Sunday, 6 May 2012


Gustave Doré Charon 
Charon is the ferryman in Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. 

A re-occuring figure in Lowry's work; “Your lights are bright Mr Charon” ‘In Le Havre’; “The ferry, quite as Charon’s boat, knows death” (‘Freighter 1940’ in Collected Poems 143); a Robert Charon was a passenger on the S.S. Brest the ship Lowry sailed on from America to France in 1947 (Letter to John Davenport Collected Letters     Vol. 2 111); Lowry wrote the short story ‘Through The Panama’ based on the 1947 voyage and included the character Charon; “a glum Charon’s boat, plying up and down between mountains” (October Ferry to Gabriola Pg. 49); “So might Charon’s boat appeared, Ethan thought, when hell was nearly brand-new” (October Ferry to Gabriola 287). Charon is also archetype for Scrubby the character in Sutton Vane’s play Outward Bound, which was highly influential on Lowry.

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