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The larger pattern : formal and thematic links between selected novels and shorter fictions by Joseph… Fraser, Caroline Gail 1986

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a.i THE LARGER PATTERN: FORMAL AND THEMATIC LINKS BETWEEN SELECTED NOVELS AND SHORTER FICTIONS BY JOSEPH CONRAD By CAROLINE GAIL FRASER B.A. (Hons), The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1961 M.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1975 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of English, University of B r i t i s h Columbia We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA January 198 6 ® Caroline G a i l Fraser, 1986 y9 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not ,be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 DE-6(3/81) ABSTRACT The formal and thematic links between Conrad's short f i c t i o n and his novels provide a useful context i n which one can study in d i v i d u a l works. Thus, one of Conrad's e a r l i e s t short s t o r i e s , "An Outpost of Progress," anticipates some of the i r o n i c techniques that control the reader's responses i n The Secret Agent and the la t e r f i c t i o n i n general. S i m i l a r l y , i n "The Lagoon" and "Karain" Conrad experiments with the " t e l l e r and l i s t e n e r " device, which he then develops and refines i n more complex works such as "Heart of Darkness" and Lord Jim. In contrast to the i r o n i c mode, t h i s type of narration r e f l e c t s man's attempts to integrate personal experiences with the s o c i a l order and to affir m c e r t a i n moral values or "saving i l l u s i o n s . " The coexistence of these two modes i n Conrad's e a r l i e s t short f i c t i o n s points to his search for appropriate techniques to express a c o n f l i c t that was deeply rooted i n his outlook. A close study of "Youth" brings into r e l i e f Conrad's use of a dramatized narrator to mediate between contrasting views of the world and to d i r e c t our inter p r e t a t i o n of moral issues. Because Conrad developed these and other aspects of the short f i c t i o n i n Lord Jim and "Heart of Darkness," the analysis of "Youth" attempts to shed l i g h t on the longer works as well. S i m i l a r l y , i n "Amy Foster" Conrad presents another v a r i a t i o n on the t o l d - t a l e device i n a way that reveals larger, formal i i i patterns i n his writing as a whole. While the most s i g n i f i c a n t links between these f i v e short f i c t i o n s and Conrad's novels are formal rather than thematic, i n the case of "Heart of Darkness" and "The Secret Sharer" there are important thematic t i e s with Lord Jim and Under  Western Eyes. By adapting c e r t a i n basic situations and motifs from one work to the other Conrad explores d i f f e r e n t aspects of a central idea or theme. Thus, i n "Heart of Darkness" and Lord Jim he treats Kurtz and Jim as complementary p o r t r a i t s of i d e a l i s t i c egoists, while i n "The Secret Sharer" and Under  Western Eyes he depicts contrasting responses to a plea for understanding and assistance. The d i a l e c t i c a l approach r e f l e c t s the complex structure of his creative imagination. Therefore, a study of the connecting li n k s y i e l d s a more com-prehensive understanding of Conrad's meaning than analyzing the works separately. CONTENTS i v Page Abstract i i Acknowledgements v INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter I. "AN OUTPOST OF PROGRESS" AND THE SECRET*AGENT 14 II . "THE LAGOON," "KARAIN," AND LORD JIM 5 8 II I . "YOUTH," "HEART OF DARKNESS," AND LORD JIM 106 IV. "HEART OF DARKNESS" AND LORD JIM 189 V. "AMY FOSTER" 2 61 VI. "THE SECRET SHARER" AND UNDER WESTERN EYES 326 CONCLUSION 3 77 BIBLIOGRAPHY 392 V ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS For t h e i r prompt and f r i e n d l y assistance with my research, I would l i k e to thank Dr. Lola S z l a d i t s , of the Berg C o l l e c t i o n (New York Public L i b r a r y ) , Alan Cupo, of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale University), and Bruce M. Brown, A r c h i v i s t at Colgate University Library. I would also l i k e to thank Lee Whitehead for l e t t i n g me read his stimulating Ph.D. thesis on Conrad, and Jack Stewart for discussing my topic with me on' several occasions. From my supervisor, Andrew Busza, I have gained many valuable insights concerning Conrad's back-ground and creative imagination. I am very grateful for his generosity i n t h i s respect, and also for his careful and patient supervision at each stage of my work. F i n a l l y , my husband, Bruce Fraser, our three children, and my mother have given me t h e i r u n f a i l i n g moral support since the beginning of th i s project. 