Monday, 6 August 2012

Keelung, Taiwan

Keelung City (also Jilong or Chilung) is a major port city situated in the northeastern part of Taiwan formerly Formosa in the 1920s. A systematic city development started during the Japanese Era, after the 8 May 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, which handed all Taiwan over to Japan, went into force. A five-phase construction of Keelung Harbour was initiated, and in by 1916 trade volume had exceeded even those of Tamsui and Kaohsiung Harbours to become one of the major commercial harbors of Taiwan. Read more on Wikipedia 

Lowry visited the port on the inward bound voyage of Pyrrhus arriving August 4th and departing the next day for Foochow.

Lowry refers to Keelung in his novel Ultramarine; "Now ... I once pinched a five-pound packet of what I thought was Formosa tea from Kelung, only it turned out to be camphor!" (Pg.178).

Later in The 1940 Under The Volcano; "When I was on the Achilles I once saw the Helen coming out of Kelung, Formosa, with the Menelaus after her. The Minnylaws, as the limeys call her. But that's by way" (Pg. 61).

Lowry also wrote to David Markson in a letter dated 10th Setember 1951; "...(Though I've been to Ceylon, Likewise Formosa. Likewise China & Japan. Also Dollarton). (Collected Letters Vol 2 Pg. 433).

Images courtesy of Taipics

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