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Walking With Shadows

Walking With Shadows – Index, Inscription and Event in Malcolm Lowry’s In Ballast to the White Sea. In: Helen Tookey and Bryan Biggs (Eds) Remaking the Voyage – New Essays on Malcolm Lowry and In Ballast to the White Sea, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press and the Bluecoat, 2020.
A book chapter and essay by Quayle in the form of a ‘photo-text’, which integrates a series of 15 photographs. This chapter sits alongside contributions from world-leading researchers and scholars on Lowry’s life and work including Professor Sherrill Grace (University of British Columbia), Emeritus Professor Chris Ackerley (University of Otago), and the late Vik Doyen (University of Leeuwen).

A series of 15 black and white photographs and writing authored in response to the publication of a scholarly edition of Malcolm Lowry’s lost novel In Ballast to the White Sea. The photographs are integrated in an essay entitled ‘Walking with Shadows’ – a photo-text – indebted to W.G. Sebald’s use of photographs in The Rings of Saturn (1995). A method adopted which fuses ‘fiction, travelogue, history and biography’ where the images punctuate, offset or displace the narrative, rather than illustrate it, as the psychic and physical journey unfolds from page-to-page. The text also references Denis Hollier’s essay ‘Surrealist Precipitates Don’t Cast Shadows’, in which the position of the artist /author and the role of the reader makes reference to the significance of André Breton’s inclusion of photographs in Nadja (1928).

The correlation of these sources includes Michel de Certeau’s ‘Walking in the City’ in The Practice of Everyday Life (1984) and Paul Auster’s novella ‘City of Glass’ in New York Trilogy (1987) the notion of the author / protagonist as interchangeable positions, reveals the significance of a method, in which autobiography, fact and fiction coalesce. The photographs which are imbricated within the text function as a series of staging points and motifs, which index the journey undertaken by the novel’s key protagonist. In Lowry’s novel these are uncovered in a series of surreal, psychogeographic encounters across the urban terrain of Liverpool and surrounding landscape, and the sonic hum, which imbues key passages of the novel. The events and locations, which define the novel, were rediscovered or otherwise substituted as they are re-inscribed in the text and image of this book chapter. The project also integrated archive and vernacular images, which include Edward Chambré Hardman’s photographs of Liverpool, which Lowry described as ‘that terrible city whose main street is the ocean’.

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