1 Introduction In contrast to other major novelists l i k e Henry James and V i r g i n i a Woolf, Conrad provided us with very few c r i t i c a l statements concerning his own writing. Moreover, with the exception of his Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus the explanations he did o f f e r are fragmentary and often misleading. Not u n t i l 1919 and 1920, several years a f t e r his best f i c t i o n had been completed, did he write the Author's Notes for the separate volumes of Doubleday's co l l e c t e d e d i t i o n . Although these prefaces occasionally contain hints about Conrad's intentions at the time he wrote the f i c t i o n , they also display his tendency to mythologize about his l i f e and a r t . For example, i n the Author's Note to Tales of Unrest he says that he wrote "The Lagoon" immediately a f t e r An Outcast of  the Islands. The two works were "seen with the same v i s i o n , i rendered i n the same method"—even written with the same pen. In actual f a c t , Conrad completed An Outcast of the Islands on Sept. 17, 1895; he began The Sisters toward the end of the year and abandoned i t i n A p r i l , 1896, and wrote "The Idiots" and "An Outpost of Progress" i n May and July, respectively, before completing "The Lagoon" i n August. By claiming to have written "The Lagoon" before "The Idiots" and "An Outpost of Progress" and f a i l i n g to mention the abandoned novel, Conrad could give the f i r s t years of his writing career an imagined order and d i r e c t i o n : they became "my f i r s t phase, the Malayan phase with 2 i t s special subject and i t s verbal suggestions." The Notes contain other similar instances of Conrad's mythologizing, such as the story he put forth i n the preface to An Outcast of the Is lands i n d i c a t i n g that Edward Garnett had been responsible for his writing a second novel. This story suggests a correspond-ence between Conrad's s a i l i n g and writing careers, f o r , as he demonstrates i n A Personal Record, each i s perceived to have i t s o r i g i n i n a mysterious impulse or set of circumstances. In a l e t t e r of 1923 Conrad claimed that the Author's Notes were not intended to explain the factual o r i g i n s or the formal aspects of his works. He t o l d Richard Curie, who had "summar-ized" the prefaces for a comprehensive a r t i c l e on Conrad's writing, that the Notes should be treated as "an intensely personal expression": " . . . the summarizing of Prefaces . . . has got t h i s disadvantage that i t doesn't give t h e i r atmosphere, and indeed i t cannot give t h e i r atmosphere, simply because those pages are an intensely personal expression, much more so than a l l the rest of my writing, with the exception of 3 the Personal Record perhaps." In f a c t , the chief myth that Conrad puts fort h i n the Notes i s that he did not consciously plan his a r t i s t i c e f f e c t s . Consequently, he plays down the formal aspects of his writing, o f f e r i n g the reader entertain-ing analogies rather than explanations of his methods. In the preface to the Youth volume, for example, he comments with good-humoured irony on contemporary c r i t i c a l attempts to describe Marlow's function: 3 The origins of that gentleman . . . have been the subject of some l i t e r a r y speculation of, I am glad to say, a f r i e n d l y nature. One would think that I am the proper person to throw a l i g h t on the matter; but i n truth I f i n d that i t i s n ' t so easy. It i s pleasant to remember that nobody had charged him with fraudulent purposes or looked down on him as a charlatan; but apart from that he was supposed to be a l l sorts of things: a clever screen, a mere device, a "personator," a f a m i l i a r s p i r i t , a whispering "daemon." I myself have been suspected of a meditated plan for his capture. That i s not so. I made no plans. The man Marlow and I came together i n the casual manner of those health-resort acquaintances which sometimes ripen into