Saturday, 4 August 2012

Macassar, Indonesia

Sometimes spelled Macassar, Mangkasar. Provincial capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, and the largest city on Sulawesi Island. Located on the southwest coast of the island of Sulawesi, facing the Makassar Strait.

There is no record of Lowry visiting city on his voyage to the Far East in 1927. Lowry refers to the city in his short story 'Tramps'; "Now when I was in Macassar.." (Pg. 4). Lowry also refers to the city in a letter to John Davenport dated 27th October which contains many references to Richard Eberhart's poems 'Caravan of Silence' and A Bravery of Earth though Eberhart does mention the city; "a Persian too - he longed for the friendly lights against the night in his home-town Macassar or Basia." (Collected Letters Vol 1 Pg. 74). Lowry may have been influenced by Conrad's reference to the city in his short story 'Freya of the Seven Isles'; "the prettiest, and perhaps the cleanest-looking, of all the towns in the Islands." Lowry also makes reference to a "Maccaser" in his novel Ultramarine; "In Persia it was, Macasser the Sultan came aboard with all his harem under bloody umbrellas." (P.70). There was a Sultanate of Macassar which maybe what Lowry is making reference to in his novel. Again there maybe a connection to Conrad as Sultans occur in many of his short stories.

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