Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad. (1899)
I. A Novel in the Heart of Modernism
This is a novel right on the cusp of the transition between the Victorian novel and the modern novel. Technically a nineteenth century work, Conrad’s novel is nevertheless more often associated with the literary movements of the twentieth-century.
In book after book, Conrad sets a lone individual into confrontation with the complexities of the modern world, whether the world be that of European imperialism or political anarchism or the secret world of spies or the world of political revolution. His heroes and heroines have to find their bearings as society crumbles around them and Conrad usually depicts them at a moement of choice, when they have to act on their lonely knowledge without any guarentee that they have chosen rightly.
And really, that’s what it means to be modern: to act without the assurance that you have chosen rightly.
II. The Problem with Finding a Solution
The frame narrative
The representatives on the boat (LM 1955)
III. The tales of seamen
Spectral illumination vs. kernel of the nut (LM 1956)