friendships. This one has ripened On the whole, Conrad's commentary on his work i n the other Notes i s similar i n tone and substance to t h i s passage. In contrast to the prefaces of Henry James, the Author's Notes do not shed much l i g h t on the i n d i v i d u a l novels and s t o r i e s . Conrad's l e t t e r s to friends and publishers about his writing are more revealing, since they provide us with a record of his work i n progress. Despite the fragmentary nature of these comments, they impress the reader as r e l i a b l e indications of his immediate problems and goals. However, there was a great deal that Conrad was either unable or unwilling to say about his work i n a l e t t e r . For example, i n his correspondence with William Blackwood at a time when he was "devoting himself exclusively" to Lord Jim he tends to obscure his o v e r a l l intentions rather than illuminate them. In the following passage, he refers to his "guiding idea": I am glad you l i k e Jim so f a r . Your good opinion gives one confidence. From the nature of things treated the story can not be as dramatic (in a c e r t a i n sense) as the H of D. It i s c e r t a i n l y more l i k e Youth. It i s however 4 longer and more varied. The structure of i t i s a l i t t l e l o o s e — t h i s however need not detract from i t s i n t e r e s t — from the "general reader" point of view. The question of art i s so endless, so involved and so obscure that one i s tempted to turn one's face resolutely away from i t . I've c e r t a i n l y an i d e a — a p a r t from the idea and the subject of the story—which guides me i n my writing, but I would be hard put to i t i f requested to give i t out i n the shape of a fixed formula. After a l l i n t h i s as i n every other human endeavour one i s answerable only to one's conscience. Here, Conrad's desire to assure Blackwood (and himself) of a popular success with his new "story" i s evident, as well as his i n a b i l i t y or reluctance to discuss i n d e t a i l a creative process that was p a r t l y i n s t i n c t u a l . Thus, he i n s i s t s upon a central "idea . . . which guides me i n my writing," but refuses to define i t . If we wish to understand Conrad's methods, and his intentions i n general, we must turn to the works them-selves . This study attempts to discover Conrad's aims by exploring the formal and thematic links between his short f i c t i o n and cer t a i n major novels. In t h i s way, we can gain a better under-standing of his work as a whole without proposing systems or theories which might tend to obscure his intentions even further. From his Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus, we know that Conrad was an avowed enemy of such theories: The changing wisdom of successive generations discards ideas, questions f a c t s , demolishes theories. But the a r t i s t appeals to that part of our being which i s not de-pendent on wisdom; to that i n us which i s a g i f t and not . an a c q u i s i t i o n — a n d , therefore, more permanently enduring.' And a l i t t l e l a t e r , he writes: 5 It i s evident that he who, r i g h t l y or wrongly, holds by the convictions expressed above cannot be f a i t h f u l to any one of the temporary formulas of his c r a f t . The enduring part of them—the truth which each only imperfectly v e i l s — s h o u l d abide with him as the most precious of his possessions, but they a l l : Realism, Romanticism, Natural-ism, even the u n o f f i c i a l sentimentalism (which l i k e the poor, i s exceedingly d i f f i c u l t to get r i d of,) a l l these gods must, afte r a short period of fellowship, abandon him—even on the very threshold of the temple—to the stammerings of his conscience and to the outspoken con-sciousness of the d i f f i c u l t i e s of his work.