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30+ quotes from Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

Quotes from Under the Volcano

Malcolm Lowry ·  397 pages

Rating: (18.9K votes)


“How, unless you drink as I do, could you hope to understand the beauty of an old Indian woman playing dominoes with a chicken?”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“No se puede vivir sin amar”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“To say nothing of what you lose, lose, lose, are losing, man. You fool, you stupid fool ... You've even been insulated from the responsibility of genuine suffering ... Even the suffering you do endure is largely unnecessary. Actually spurious. It lacks the very basis you require of it for its tragic nature. You deceive yourself.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“I have no house only a shadow. But whenever you are in need of a shadow, my shadow is yours.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“The Consul felt a pang. Ah, to have a horse, and gallop away, singing, to someone you loved perhaps, into the heart of all the simplicity and peace in the world; was that not like the opportunity afforded man by life itself? Of course not. Still, just for a moment, it had seemed that it was.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Adiós," she added in Spanish, "I have no house only a shadow. But whenever you are in need of a shadow, my shadow is yours."

"Thank you."

"Sank you."

"Not sank you, Señora Gregorio, thank you."

"Sank you.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“A little self-knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Somebody threw a dead dog after him down the ravine.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“The movements of some more little red birds in the garden, like animated rosebuds, appeared unbearably jittery and thievish. It was as though the creatures were attached by sensitive wires to his nerves.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“¿LE GUSTA ESTE JARDIN QUE ES SUYO? ¡EVITE QUE SUS HIJOS LO
DESTRUYAN!”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“and as they stood in silence before her, prayed again. "Nothing is altered and in spite of God's mercy I am still alone. Though my suffering seems senseless I am still in agony. There is no explanation of my life." Indeed there was not, nor was this what he'd meant to convey. "Please let Yvonne have her dream -- dream? -- of a new life with me -- please let me believe that all that is not an abominable self-deception," he tried... "Please let me make her happy, deliver me from this dreadful tyranny of self. I have sunk low. Let me sink lower still, that I may know the truth. Teach me to love again, to love life." That wouldn't do either... "Where is love? Let me truly suffer. Give me back my purity, the knowledge of the Mysteries, that I have betrayed and lost. -- Let me be truly lonely, that I may honestly pray. Let us be happy again somewhere, if it's only together, if it's only out of this terrible world. Destroy the world!" he cried in his heart.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Now you see what kind of creatures we are, Hugh. Eating things alive. That's what we do. How can you have much respect for mankind, or any belief in the social struggle?”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“But who could agree with someone who was so certain you were going to be sober the day after tomorrow?”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Try persuading the world not to cut its throat for half a decade or more...and it'll begin to dawn on you that even your behavior's part of its plan.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Yes, it struck her now that this whole business of the bull was like a life; the important birth, the fair chance, the tentative, then assured, then half-dispairing circulations of the ring, an obstacle negotiated - a feat improperly recognized - boredom, resignation, collapse: then another, more convulsive birth, a new start; the circumspect endeavours to obtain one's bearings in a world now frankly hostile, the apparent but deceptive encouragement of one's judges, half of whom were asleep, the swervings into the beginnings of disaster because of that same negligible obstacle one had surely taken before at a stride, the final enmeshment in the toils of enemies one was never quite certain weren't friends more clumsy than actively ill-disposed, followed by disaster, capitulation, disintegration.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“What use were his talons and fangs to the dying tiger? In the clutches, say, to make matters worse, of a boa-constrictor? But apparently this improbable tiger had no intention of dying just yet. On the contrary, he intended taking a little walk, taking the boa-constrictor with him, even to pretend, for a while, it wasn't there.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“I have resisted temptation for two and a half minutes at least: my redemption is sure.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Interchangeable ever were the terms of abuse with which the aggressor discredits those about to be ravaged!”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Can't you see there's a determinism about the fate of nations? They all seem to get what they deserve in the long run.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Hugh put one foot up on the parapet and regarded his cigarette that seemed bent, like humanity, on consuming itself as quickly as possible.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Ah, guilt and sorrow had dogged Juan's footsteps too, for he was not a Catholic who could rise refreshed from the cold bath of confession. Yet the banality stood: that the past was irrevocably past. And conscience had been given man to regret it only in so far as that might change the future. For man, every man, Juan seemed to be telling him, even as Mexico, must ceaselessly struggle upward. What was life but a warfare and a stranger's sojourn?”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Far above him a few white clouds were racing windily after a pale gibbous moon. Drink all morning, they said to him, drink all day. This is life!”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Bent double, groaning with the weight, an old lame Indian was carrying on his back, by means of a strap looped over his forehead, another poor Indian, yet older and more decrepit than himself. He carried the older man and his crutches, trembling in every limb under this weight of the past, he carried both their burdens.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“They were the cars at the fair that were whirling around her; no, they were the planets, while the sun stood, burning and spinning and guttering in the centre; here they came again, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto; but they were not planets, for it was not the merry-go-round at all, but the Ferris wheel, they were constellations, in the hub of which, like a great cold eye, burned Polaris, and round and round it here they went: Cassiopeia, Cepheus, the Lynx, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and the Dragon; yet they were not constellations, but, somehow, myriads of beautiful butterflies, she was sailing into Acapulco harbour through a hurricane of beautiful butterflies, zigzagging overhead and endlessly vanishing astern over the sea, the sea, rough and pure, the long dawn rollers advancing, rising, and crashing down to glide in colourless ellipses over the sand, sinking, sinking, someone was calling her name far away and she remembered, they were in a dark wood, she heard the wind and the rain rushing through the forest and saw the tremours of lightning shuddering through the heavens and the horse—great God, the horse—and would this scene repeat itself endlessly and forever?—the horse, rearing, poised over her, petrified in midair, a statue, somebody was sitting on the statue, it was Yvonne Griffaton, no, it was the statue of Huerta, the drunkard, the murderer, it was the Consul, or it was a mechanical horse on the merry-go-round, the carrousel, but the carrousel had stopped and she was in a ravine down which a million horses were thundering towards her, and she must escape, through the friendly forest to their house, their little home by the sea.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“When I should have been producing obscure volumes of verse entitled the Triumph of Humpty Dumpty or the Nose with the Luminous Dong! Or at best, like Clare, "weaving fearful vision" ... A frustrated poet in every man. Though it is perhaps a good idea under the circumstances to pretend at least to be proceeding with one's great work on "Secret Knowledge," then one can always say when it never comes out that the title explains the deficiency.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“He felt rather like someone lying in a bath after all the water has run out, witless, almost dead.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“-Mira, Frijolillo -el Cónsul oía sus propias palabras-, tener en tu contra a Franco o a Hitler es una cosa, pero tener a Actinio, Argón, Berilio, Disprosio, Niobio, Paladio, Praseodimio...
-Mira, Geoff...
-...Rutenio, Samario, Silicón, Tántalo, Telurio, Terbio, Torio...
-Mira...
-Tulio, Titanio, Uranio, Vanadio, Virginio, Zenón, Iterbio, Circonio, por no hablar de Europio y Germanio... ¡Hip!... ¡Y Columbio!... Contra ti y contra todos los demás, es otra -el Cónsul acabó su cerveza.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“And I'm afraid it really is a jungle too," pursued the Consul, "in fact I expect Rousseau to come riding out of it at any moment on a tiger." "What's that?" Mr Quincey said, frowning in a manner that might have meant: And God never drinks before breakfast either.

