ford, Marina Warner, Jeremy Over, Theophilus Kwek, Sam Riviere, Luke Kennard, Philip Terry,Agnes Lehoczky, Emily Critchley, Oli Hazard and others Miles Champion The Gold Standard Rebecca Watts The Cult of the Noble Amateur Marina Tsvetaeva ‘My desire has the features of a woman’: Two Letters translated by Christopher Whyte Iain Bamforth Black and White

This article is taken from PN Review 221, Volume 41 Number 3, January - February 2015.

English Writers in Mexico between the Wars, Part One
Through 'the liteary-perception scrambler'?
Part One: DH Lawrence and his Influence
Simon Carnell
I  Between an alien planet and a state of mind: the English approach

In his book Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars, Paul Fussell writes that ‘Mexico somehow makes Anglo-Saxon authors go all to pieces’, before quoting with approval Jeremy Treglown’s opinion that ‘Somehow the nearer a writer gets to Mexico the more likely he is to be affected by the literary-perception scrambler which Malcolm Lowry helped to engineer and was ruined by’. As an introduction to a brief consideration of works written about post-revolutionary Mexico by D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and Aldous Huxley, between 1923 and 1939, this is curiously back-to-front on Fussell’s part. Lowry’s Under the Volcano was published in 1947, so could hardly have ‘affected’ the other writers in question. It is surely worth noting, too, that Lowry’s novel was precisely that – a work of fiction in which Mexico was filtered through the perceptions of its characters, and in particular through the tequila- and mescal-fuelled febrile consciousness of its main character, Geoffrey Firmin, with his notations of ‘Horrors portioned to a giant nerve!’. Lawrence’s Mornings in Mexico (1927) purports to be a work of non-fiction, as does Huxley’s Beyond the Mexique Bay (1934); Greene’s The Lawless Roads and Waugh’s Robbery Under Law (both 1939) were designed, respectively, as reports upon the persecution of the Catholic priesthood and the expropriation of the British oil industry. And yet reading these works together, along with Lawrence’s The Plumed Serpent (1926) and, albeit to a much lesser extent, Greene’s The Power and the Glory (1940), ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image