^ Incidentally, i n his c r i t i c a l essays about other authors Conrad was always concerned with the writer's conception of his a r t , Q his craftsmanship, and his "attitude towards our world" 7 rather than his place within a h i s t o r i c a l or aesthetic scheme. In my study I have not t r i e d to prove that the shorter f i c t i o n gave r i s e to the novels, nor have I taken the con-ventional position when writing about the former that "the 10 highest l e v e l of Conrad's art exists i n the short f i c t i o n . " One of my guiding p r i n c i p l e s has been a remark that Conrad made to Marguerite Poradowska i n 1893 suggesting that the form and sty l e of the writer are more c l e a r l y displayed i n his short f i c t i o n than i n his longer works: "C'est dans des courts r e c i t s * 11 (short story) que 1'on v o i t l a main du maitre." In t h i s statement Conrad resembles most other masters of the form from Edgar A l l a n Poe, who claimed that the writer could achieve " t o t a l i t y of e f f e c t " through technique i n short f i c t i o n , to Henry James, whose Notebooks document the a r t i s t ' s attempts to make his st y l e express an idea within the "brief compass" of 6 the short story. In Conrad's shorter f i c t i o n formal elements l i k e symbols, images, the arrangement of d e t a i l s and events, and point of view are foregrounded so that we can see how the writer's s t y l e r e f l e c t s his view of the world. Another factor which has influenced my study of Conrad's short f i c t i o n i s the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of c e r t a i n stories and novels written within the same period of time. This r e l a t i o n -ship i s not manifested i n the obvious way that some of Faulkner's short stories are linked to his novels; that i s , by the recurrence of s p e c i f i c characters, settings, and even 1 ? events. Instead, some of Conrad's stories and novels are linked by common themes and moral preoccupations, which are emphasized by common motifs. Unlike the usual r e p e t i t i o n and development of c e r t a i n themes that we f i n d throughout the works of any major writer, these thematic connections comprise a d i a l e c t i c a l method of exploring a central idea. Therefore, the approach taken i n t h i s study y i e l d s a more comprehensive under-standing of Conrad's meaning than we would gain from an analysis of the works separately. Moreover, because Conrad explores one aspect of his idea i n a more concentrated form i n the short f i c t i o n than i n the corresponding novel, a close study of the former helps us to see the larger pattern of his intentions. In general, Conrad's c r i t i c s have not examined the links between i n d i v i d u a l short stories and novels i n d e t a i l . Some of the differences between Marlow as a narrator i n "Youth," "Heart 7 of Darkness," and Lord Jim have been analyzed, but there has been no comprehensive study of the influence on the longer f i c t i o n s of Conrad's experiments with form and technique i n "Youth." In f a c t , most c r i t i c s treat the connections between the works as c u r s o r i l y as Ian Watt when he writes that "there are too few examples i n l i t e r a t u r e of a simple thing b e a u t i f u l -ly done to make us value i t only for the way i t leads into the 1 3 lat e r Marlow s t o r i e s . Yet lead i t does." In other cases, c r i t i c s have pointed out s p e c i f i c corres-pondences between characters, motifs, themes, or settings, but have not considered the t o t a l r e l a t i o n s h i p of one work to another. For example, Ted Boyle remarks that the white man's la s t glimpse of Arsat standing i n the sunlight against "the darkness of a world of i l l u s i o n s " i n "The Lagoon" anticipates Marlow's l a s t view of Jim i n Patusan, but his discussion i s limited to the symbolic implications of the "darkness." ^ Other c r i t i c s have commented on the fac t that Kurtz and Jim are both imaginative egoists, and so on. Neither of the two book-length studies of Conrad's short f i c t i o n analyzes the stories i n r e l a t i o n s h i p to the novels i n order to explore the writer's themes and techniques i n his work as a whole. Edward Said's Joseph Conrad and the F i c t i o n of Autobiography (1966) relates the short f i c t i o n to Conrad's l e t t e r s , and Lawrence Graver's Conrad's Short F i c t i o n (1969) evaluates the ind i v i d u a l works on the basis of how well they present the c o n f l i c t between egoism and altruism. To some degree, both studies attempt to systematize Conrad's shorter f i c t i o n . 