Nigger of the "Narcissus", preface, p. XIII. Page references to Conrad are
to the Kent edition, Garden City, N. Y., 1926. [Editor's note: The Kent edition
of Conrad's collected works, published by Doubleday, has the same pagination
as the Uniform Edition ( 1923) and the Present Collected Edition ( 1946) published by J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd.]
Shadow Line p. 77. This quotation and the following ones give but a very
insufficient insight into Conrad's style. These pictures, far from being exceptional, are the very tissue of the text.
Equally to be noted is the procedure which consists in imagining scenes
which the narrator did not witness. By this placing in the foreground of technical resources which the novelist ordinarily leaves out of sight, Conrad gives
to his narratives an exquisite flavor of dream and of probity.
See especially the admirable scene of the attempted poisoning in Chance.
For Conrad own "J'ai vécu," see A Personal Record, p. 94. [Translator's
In this brief analysis of Conrad's art, I thought it appropriate to pass over
in silence the criticisms one could apply to him. Flaubert didn't always have the
best influence on him. His sentences are sometimes overwritten, and the inevitable and which precedes the final proposition makes them somewhat
monotonous. Occasionally too this magnificent evoker of emotions falls into a
purely descriptive art. But the vision called up is ordinarily independent of the
wording which only becomes obtrusive when the inspiration slackens. Finally,
however beautiful a novel like Nostromo, it seems to me to have an artificial
air, a little laboured. I would say as much of the first part of Chance, so beautiful and so successful in other respects. I would subscribe wholeheartedly to this
judgment of the Times Literary Supplement: "He never believed in his later
and more highly sophisticated characters as he had believed in his early sea
Some Notes on Joseph Conrad
JOSEPH CONRAD was a fine writer, and, I believe, some of his books will
be regarded by posterity as part of the heritage in English literature. But
he had many faults, and, in the later novels, his vices began to exceed his
virtues. In The Arrow of Gold and in The Rescue, we find him ignoring
and even adding to his literary sins. His prose, never very simple, became
more and more ornate, and his trick of talking about his characters, instead
of showing them to us directly, grew to the point of absurdity. Indeed it
is noticeable that his style is most simple and direct in his epic tales of
men's struggles with the sea, which are the stories most likely to last;
and most clumsy and deliberately picturesque in his "psychological"