Monday, November 26, 2007

Joseph Conrad- An Outpost of Progress

I eagerly anticipate reading Heart of Darkness as soon as I get a chance, but for now I am content with this. It is fabulously written, wry and subtle- yet overt when appropriate- and manages to convey such a depth and breadth of meaning without resorting to preaching.
Incredibly gentle and subtle humor that is especially impressive considering that English is not his first language, and with a shocking economy of words and careful use of language. Very beautifully written and surprisingly intuitive of human nature and very expressive. He expresses opinions about colonialism and imperialism in a modern setting (Africa) and is very astute, although his characters are harsh stereotypes (in a charming reversal of race that was an unusual perspective for those writing in his time, and sometimes even today.)
Furthermore, for a colonial text it is strikingly open to a reversal of the idea of the "Other" or the Native- it is almost Modernist or Postcolonial in its treatment of "man" as an individual entity separate from race and judged on his own merits, and portrays the nature of humanity so succinctly and effectively in such a short space.
An absolutely fantastic read- I hope to expand into his other works soon, and I now have extremely high expectations of them.

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