The Art of Joseph Conrad: A Critical Symposium

By R. W. Stallman | Go to book overview

THOMAS MOSER


On The Rescue

*

CLEARLY THEN, the later Conrad has a new attitude toward the world, though hardly an affirmative one; he now considers evil to be external to his heroes and heroines and sees man's greatest good as complete repose, usually achieved through love. Such an extreme shift in attitude almost necessarily results in a drastic reorientation of Conrad's artistry. Perhaps the best way to see the effect of the later Conrad's attitude upon his early moral hierarchy of characters and upon his complex handling of structure and language is to compare The Rescue of 1920 with those portions of its first version, "The Rescuer," which were written in the nineties.1

"The Rescuer" displays all of the important, early types of character that he defines in the first chapter, except one; it contains no perceptive hero like Marlow. We have already noted that the Tom Lingard of "The Rescuer" seems to be a first attempt at Lord Jim, the simple vulnerable hero. Linares prefigures Decoud, the complex vulnerable hero. Carter belongs among the ranks of simple, faithful seamen like Singleton and MacWhirr. While Mr. Travers and Jörgenson do not precisely fit any of our categories, they resemble certain characters of the early period. Mr. Travers has much in common with Alvan Hervey of "The Return," and Jörgenson belongs in the gallery of caricatures who serve as doubles for Lord Jim.

The most significant alteration of "The Rescuer" is the simplification and emasculation of Lingard. Through certain crucial cuts from the original manuscript, the later Conrad obscures the most important and interesting facts of Lingard's psychology: the subtle difference between himself and other seamen, his egoistic longings for power, his lack of self-knowledge, his moral isolation. As a result, he has none of the vitality and intensity of Conrad's great self-destructive heroes.

In revising the manuscript, Conrad cut out two passages that tend to cast doubt upon Lingard's qualifications for membership in the fraternity of loyal seamen. As originally described, Lingard does not quite look like a seaman, and his motivation is not a perfect love of the work itself. "The Rescuer" portrays him as a man who holds "himself very straight in a most unseamanlike manner." He has "also--for a seaman--the disadvantage of being tall above the average of men of that calling." Moreover,

____________________
*
From Thomas Moser Joseph Conrad: Achievement and Decline ( Harvard University Press, 1957), pp. 145-156. A more complete treatment is given in Moser "'The Rescuer' Manuscript: A Key to Conrad's Development--and Decline," Harvard Library Bulletin, X (Autumn 1956), 325-355. Another study, appearing after Moser's book was published, is "'The Rescuer' Manuscript," by Barbara Gaździkówna, in The Living Conrad, edited by Wit Tarnawski. Conrad Zywy was published in London by B. Swiderski, 1957. [Editor's note]

-323-

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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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