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Download Joseph Conrad: A Literary Life by Cedric Watts PDF

By Cedric Watts

Drawing out the designated thematic preoccupations and technical units in Conrad's writing, Professor Watts explores Conrad's value and impression as an ethical, social and political commentator. He focuses particularly on Almayer's Folly, The Nigger of the Narcissus, center of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo and probability.

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Stevie, the hapless innocent who is destroyed after summing up his wisdom in the maxim 'Bad world for poor people', seems to be a relative of Dickens' bewildered Jo; while Detective-Inspector Heat is a stalwart descendant of Dickens' Inspector Bucket; and both Conrad and Dickens knew the ancient aphorism ('Truth lies at the bottom of a deep weIl') which generated Bucket' s symbolic surname. 71 The scene in which Winnie Verloc's bewigged mother crosses the city in a rattling cab drawn by an emaciated horse approaches a Dickensian vividness of farce, fantasy and the grimly macabre.

The description of James Wait's death in The Nigger incorporates similar or identieal details, and the phrasing is too close to be explained as coincidence. 53 As a whole, The Nigger of the 'Narcissus', the narrative of a sea-voyage, is quite unlike Bel-Ami, the study of a cynieal careerist in Parisian society; but the debts to Maupassant exemplify a general rule of Conradian fiction: that even those tales and novels whieh seem to be distinctively based on Conrad' s own past experiences lllay be embellished by vivid details seized with a magpie' s adroitness from other writers' novels, tales or memoirs.

You will never control the forces of nature, for whether blind or governed by Providence, in each case they have their own preordained paths. . Certainly humanity has a lesser need of 32 Joseph Conrad produdng geniuses than of the already-existing modest and consdentious workers who fulfil their duties; nobody has the right to call himself the former until he has proved it by deeds, just as nobody has the right to withdraw from the work of the latter because of his conviction that he is not part of the team .....

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