Four essays on Conrad - an introduction


  • John Derrick



English Language, English


To judge by the essays collected here, Joseph Conrad (1857 - 1924) is alive and well in Brazil. Whether they see him as some sort of reactionary Martin Bohmann, or as a stylist whose weaving of jungle vines and language still stands at the vanguard of Modernism, the four authors we present in this issue are clearly under his spell. Conrad it must be remembered, was not English at all, but a Polish self-exile whose parents were broken in the czars' camps for their revolutionary sympathies. He was also a dapper, formal little fellow who carried a goldheaded cane and liked to radiate the air of a Polish count. What wonder then that this man who claimed to dream in Polish, think in French, and write in English, should present contradictory faces to his interpreters: Ts Conrad a dated victorian whose lush style, antiquated feudal codes and quixotically macho notion of women set him apart from our world, or is he our contemporary by his psychological depth, his open-ended symbolism, and his vision of a third world tormented by colonial powers?