A Glimpse of Conrad in 1912

By Allan, Michael | The Conradian : the Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.), Spring 2015 | Go to article overview

A Glimpse of Conrad in 1912


Allan, Michael, The Conradian : the Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.)


VOLUME SEVEN of Norman Douglas: Selected Correspondence (Allan, ed., 2014) - an on-going series published under the auspices of the Norman Douglas Research Centre at the Vorarlberger Landesbibliothek in Bregenz - is devoted to the correspondence of the Austro-Scottish writer Norman Douglas (1868-1952) with the Anglo-Greek Classical scholar and poet John Nicolas Mavrogordato (1882- 1970). From 1910 to 1912, the latter was also assistant editor of the English Review. Research at the Special Collections Reading Room of the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, which holds the Archive of John Mavrogordato, a large collection of his papers, diaries, and manuscripts, turned up the diary entry, published below, of 12 May 1912,1 written after an overnight stay with the Conrads at Capel House. Figures well-known in Conrad's circle are not identified in the annotations.

It turns out that J.C.'s first landsman friend in England was Ted Sanderson2 of Elstree: and he must have been staying there, finishing a book in a spare bedroom in Egypt,3 when I was at school there. [...] We sat up very late: in fact we were still talking hard, (or rather I was listening to fantastic stories of the comedy and tragedy seething round F. M. Hueffer while he was editing the first English Review) when J.C. springing to the curtains discovered the day breaking.

J.C. on the slavery of writing: fear and depression, and hatred of the labour. Even the artist's pleasure which he tried not to confess, swallowed up in financial anxiety. Fisher Unwin & ?20 for Almayer's Folly! His wanderings & illnesses supported by Pinker. The effort of Nostromo. He had never been on the west coast of South America in his life & had to imagine the whole thing, climate, geography, history and all. In fact this matter had obscured the central figure. Similarly Under Western Eyes was written though he had never been in Russia except to pass through, since the seventies.

The names Linda & Giselle, children of the Garibaldino Viola, in Nostromo, taken from two Italian dancing girls he knew in Marseilles, whose father they called Garibaldino for a joke. …

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