8 Wherever possible, I have used Conrad's revisions to his work i n order to illuminate his methods and intentions. In his essay on Maupassant Conrad himself comments on the value of such an approach. Writing about the publication of the French author's posthumous short s t o r i e s , he says: "On looking at the f i r s t feeble drafts from which so many perfect stories have been fashioned, one discovers that what has been matured, improved, brought to perfection by unwearied endeavour i s not the d i c t i o n of the t a l e , but the v i s i o n of i t s true shape and 1 5 d e t a i l . " Conrad's revisions at both the manuscript and type-s c r i p t stages show us how he developed "the true shape" of his work i n the process of composition. They also reveal his painstaking attention to d e t a i l , i l l u s t r a t i n g i n a concrete form his advice to S i r Hugh C l i f f o r d i n a l e t t e r of 1899: True, a man who knows so much (without taking into account the manner i n which his knowledge was acquired) may well spare himself the trouble of meditating over the words, only that words, groups of words, words standing alone, are symbols of l i f e , have the power i n t h e i r sound or t h e i r aspect to present the very thing you wish to hold up before the mental v i s i o n of your readers. The things "as they are" e x i s t i n words; therefore words should be handled with care l e s t the picture, the image of truth abiding i n f a c t s , should become d i s t o r t e d — o r blurred. These are the considerations for a mere craftsman—you may say; and you may also conceivably say that I have nothing else to trouble my head about. However, the whole of the truth l i e s i n the presentation. . . . Conrad's reference to "the image of truth abiding i n f a c t s " which must be "held up before the mental v i s i o n " of one's readers echoes one of the most f a m i l i a r passages i n the Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus. There, Conrad said 9 that the ultimate aim of l i t e r a r y craftsmanship i s s o l i d a r i t y with the reader: The task approached i n tenderness and f a i t h i s to hold up unquestioningly, without choice and without fear, the rescued fragment before a l l eyes i n the l i g h t of a sincere mood. It i s to show i t s v i b r a t i o n , i t s colour, i t s form; and through i t s movement, i t s form, and i t s colour, reveal the substance of i t s t r u t h — d i s c l o s e i t s i n s p i r i n g secret: the stress and passion within the core of each convincing moment. In a single-minded attempt of that kind, i f one be deserving and fortunate, one may perchance a t t a i n to such clearness of s i n c e r i t y that at l a s t the presented v i s i o n of regret or p i t y , of terro r or mirth, s h a l l awaken i n the hearts of the beholders that f e e l i n g of unavoidable s o l i d a r i t y ; of the s o l i d a r i t y i n mysterious o r i g i n , i n t o i l , i n joy, i n hope, i n uncertain fate, which binds men to each other and a l l mankind to the v i s i b l e world. In both of these statements (but more e x p l i c i t l y and movingly i n the second) Conrad defines craftsmanship as an e t h i c a l imperative; that i s , the writer's task i s to rescue "the image of truth" from the flux of r e a l i t y , thereby communicating to the reader a sense of human continuity and fellowship. The emphasis on endeavour points to the larger, moral context of Conrad's ongoing struggles with his material. In his corres-pondence with J . B. Pinker there are several instances of his asking for a typescript to be returned for additional changes after he had already revised i t . The study of manuscript and typescript revisions can be p a r t i c u l a r l y valuable i n the case of a par t l y " i n s t i n c t u a l " writer l i k e Conrad. Most of his works underwent major changes i n form and structure during the process of composition. Of the short f i c t i o n studied i n t h i s paper, only "The Lagoon" was conceived with a clear idea as to i t s length, because The 10 C o r n h i l l had asked for a story of from 6,000 to 8,000 words. Therefore, Conrad's revisions of his work help us to see his intentions as they evolve, requiring the addition or cancell a t i o n of material. In "Youth," for example, Conrad added an entire episode at the typescript stage, and i n "Amy "Foster" he s i m p l i f i e d the narrative frame, omitting several passages concerning Dr. Kennedy i n the manuscript. The revisions also show us how he sharpened the focus of descriptions, images, and so on to emphasize his ideas and moral concerns. Because the concentrated form of Conrad's short f i c t i o n brings the formal elements of his work into r e l i e f , we can