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Butterflies and Lizards: Revisiting “Under the Volcano”

In the back of my copy of Under the Volcano, I found an essay by Sherrill Grace, which cites a letter written by the book’s author, Malcolm Lowry, explaining that Volcano “was so designed, counterdesigned and interwelded that it could be read an indefinite number of times and still not have yielded all its meanings […]

November 21st

Environment as a Literary Character

Having written earlier this year about Bloomsday, the June 16th celebration based on James Joyce’s epic Ulysses, my mind recently turned to another legendary novel, Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, and the day on which it takes place, the Day of the Dead. Lowry traces the experiences of Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic ex-consul, known as “the […]

November 9th

Searching for Quality of Life in Immortality

Earlier this year, I wrote about The Immortalists, a great documentary that gives the viewer some entertaining insight into the quest for longer, or possibly eternal, lives. It also opens the floor up to questions about the validity of this quest, particularly regarding the aspect of overpopulation. While I was reading about the lifestyles of […]

November 4th

Yoga Prescription for What Ails the Earth

Many from the world of science struggle with the technological challenges of halting the ongoing degradation of the environment. Those in the realms of government and public policy seek to find the political will to clean and protect natural resources and curb emissions that threaten the global climate. From religious leaders come the concepts of […]

October 13th

Anton Chekhov’s Use of Nature

Anton Chekhov, like other great Russian writers of the 19th century, creates a marvelous balance between the intrigue and excitement of city life and the contemplative beauty of living in the country. Chekhov’s descriptions of the natural world, especially, stand out in a body of work that is often understated, open-ended, and non-judgmental. They stand out precisely […]

September 20th

Nature as a Culture, as a Journey

Prior to “The Temporary Autonomous Zone,” Hakim Bey wrote a number of “Communiques of the Association for Ontological Anarchy,” which led up to both the TAZ essay and the idea itself. Although each one is unique and stands alone, sometimes the crossover produces interesting results. In “Post-Anarchism Anarchy,” a March 1987 edition of the Communiques […]

July 31st

Embracing the Opium of the People

Friday evening, before the sun went down, we took a walk down a path through the marsh. The sun shined radiantly to the left, and to the right, water seemed to slope gradually upwards toward the sandbars. We saw some egrets too. I thought about an apparently literal translation of that famous Rubaiyat, that I […]

July 8th