Monday, September 24, 2007


"Writers day" here at DAMIJWH, this time with:

Robert Lowry (1919-1994)

Robert Lowry was a child prodigy who wrote stories for school papers and local newspapers from the age of nine.

After serving in WWII he wrote a novel of his experiences called "Casualties" which prompted Ernest Hemingway to call him " of the best young American writers.."

Building a career in the literary establishment in New York, his star rose up through the 1940's, until the early fifties when he broke down and was committed to a mental institution.

Apparently the strain of fame and publicity had pushed Lowry into alcoholism which had in turn brought out schizophrenia and paranoid delusions.

The frequent use of electro shock therapy at the time seriously damaged his creative abilities and mental health. In 1952 he published the novel "The Prince of Pride Starring" which was strongly anti-Semitic.

Two of the women Lowry had married were Jewish and those who knew him said he was a pleasant and lovable character. They believed it was his unhappy experiences in mental institutions which had affected his personality and made him write a novel which was utterly unacceptable in a world still absorbing the trauma of the Holocaust.

The novel served as the last straw that completely alienated him from the world of literature - Nobody in their right mind would publish him.

From then on Lowry's life was mainly a hell-ride. He had periods of sanity where he would re-marry, hold jobs, father several children and do some writing, but after a while, he snapped and was put back into mental care, often on the request of his wives or his mother.

In the eighties and nineties there was some new interest in his writings as he was now seen as a predecessor to the "beat" writers, and perhaps another "down and out genius" like Charles Bukowski. The WWII novel "Casualties" was likened favourably to Joseph Heller's "Catch 22".

This didn't change much for Lowry who was no longer writing and worn out from years of mental illness and drinking. All he had to say to an old friend who managed to look him up at one of the run down hotels he now resided in was; "...I guess I really blew it, Jim..."

In 1994 Lowry died in a Veterans Hospital leaving behind $1 and an inexpensive watch.

More on Lowry, and examples of his writings at a German website dedicated to his life and work (in English)

Retro babe"...Sex? are you crazy - The latest copy of Scouts Monthly just came in!.."
Panzer Borgward B IV
This highly specialized vehicle (foreground, right) was used to remotely control explosive charges.
(unfortunately) Also my people
(regrettably) Also my war

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