Edward W. Said
“Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography”

1966, Harvard University Press、カバー痛みあり、207P

9,000 yen

Conrad’s achievement is that he ordered the chaos of his existence into a highly patterned art that accurately reflected and controlled the realities with which it dealt. His experience, as both man and writer, is unique in English literature: no expatriation was as complete or as complex as his, no literary production as profoundly strange and creative. Because he, like so many of his characters, lived life at the extreme, he was more acutely conscious of community even if, most of the time, his was a negative or critical view. He dramatized by the past, the man divorced from and yet still incriminated by the past, the man committed to but paralyzed by society. Driven back on his individuality, he accepted its burdens and its uncompromisingly pessimistic vision of reality. His unceasingly efforts to clarify what was obscure, terrible, and frighteningly compelling within himself were complemented, in 1914, by a comparable effort on the European stage: the Western powers had finally turned their attention to what Conrad would have called the lurking enemy within. This public incarnation of his private struggles left him with the opportunity to memorialize his, and England’s, energies; this he did in The Shadow Line, a tale that celebrated, intimately and significantly, a belated reconciliation and calm. After that, until his death in 1924, Conrad returned in his fiction to episodes out of his past, now to complete stories he had once begun, now to idealize, almost always to elegize. The self-tormented characters undergoing radical experiences whose chronicler he had been were replaced either by strong old men like Peyrol in The Rover, or troubled young people like Rita and George in The Arrow of Gold; young or old. Conrad allows them final redemption, like a benign administrator, a Kurtz turned saint, who transmutes suffering into stillness and peace. His own life after The Shadow Line brought him more fame but little real rest or security: it is a characteristic Conradian irony that he could not finally transmute all his own suffering into an earned peace.