Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Joseph Conrad- An Outpost of Progress

I was absolutely enchanted with this story. I can't wait to read Heart of Darkness- Conrad's style is simply phenomenal. He says so much with such humour- it's incredible. Obviously I was quite impressed.
The line that sticks with me is, "a Sierra Leone ******, who maintained that his name was Henry Price [...] He spoke English and French with a warbling accent, wrote a beautiful hand, understood bookkeeping, and cherished in his innermost heart the worship of evil spirits". There has been much complaint about Conrad as a colonial writer (particularly from Achebe, who found his writing to be demeaning and misrepresentative of reality- although that was specifically about Heart of Darkness) but I find that throughout this story, particularly in his representation of Makola from a relatively objective perspective and his portrayal of "civilation" and the white men, a number of excellent images are drawn that present a situation that- if not real- is certainly conceivable.
The deranged imperialist ideology present here amuses me to no end (specifically because it is intentionally humorous and insulting toward the improper presence of colonialism in Africa) and I could quote many different parts of the story that are well worth repeating. Instead I will just suggest that you read it yourself- it is short, and it is more than worth it.

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