Conrad and Impressionism

Conrad and Impressionism

Conrad and Impressionism

Conrad and Impressionism

Synopsis

John Peters investigates the impact of Impressionism on Conrad and links this to his literary techniques as well as his philosophical and political views. Impressionism, Peters argues, enabled Conrad to encompass both surface and depth not only in visually perceived phenomena but also in his narratives and objects of consciousness, be they physical objects, human subjects, events or ideas. Conrad and Impressionism investigates the sources and implications of Conrad's impressionism in order to argue for a consistent link among his literary technique, philosophical presuppositions and socio-political views.

Excerpt

Before beginning my inquiry proper, it is necessary to lay some groundwork. On a purely stylistic level, concerning quoted material, I follow standard practice and attribute passages using italics for emphasis either to myself or to the cited author depending on whose emphasis it is. Also, unless otherwise noted, bracketed information and ellipsis within quoted material are mine.

A few other nonstylistic issues must also be addressed. When dealing with any writer's literary works, it is difficult (if not impossible) to separate the writer's own views from those of a work's narrating voice, and with Joseph Conrad this difficulty is particularly problematic because of the presence of multiple narrators and such narrator characters as Marlow and the teacher of foreign languages. When an idea appears consistently throughout Conrad's works, though, I have felt comfortable attributing that idea to Conrad himself, especially when Conrad's own comments in his letters and essays further support that idea or when others who knew Conrad have attributed such an idea to him. Naturally, in considering any of these sources, one must remain skeptical. At different times, Conrad may have expressed different opinions on the same topic to different people; furthermore, commentators have sometimes accused Conrad of doctoring events (as they do his friend Ford Madox Ford, whom I also cite on occasion). When general consistency exists among sources, however, I thought it safe to attribute a particular idea to Conrad.

In addition, as much as possible, I have tried to limit comments concerning human nature, the nature of western civilization, and the nature of the universe to those views that I believe to have been Conrad's own. I have simply tried to report what seems to appear in the various sources I have investigated. However, to avoid constantly introducing sentences with “for Conrad” or “according to Conrad” or some . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.