Joseph Conrad Message Board
Joan Iris posts on 3/19/2011 12:38:20 PM
I have a theory about Joseph Conrad's use of medical information as the basis for the descriptions of his characters.
One such example is the description of the signs of Parkinson's disease in "The Secret Agent."
FROM MEDICAL BOOK (on Parkinson's)...
"The tremor is usually marked in the hands,and the thumb and forefinger display the motion in the act of rolling a pill..."
FROM CONRAD'S "THE SECRET AGENT"...
Professor: "ears frail enough for Ossipon to crush between thumb and forefinger"
Verloc: "exhibiting his funny demonstrations between his thumb and forefinger"..."seemed to hold delicately between thumb and forefinger"
I would enjoy discussing this theory with someone.
Ron Morgan posts on 7/29/2010 11:19:02 PM
Does anyone know anything of Edmunds whereabouts? Is he still in Rusk? We used to email all the time, but suddenly he stopped and I haven't heard from him.
Edmund A. Bojarski posts on 3/16/2009 7:07:12 PM
The Joseph Conrad Foundation is seeking people with computer know-how to help publish its Thesis Bibliography Series.
If you have a favorite author anywhere in world literature or know someone who does and would like to compile a volume in the TBS please contact us. We are also looking for people with Polish language skills to publish translations from that language in our online journal, CONRAD CONCEPTS.
Please contact us at 130 Chestnut St., Danville, VA 24541 or phone 434 792 0685. The e-mail address at the moment is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance for your consideration! Ed Bojarski
Erynn posts on 9/16/2008 4:20:57 PM
Hey all. Im doing a paper on Under Western Eyes and have the main ideas down but am struggling to come up with a specific topic to focus on, any ideas?
anonymous posts on 3/12/2008 4:04:13 PM
The issue is not whether Conrad is a racist or not, as his racism is evident; but the conviction related to colonialism as conveyed through the text. Joseph Conrad's idealistic view of colonization is depicted through Kurtz's adapting himself to the culture upon which he encroaches. That is, he becomes a Congolese God, and no more European himself. Kurtz's motivation is no way similar to the known-by-all colonialist of the past, the exploitations of which had been nothing but that of a leech's. However, to an Anti-Colonialist, it's just the lesser of the two evils to prove Kurtz right. Yet, in Conrad's point of view, I suppose, Kurtz is the idealistic colonialist.
Leon posts on 3/2/2007 11:50:01 PM
We have pointed out then, the two components of expression: allegory and speech, as working towards the ground in two different ways. To summarize: we have stated how allegory is a negative description of the failure of the immediate component, and this knowledge is primarily negative -- i.e. knowledge of failure. The allegorical component is the historical component that sees eternal recurrence, is able to detect the inability of knowledge to escape the realm of the jungle, it is the historical moment of the recognition of the continued presence of the ground.
We must ask also about this immediate component: the devastation that Conrad sees all around him, the VOICE, the SOUND, the Materiality in this sense of everything spoken. But Conrad himself uses language -- and language is always sound, which seem to mean things and in fact do mean things, but is, more profoundly, still of the jungle ...
Leon posts on 3/2/2007 1:01:19 PM
Conrad thinks about race, but this does not mean he was "racist". One can only understand the nature of Conrad's racism if we think about blackness and whiteness as allegories for something else, but once we continue down this path, the question of "Whether (yes/no) he was a racist" becomes suprisingly superficial.
What, then, is the ground of Conrad's philosophy? This is in fact the question that Conrad himself asks: recall that his trip to Africa felt like a "trip to the center of the earth": not to hell, but to the ultimate ground of modern life and to all of life -- in fact, the common ground between Europe and Africa. The ground, then, the center and the earth, is an allegory for the entire purpose of the book: and we will encounter countless such allegories, for example: "Heart of Darkness", "the jungle", "the inner station".
Thus, we can say two things about the ground:
1) Conrad's project is a philosophical seeking for the ground of all human behavior. This ground is visible in Africa as the overwhelming presence of the jungle, but is invisible (or-- visible in a different way) in the City of Death, in Europe.
2) Conrad's narrative is an allegory of this seeking of the ground. The trip to "the inner station", "the center of the earth", is an allegory for the philosophical task that Conrad attempts on every page.
There are, then, at least two components: a constant desiring, a constant blind desiring after this ground on every page, tirelessly repeated. Conrad feels the ground, but cannot convey or even shape this knowledge. He sees the jungle watching him, feels this ground everywhere yet cannot express this.
The second component: The allegory of this desiring. This allegory of desiring tells us that this desperation in his voice is not the result of laziness or an impotence of thought, but rather, the very function of the ground. The ground determines all -- it determines the very questions we ask, there is no way outside of the influence of the jungle. Becasue -- to attempt to describe this jungle is already to be in the jungle -- THE VERY ACT OF DESCRIPTION, OF THE SEEKING OF KNOWLEDGE, IS ALREADY PREDETERMINED BY THE JUNGLE.
This means, first of all, that the ground is "unknowable". Conrad does not want to return from his encounter with merely ivory -- Ivory, that pure white substance, of arbitrary value, absolutely meaningless, is an allegory for the "idea" -- the knowledge and the light of civilization, here rethought as the pure whiteness of ivory.
So: One of Conrad's most fascinating insights: There is no description of the ground -- because the very act of description is like an act of harvesting ivory. THe very project of philosophy is predetermined by the darkness. But this is knowledge, at the moment is purely negative -- it merely tells us what we cannot do. But all seeking must return empty handed, by its very nature -- all seeking is like hunting, is like hunting ivory -- it is doomed from the start to return only, again and again, with "Ivory" -- pure white, death and bone.
What, then, is the positive component of The Heart of Darkness? (con't)
jordan posts on 12/6/2006 1:30:29 AM
I have written an essay on the heart of darkness, but I am now unsure how to cite my work on it as I have used "The Bedford Anthology of World Literature". This is a compilation of many different works of modern literature. Would anyone know the proper way to cite?
posts on 8/28/2006 6:07:13 PM
tell me the foundation of joseph conrad's literature?
posts on 8/19/2006 3:12:48 AM
Conrad was a product of his time, as such he could definately be considered a racist. The 'he had plenty of black friends' just doesn't wash away his colonial bias I'm afraid. I think he's a fanatstic storyteller,and I by no means put him in this league, but Hitler also had a Jew at the helm of his propoganda machine...I know plenty of male chauvinist's with female wives.
Click Here for Messages:
1 - 10
11 - 20
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the posters.