Monday, 7 May 2012


A fictional sea port that occurs in Lowry's works including 'Tramps' and Ultramarine. Commentators including Gordon Bowker have identified the sea port asYokahama, Japan probably because of the Japanese references used and that was also the final port on Lowry's 1927 Far East voyage.

However, close reading identifies the sea port as Dairen (now Dalian) in China formerly Manchuria then occupied by Japan and visited by Lowry in 1927. The origins of the words Tsjang-tsjang may be the Dutch intepretation of Chinese words with the English equivalent of Chang Chang.

Other commentators have also identified the port as being in Manchuria; "Now, out of the mortuary of expired novels comes a re-edition of this first book by Malcolm Lowry, ... with the tough talk and the one- track sport of the foc's'le hands in the disenchanting Manchurian port of Tsjang-Tsjang. ..." The Canadian Forum: a monthly journal of literature and public affairs: Volume 43 and Barry Wood Malcolm Lowry: The Writer and his Critics Pg. 5.

Dairen is actually mentioned 5 times by name in the Ultramarine but there are many descriptions of the port which establish the fictional Tsjang Tsjang as Dairen (See entry for Dairen for full details); "At Tsjang-Tsjang, he supposed, the same interminable performance would be gone through as before; the usual stream of hawkers would surge on to the ship; stevedores would clamber up the side from lighters, or swing in on the derricks; the winchmen would soon be seated on their straw mats.." (Ultramarine Pg 16); "This evening we reach Tsjang-Tsjang.. (Ultramarine Pg. 18); "They were now sailing into Tsjang-Tsjang harbour.." (Pg. 29);  "Tsjang-Tsjang was by now all around and over the Oedipus Tyrannus, with what he took to be rice fields, formed in steps, sloping perilously down to the sea: the port itself, grouped a the bottom of the cliffs, was every moment growing larger.(Ultramarine Pg. 30); Janet Travena addresses a letter to Dana Hilliot in Tsjang-Tsjang (Ultramarine Pg. 168); "Eight hours out of Tsjang-Tsjang (Ultramarine Pg. 169).

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