Conrad's Heart of Darkness: Rebirth of Tragedy

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Universal-Publishers, 2005 - 180 頁
This is a reader's guide to Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness as art, not as a page-turner but as art. As he has done with other works of Conrad, Anderson traces Conrad's art in a line-by-line analysis of most of this short novel. Anderson traces the unifying theme of the novel to Nietzsche's ideas in The Birth of Tragedy. Nietzsche interpreted ancient Greek tragedy as a reflection of Dionysian and Apollinian life experiencesof the Greek audience. Apollo was a Greek god of the higher orders of civilization and the civilized restraint and control that is necessary for getting along with others. Dionysus, on the other hand, was agod of nature and fertility and is associated with unrestrained, orgiastic worship. This author shows how Conrad used the contrast between the Apollinian and Dionysian to structure the form and content of the novel: how the contrast holds together the important artistic decisions made by Conrad; how Conrad midwived the rebirth of ancient Greek tragedy as the Congo tragedy-the rape of the Congo by Europeans in the late 19th century; and how this could have happened-how the psyches of the Europeans unraveled in the Congo jungle. In Conrad's rendition, the unrestrained competitive and hostile Dionysian life forces at the heart of nature not only power the teeming jungle but also lurk in the inherited instincts of mankind. The European search for ivory in the Congo brought these primitive instincts to the surface, out of their holes like serpents with venom of a mixture of desire and hate. The high ground of the novel is an irony-in the Congo clothes do not make the man. The European exploiters dressed in the very proper tropical whites are savage in behavior while naked man-eaters are restrained in behavior. As with Nietzsche before him, Conrad's approach anticipated central doctrines of Freud and Jung. Conrad's use of Nietzschean elements gives many modern readers a sense of dread or uneasiness, suggesting that the Nietzschean elements jostle important structures in our unconscious.

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第 57 頁 - The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be expected), and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.
第 62 頁 - It was the farthest point of navigation and the culminating point of my experience. It seemed somehow to throw a kind of light on everything about me - and into my thoughts. It was sombre enough too - and pitiful - not extraordinary in any way - not very clear either. No, not very clear. And yet it seemed to throw a kind oflight.
第 113 頁 - The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there— there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly, and the men were — no, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it — this suspicion of their not being inhuman.
第 51 頁 - The Director of Companies was our captain and our host. We four affectionately watched his back as he stood in the bows looking to seaward. On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so nautical. He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified.
第 146 頁 - There was no sign on the face of nature of this amazing tale that was not so much told as suggested to me in desolate exclamations, completed by shrugs, in interrupted phrases, in hints ending in deep sighs.
第 113 頁 - The steamer toiled along slowly on the edge of a black and incomprehensible frenzy. The prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us — who could tell? We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings; we glided past like phantoms, wondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would be before an enthusiaslic outbreak in a madhouse.
第 159 頁 - ... air with muffled shocks and a lingering vibration. A steady droning sound of many men chanting each to himself some weird incantation came out from the black, flat wall of the woods as the humming of bees comes out of a hive, and had a strange narcotic effect upon my half-awake senses. I believe I dozed off leaning over the rail, till an abrupt burst of yells, an overwhelming outbreak of a pent-up and mysterious frenzy, woke me up in a bewildered wonder.

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