Notes on Joseph Conrad, with Some Unpublished Letters

Notes on Joseph Conrad, with Some Unpublished Letters

Notes on Joseph Conrad, with Some Unpublished Letters

Notes on Joseph Conrad, with Some Unpublished Letters

Excerpt

Joseph Conrad is dead, and there goes with him one of the most original and sinister and sombre personalities of our time, and one of the greatest novelists. When I use the word great, I do not mean to compare him with Balzac, who saw humanity as in a mirror, the humanity which comes to the great dreamers, the great poets, humanity as Shakespeare saw it; and so in Balzac, as in all great artists, there is something more than nature, a divine excess. Yet all the same, Conrad must be coupled with certain giants. He was, to my own personal knowledge, incapable of rest, and incapable of existing without production. Like Whistler, when he was not working at his own art -- for which he had the same passionate devotion -- he was elaborating a fine art of conversation. "In argument," wrote one of his friends, "he was extremely formidable, with a mellow wisdom, a ripe experience, and an extraordinary capacity for impressing his point of view. He had a fund of scathing contempt for the people or things that aroused his imagination, but his nature was kindly." Conrad created by some inexplicable, by some mysterious, by some occult form of mesmerism, worlds unknown, unimaginable, monstrous and most perilous; and, having created and judged them, I imagine him, squatting . . .

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