"On a tiger," the Consul repeated.

The other gazed at him a moment with the cold sardonic eye of the material world. "I expect so," he said sourly. "Plenty tigers. Plenty elephants too... Might I ask you if the next time you inspect your jungle you'd mind being sick on your own side of the fence?”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“Under the Volcano” embraces everything from Dante to Freud to the cabala. Here it shambles like Cervantes, there it rages like Ahab, and every page of it pulsates on Out of Body Auto-Reply, that style of pure Lowry that points at once backward, to all European literature, and forward, to the mother of all nervous breakdowns.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


“They were galloping...Bare level plain had taken the place of the scrub and they'd been cantering briskly, the foals prancing delightedly ahead, when suddenly the dog was a shoulder-shrugging streaking fleece, and as their mares almost imperceptibly fell into the long untrammelled undulating strides, Hugh felt the sense of change, the keen elemental pleasure one experienced too on board a ship which, leaving the choppy waters of the estuary, gives way to the pitch and swing of the open sea. A faint carillon of bells sounded in the distance, rising and falling, sinking back as if into the very substance of the day. Judas had forgotten; nay, Judas had been, somehow, redeemed.”
― Malcolm Lowry, quote from Under the Volcano


About the author

Malcolm Lowry
Born place: in Wallasey, Merseyside, England, The United Kingdom
Born date July 28, 1909
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