Conrad’s Existentialism - download pdf or read online

By OTTO BOHLMANN

ISBN-10: 023037400X

ISBN-13: 9780230374003

ISBN-10: 1349388521

ISBN-13: 9781349388523

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Extra resources for Conrad’s Existentialism

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Although Razumov initially regards society as rational, after his experience with General T-- he views it as an absurd comedy of errors. Conrad may sympathise with Razumov's desire '"to guide my conduct by reasonable convictions'" (1:3:113), but he plainly demonstrates that reason cannot master the complexities of a fundamentally non-rational world. "'The more intelligent one is,"' Razumov later concedes in Geneva, '"the less one suspects an absurdity"' (3:1:207). And Peter Ivanovitch, while a fugitive prisoner, was grateful to find that he had 'developed an unsuspected genius for the arts of a wild and hunted existence ...

Thus Jim, 'disabled by a falling spar', lay 'stretched on his back, ... hopeless, and tormented as if at the bottom of an abyss of unrest. He did not care what the end would be' (2:14, 15). But this malaise and the deeper anxiety that later accompanied the Patna episode eventually stirred in him an 'impalpable striving' to achieve a more authentic mode of existence (17:140). As Kierkegaard mentions in his Concluding Unscientific Postscript (85), our 'existence' is 'a constant striving' against the forces that would subject us to inauthentic lives.

Such preoccupation with having is even more central in Nostromo, which remorselessly depicts the ravages of 'material interests' through the baleful effects of the San Tome mine and its silver. 37 To the Europeans of Costaguana it was as if the mine were 'the symbol of the supreme importance of material interests' and of the wider belief in material progress (2:7:230), a belief Conrad repudiates, as Nino Erne and later critics have stressed. 38 The mine had completely obsessed Charles Gould's father, whose letters to his son away in England for his schooling 'came at last to talk of practically nothing but the mine.

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Conrad’s Existentialism by OTTO BOHLMANN


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