Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.pdf (USD-0.00)Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.epub (USD-0.00)Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.doc (USD-0.00)Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.txt (USD-0.00)Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.mobi (USD-0.00)
After reading Lord Jim, a comparison with Heart of Darkness is unavoidable. The two books were published a year apart; Conrad began Lord Jim first, put it down to write and publish HOD, and then finished the expanded Lord Jim. Much of the tone, themes, imagery and even language are similar if not identical.
Heart of Darkness, I think, is the better literary work, and is on a short list of my all time f
The outlook is bleak. Conrad’s last book of the nineteenth century offers the certainty that we can never be good enough, if you are lucky disillusionment will result, if less lucky disaster, and your own death will be a mercy. Ideals, civilisation and values, even love, none have a chance in the face of our universal insufficiencies, however before we start getting too pessimistic the novel itself is an exercise in optimism – at least – Conrad demonstrates, we can talk about these things, even
There is such magnificent vagueness in the expectations that had driven each of us to sea, such a glorious indefiniteness, such a beautiful greed of adventures that are their own and only reward! What we get…In no other life is the illusion more wide of reality – in no other is the beginning all illusion- the disenchantment more swift – the subjection more complete (p101)
In a heap of ways this book reminded me of Heart of Darkness, playing with the same themes, though from a different point of view, using the same Marlow narrator to frame the central narrative. The Kurtz character is the central figure in this story but we are closer to him. Conrad expands the stream of narration style to book length and in this edition Conrad added a later defence arguing that this was a realistic conceit, there have been longer speeches in parliament he says, however he doesn’t seem to have settled the issue definitively by having the book recorded on to wax cylinders and inventing the audio book.
The back cover records praise from Virginia Woolf, and it is not so far, I suppose, from stream of narrative to stream of consciousness.
The chief thing which caught my attention at least to start with is how character driven the book is. Conrad dreams up his Jim, sets him on the page like some clockwork toy and then watches his non-linear progression – what will happen to such and such a person when they are in a position when they realise they are not good enough, what will they do then? If they were to get a second chance how might that come about and how might that chance play out, so long as we assume that every that happens must be congruent with ‘Jim’s’ character? And there we go we have a novel. It is quite remarkable.
For a while I was uncomfortable with the storyline of broken white man floats in on ‘native’ population and saves them, rules over them justly as their Lord, but Conrad wasn’t comfortable with anything so straight forward either – a happy colonialist ending was not congruent with his or ‘Lord Jim’s’ character.
The downside is that Heart of Darkness is better, compressed, distilled, punchier, this book is only going to come out the worse in comparison.
It has been over a week and a half since I last finished a book. This is so extremely unusual. I’m trying not to hold it agains the collection of books I’ve been reading that week in a half, but at times it’s hard. I find myself eyeing Ulysses suspiciously, poke The Reality Dysfunction every once in a while to see if it’s moved, or tuck The Idiot in my purse to try to get through just a little more. (Does anyone else think it’s odd that a 600+ Dostoyevsky book is the only one that will fit in my
And Lord Jim, which I’ve also had underway for most of that time. And is the first of the bunch I actually finished.
Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.
In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook