Thursday, April 30, 2009

Heart of Conrad

Interesting article about Joseph Conrad
Conrad never claimed that his writings would change the nature of humankind or society. He wasn't interested either in spinning adventure stories set on the high seas, in the manner of Captain Marryat, R.M. Ballantyne, or John Masefield. Nor did he believe in the type described by Herman Melville as the "Handsome Sailor," that nautical beau ideal whom his messmates loved and admired, the ancestor of Captain Horatio Hornblower or Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey. Conrad had scant faith in the idealized man and the abstract idea, in the generalized theory. Rather, he believed in the form and substance of things; in the visible, the measurable, the job to be performed, all of it limned by that ethical cipher which flickers like a spectre in and out of the stories, the novels, the sketches.