The Art of Joseph Conrad: A Critical Symposium

By R. W. Stallman | Go to book overview

The Italian sailor, whom all the Europeans in Sulaco, following Captain Mitchell's mispronunciation, were in the habit of calling Nostromo (p. 43).

He whom the English called Nostromo (p. 29).

"You mean Nostromo?" said Decoud.

"The English call him so, but that is no name either for man or beast" (p. 232).

". . . the praise of people who have given you a silly name--and nothing besides--in exchange for your soul and body" (p. 256).

"Who are you?"

Already Nostromo had seemed to recognize Dr. Monygham. He had no doubt now. He hesitated the space of a second. The idea of bolting without a word presented itself to his mind. No use! An inexplicable repugnance to pronounce the name by which he was known kept him silent a little longer. At last he said in a low voice:

"A Cargador" (pp. 424, 425).

Nostromo is not only a remarkable achievement from a literary point of view, but also full of significance for the psychologist. It is one of the best examples of the compensatory function of artistic creation. All the repressed Polish reminiscences, sentiments, aspirations and resentments, lying deep under the surface of the artist's conscious mind, had their day of rehabilitation when this book was written. Disguised in the robe of fiction, and speaking a different tongue (though not an unfamiliar language), they rose to the daylight to amuse the onlooker and to tell of things far off, long gone by, but never forgotten. Without them, there would be no Nostromo. ( 1930)


NOTES
1.
The pagination is the Dent edition. [Editor's note]
2.
On Conrad's attempted suicide, see Appendix II, pp. 347-354. [Editor's note]

ROBERT PENN WARREN


On Nostromo

*

EARLY IN 1903, from Pent Farm, which he had rented from Ford Madox Ford, Joseph Conrad wrote to John Galsworthy: "Only with my head full of a story, I have not been able to write a single word--except the title, which shall be, I think: Nostromo." On July 8 of the same year, he wrote to R. B. Cunninghame Graham: "I am dying over that cursed Nostromo thing. All my memories of Central America seem to slip away. I just had a glimpse 25 years ago,--a short glance. That is not enough

____________________
*
First published in the Modern Library edition of Nostromo ( 1951), as Introduction by R. P. Warren.

-209-

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The Art of Joseph Conrad: A Critical Symposium
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Part One 1
  • The Art of Conrad 5
  • Notes 13
  • Notes 13
  • Notes 19
  • Notes 35
  • Notes 45
  • Part Two 59
  • Notes 87
  • Notes 96
  • The Nigger of the "Narcissus" 121
  • On Lord Jim(an Excerpt) 140
  • On Lord Jim 142
  • Notes 154
  • Marlow's Descent into Hell 162
  • Conrad's Underworld 171
  • Three Notes On "Heart of Darkness" 179
  • Notes 186
  • On "Typhoon" and the Shadow Line 190
  • On Nostromo 191
  • Notes 198
  • Conrad's the Secret Agent 209
  • Notes 227
  • Notes 234
  • Adam, Axel, and "Il Conde" 253
  • Notes 254
  • Notes 275
  • Notes 275
  • The Secret Sharer 289
  • Joseph Conrad: Chance 296
  • Notes 304
  • The Hollow Men: Victory 313
  • The Knight: Man in Eden: the Arrow of Gold 317
  • On the Rescue 323
  • On the Rover and Suspense 330
  • Notes 331
  • Appendix I 337
  • Appendix II 345
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