Of Monads and Fragments; or,
Heterotopologies of Ship
… the natural changes of the monads must result from an Internal principle, since no
external cause could influence their interior.… Consequently, there must be In the [monad]
a plurality of affections and relations, though it has no parts.
G. W. von Leibniz, Monadology
WHAT MICHEL FOUCAULT CALLS HETEROTOPIA, Joseph Conrad calls Narcissus. What we learned about Foucault's heterotopias in the introduction will provide here the heuristic backdrop for an investigation of spatial discourses in Conrad, and what we hope to learn about Conrad in the end will also transfigure Foucault's conceptual apparatus. Conrad and Foucault are placed here side by side as two thinkers and writers who shared in the history of certain conceptualizations of space that will ultimately be revealed to have emerged in interference with modern representations of the space of empire.
The passage had begun, and the ship, a fragment detached from the earth,
went on lonely and swift like a small planet. Round her the abysses of sky
and sea met in an unattainable frontier. A great circular solitude moved with
her, ever changing and ever the same, always monotonous and always impos-
ing. Now and then another wandering white speck, burdened with life,