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Thread: Joseph Conrad

  1. #46
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    Conrad and Gaalsworthy were lifelong friends and the former used to send his manuscripts to Galsworthy for opinion. I see a great difference between the style of writing of the two. Conrad's writing sounds rather 'nervous', full of action, never in peace, like the sea where most of his novels are located. On the other hand, Galsworthy's writing is somehow solemn, full of tranquility and wisdom. Therefore, I can suppose that as friends they were compatible, as opposites, completing each other, in some way.

  2. #47
    Tidings of Literature Whosis's Avatar
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    I hate to say this, but I couldn't disagree more with Heart of Darkness in the least. The narrative within a narrative was so BORING. I didn't care for the voice in that book. I would say he's one of my LEAST favorite authors, but people have disagreed with me in the past. It may not stop me from trying Lord Jim someday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whosis View Post
    I hate to say this, but I couldn't disagree more with Heart of Darkness in the least. The narrative within a narrative was so BORING. I didn't care for the voice in that book. I would say he's one of my LEAST favorite authors, but people have disagreed with me in the past. It may not stop me from trying Lord Jim someday.
    I tried starting Lord Jim several times. I never got more than a few dozen pages in. It is possible that the narratives in Conrad's novels are O.K., but the characters, and especially the narrators, aren't interesting to me.
    Last edited by PeterL; 04-20-2014 at 11:25 AM.

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    I have read The Secret Agent, Lord Jim and The Heart of Darkness. The HoD was in a book with two other stories, but I cannot remember what they were called. I soon recognised a pattern: the protagonist, the one you were rooting for, the one who had suffered nobly for years, would die. Not only would he or she die, the death would be completely futile and hardly anyone would notice. The HoD are a little different in that the star of the show is not noble. While I was reading it, it reminded me a bit of Apocalypse Now, not knowing that film had been loosely based on the book. There is a lot going on between the lines in HoD, and I doubt I got half of it. My favourite part of that story was when the narrator went to visit Kurtz's widow at the end of the book. Many of Conrad's stories involve ships, which is fair enough as Joseph Conrad was a ship's captain. Of the three books I read, I found The Secret Agent the most interesting, if only to note that terrorist activities date back a long time. The story was inspired by a real plot to blow up the Greenwich Observatory. Somebody on another site highlighted a passage when ***SPOILER*** Winnie kills Verloc as an example of sublime writing. For me the passage that stuck out most in my mind was when Winnie thinks back to the butcher's apprentice she would have liked to marry, but could not because his boat was not large enough to accept both her and her mentally disabled brother, so she married Verloc.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    This thread, still going?

    For the record, Jack of Hearts desperately misses PoeticPassions, who was an intelligent and lovely poster. Come back, PP, or at least check your inbox once in a while. Re-reading what your wrote about Conrad in this thread is revealing just how insightful that feedback was.






    J

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whosis View Post
    I hate to say this, but I couldn't disagree more with Heart of Darkness in the least. The narrative within a narrative was so BORING. I didn't care for the voice in that book. I would say he's one of my LEAST favorite authors, but people have disagreed with me in the past. It may not stop me from trying Lord Jim someday.
    I rate Lord Jim far more highly than Heart of Darkness, it's much less obscure! Harold Bloom, and several serious critics, agree with me So if it was the obscurity that you found tedious then definitely give Lord Jim a try. Don't dismiss a novelist because of one work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iain Sparrow View Post
    I agree with your assessment on the two books except I just plain loved Heart of Darkness, whereas I could hardly make it through Lord Jim.

    The Holy Trinity of classic writers, for me anyhow, is... Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Kipling being the best pure storyteller.
    I've read Heart of Darkness twice, both times thinking something like "that was interesting, but I'm not sure what's going on. Must read it again some time." Not exactly love, but a continuing interest... I agree these may be the Holy Trinity, if you stay within the small Universe of "Britain post-Dickens pre-Ishiguro". I think they are far superior to other British claimants, like Orwell, Huxley, or Lawrence. Though Thomas Hardy should be put alongside them, maybe even replacing Stevenson. But go outside the sceptred isle and I think Roth, Bellow, Saramego, Solzhenytsyn, Camus, and several others, are comparable (with Tolstoy even higher...)

  8. #53
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    I wasn't sure what you meant by obscure at first, as Heart of Darkness is not obscure from the literary greatness sense--I had to read it twice in school. Just promise me no more narrative in a narrative nonsense for Lord Jim . We'll see if I ever get around to it. My reading list is large right now (more than ten books), and I tend to read slow to soak up everything.

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    "Heart of Darkness may always be a critical battleground between readers who regard it as an aesthetic triumph, and those like myself who doubt its ability to rescue us from its own hopeless obscurantism." - Harold Bloom

    For instance, Marlow rambles on and appears not to know what he's talking about. This *might* be a strength, but if Conrad also does not know what he's talking about, where are we?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    "Heart of Darkness may always be a critical battleground between readers who regard it as an aesthetic triumph, and those like myself who doubt its ability to rescue us from its own hopeless obscurantism." - Harold Bloom

    For instance, Marlow rambles on and appears not to know what he's talking about. This *might* be a strength, but if Conrad also does not know what he's talking about, where are we?
    It's too late to ask Conrad, so we have to go from the evidence that he left behind (the novel itself), and that indicates that Conrad didn't know what he was talking about.

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    To resurrect this. Conrad obviously knew what he was talking about. So obvious that Bloom must've been looking for something else. Conrad detested what he had seen of imperialism. The so-called empire builders and civilisers were creatures of darkness. Although I "got" Heart of Darkness when I read it as a youngster, I preferred Nostromo and felt even more strongly about the yarn The Arrow of Gold. The Secret Agent I found dull and reactionary.

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