Conrad's Eastern Vision: A Vain and Floating Appearance by Agnes Swee Kim Yeow

By Agnes Swee Kim Yeow

This booklet lines the dialogic relation among Conrad's jap fiction and different histories and argues that it really is accurately within the intersections of artwork and heritage that we find Conrad's irony. The dialogism of Conrad's East resists any finalising that means and its loophole lies in subjective imaginative and prescient. In a right away reaction to the visible tradition of his occasions, Conrad units up his fictional international as a hallucinated mirage at the same time he stresses the veracity of his personal japanese imaginative and prescient.

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Extra info for Conrad's Eastern Vision: A Vain and Floating Appearance

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From the outset of his writing career, he had spoken of fiction and the task of the writer in terms of visions: ‘I had given myself up to the idleness of a haunted man who looks for nothing but words wherein to capture his visions’ (APR 8). In the oft-quoted ‘Author’s Note’ to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’, he had 28 Conrad’s Eastern Vision declared: ‘My task ... is, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel – it is, before all, to make you see. That – and no more, and it is everything’ (NB 20).

I could be eloquent were I not afraid you fellows had starved your imaginations The Collision of Indistinct Ideas 39 to feed your bodies. I do not mean to be offensive; it is respectable to have no illusions – and safe – and profitable – and dull. Yet you, too, in your time must have known the intensity of life, that light of glamour created in the shock of trifles, as amazing as the glow of sparks struck from a cold stone – and as short-lived, alas! (LJ 225) Marlow’s narrative hints at the dialogic relation between romance (illusion, the glamour of art) and the ‘facts’ or history of the case.

After the closure of the coal mine, he tells Davidson, ‘Oh, I am done with facts’ (V 28). In Lord Jim, Jim rails against the tyranny and irrelevance of facts: ‘They wanted facts. Facts! They demanded facts from him, as if facts could explain anything’ (LJ 29)! Marlow declares that the ‘language of facts’ from which one interprets the truth is ‘so often more enigmatic than the craftiest arrangement of words’ (LJ 340). Recounting the proceedings of the official inquiry where Jim and other witnesses are probed for the facts relating to the Patna investigation, Marlow remarks sardonically: ‘You can’t expect the constituted authorities to inquire into the state of a man’s soul – or is it only of his liver’ (LJ 56–7)?

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