[ilds] MacNiven Bio

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Fri Jan 28 16:01:26 PST 2011

Hi David,

Michael Haag is writing the next biography.  As for Bowker and MacNiven, 
it's worth noting that Bowker's biography has changes between the first 
and second editions.  Nonetheless, in both he's darker and more 
speculative, though he did access some archives (like UVic's) that 
MacNiven did not -- his Malcolm Lowry biography is excellent, and it 
took him to some of the smaller places that MacNiven didn't reach.

Between the two, I prefer MacNiven's and trust it more, though it's not 
without slips here and there as well, which is inevitable in such a work.


On 28/01/11 3:44 PM, Denise Tart & David Green wrote:
> William,
> I have read Bowker's biography several times and can recommend it to
> you. yes, you are right that it has its problems and that Bowker does
> speculate at times, but it is a good contrast to tact of MacNiven, who
> as well as being a scholarly and authorised, is also a fan. Bowker, as
> his book title suggests, paints a darker picture of Lawrence
> particularly in relation to his treatment of women and his over fondness
> of alcohol; his creative madness being at times hard on people close to
> him. Read both a get a deeper picture - someone else out there is
> currently doing so and could perhaps ad to this commentary??
> David Green
> *From:* William Apt <mailto:billyapt at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Saturday, January 29, 2011 10:04 AM
> *To:* ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
> *Subject:* [ilds] MacNiven Bio
> Dear all:
> I thought the book outstanding. How Prof. MacNiven was able to gather
> and synthesize so much material, and then put it into such an eloquent
> narrative is remarkable. Moreover, Prof. MacNiven honors his fiduciary
> obligations well: it is a most tactful book.
> I had tried reading Bowker's bio but was put off by it. Perhaps because
> it was unauthorized, and Bowker was deprived of sources MacNiven had
> recourse to, there was way too much speculation-as-explanation for my
> taste. Can any one tell me how it essentially differs from MacNiven's
> book, and whether it is worthwhile?
> Ultimately I find LD truly enigmatic. I have so many questions about why
> he was the way he was that, perhaps, cannot be clearly answered except
> to say that he was a genius, and genius is a mystery.
> Again, thanks to everyone who was so helpful to me, including Prof.
> Godshalk, whom I forgot to thank yesterday.
> --
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