grounds; and its absence ruined the chances of the other stories. The reading
of that first story attuned the mind for the reception of the others." R. W. Stallman
, in "Conrad and 'The Secret Sharer,'" Accent, IX (Spring 1949), 131- 143, discusses contradictions between prefaces and letters and concludes that Conrad employed strategic feints and "cunning strategy by which he everywhere conceals what his books are really about."
J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough ( New York, 1922), p. 317.
In Joseph Conrad: Achievement and Decline ( 1957) Thomas Moser
remarks on distinctly inferior works about love: "Tomorrow" (in Typhoon and
Other Stories, 1903), "Gaspar Ruiz" (in A Set of Six, 1908), disasters equal
to those of The Sisters, "The Rescuer", and "The Return". "Almost as bad
results obtain in two stories more ambitious in intention than these potboilers, "Falk" (in Typhoon and Other Stories, 1903) and "Freya and the Seven
Isles" (in 'Twixt Land and Sea, 1912)." "Love does not, perhaps, explain Conrad's other long, ambitious failure of this period, the uneconomical, sentimental "End of the Tether" (published in Youth and Two Other Stories, 1902).
Nevertheless, hints of Captain Whalley's incestuous love for his daughter and
of Massy's and Van Wyk's homosexual attraction to the old captain indicate
that confusion about sexual material may have contributed to Conrad's difficulty with the story." (Pages 99, 218). [Editor's note]
F. R. LEAVIS
On "Typhoon" and The Shadow Line
Woman and the sea revealed themselves to me together, as it were:
two mistresses of life's values. The illimitable greatness of the one, the
unfathomable seduction of the other, working their immemorial spells
from generation to generation fell upon my heart at last: a common
fortune, an unforgettable memory of the sea's formless might and of
the sovereign charm in that woman's form wherein there seemed to
beat the pulse of divinity rather than blood.
THIS COMES FROM a bad novel, one of Conrad's worst things, The Arrow
of Gold. It is a sophisticated piece of work, with a sophistication that
elaborates and aggravates the deplorable kind of naïvety illustrated in the
quotation. Not that the author's talent doesn't appear, but the central
theme--and the pervasive atmosphere--is the "unfathomable seduction"
of the "enigmatic" Rita; a glamorous mystery, the evocation of which
(though more prolonged and elaborated) is of the same order as the evocation of sinister significance, the "inconceivable" mystery of Kurtz, at the
close of "Heart of Darkness". If any reader of that tale had felt that the
irony permitted a doubt regarding Conrad's attitude towards the Intended, the presentment of Rita should settle it.