learn a great deal about his methods from studying the revisions to i n d i v i d u a l s t o r i e s . In the following chapters I s h a l l analyze Conrad's revisions of three of his short f i c t i o n s from the manuscript stage to the s e r i a l and book versions. Among the formal aspects of his writing that are emphasized by the changes Conrad made are: the development of i r o n i c techniques i n "An Outpost of Progress," the discovery of various impressionist and symbolist devices i n "Youth," and the coexistence of irony and ambiguity i n "Amy Foster." Since Conrad's techniques r e f l e c t his attitude and intentions, a clearer perception of his working methods may help to c l a r i f y the nature of his o r i g i n a l i t y . "There i s nothing i n me but a turn of mind which whether valuable or worthless can not be 18 imitated," he once wrote to J. B. Pinker. In the following chapters we s h a l l examine seven of 11 Conrad's shorter works i n r e l a t i o n to three of his major novels. Other novels and short stories w i l l be discussed b r i e f l y i n the course of the study. To provide a sense of Conrad's development as a writer, the chapters are arranged i n chronological order, beginning with his e a r l i e s t , experimental s t o r i e s . Thus, i n chapter one I analyze "An Outpost of Progress" i n rel a t i o n s h i p to The Secret Agent, and i n chapter two I relate "The Lagoon" and "Karain" to Lord Jim. Chapter three i s devoted to "Youth" and focusses on the ways i n which the formal aspects of the shorter f i c t i o n anticipate Conrad's technique i n "Heart of Darkness" and Lord Jim. In chapter four we s h a l l examine Conrad's d i a l e c t i c a l approach to his material by exploring the thematic links between "Heart of Darkness" and Lord Jim. The discussion of "Amy Foster" i n chapter f i v e considers larger, formal patterns i n Conrad's writing as a whole, and i n chapter six the links between "The Secret Sharer" and Under Western Eyes provide us with another i l l u s t r a t i o n of his d i a l e c t i c a l method. In a d i f f e r e n t context Conrad has said 19 that a work of f i c t i o n always reveals the writer. The close study of these s t o r i e s and t h e i r related novels i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s statement by bringing Conrad's ideas, attitudes, and methods into sharper focus. 12 NOTES 1 Tales of Unrest (1898; London: J . M. Dent, 1947), p. v. ^Tales of Unrest, p. v. 3 See Conrad's l e t t e r dated July 14, 1923. Richard Curie, ed., Conrad to a Friend: 150 Selected Letters from Joseph  Conrad to Richard Curie (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1928), pp. 147-50. 4 Youth, Heart of Darkness and The End of the Tether:  Three Stories (1902; London: J. M. Dent, 1946), pp. v - v i . S i m i l a r l y , Conrad evaded an interviewer's attempt to pin him down by pretending that his method of writing was e n t i r e l y i n s t i n c t u a l and without thought for a r t i s t i c e f f e c t : "I got into Lord Jim and I just had to get out. I had to invent Marlow to carry on the story. It seemed the best way . . . I have too much to think of when I am writing to invent new forms." See Dale B. J . Randall, "Conrad Interviews #2," Conradiana, 2 (1969-70), pp. 83-91. 5 See Conrad's l e t t e r dated August 22, 1899 i n William Blackburn, ed., Joseph Conrad: Letters to William Blackwood and  David S. Meldrum (Durham, N. C : Duke University Press, 1958), pp. 63-64. ^Hence the somewhat misleading reference to Lord Jim's being "more l i k e Youth," for the e a r l i e r story's success had cemented Conrad's good re l a t i o n s with his publisher. 7 The Nigger of the Narcissus (1897; London: J . M. Dent, 1947), p. v i i i . 8 The Nigger of the Narcissus, pp. x - x i . yConrad uses t h i s expression i n reference to Maupassant i n his essay "Guy de Maupassant," Notes on L i f e and Letters (1921; London: J. M. Dent, 1949), p. 25. Conrad's e t h i c a l view of art and i t s re l a t i o n s h i p to the v i s i b l e world rather than to "the authority of a school" i s f u l l y expressed i n his essay "Books" (Notes on L i f e and Letters, pp. 3-10). For example, he says: " I t i s i n the impartial practice of l i f e , i f anywhere, that the promise of perfection for . . . art can be found, rather than i n the absurd formulas t r y i n g to prescribe t h i s or that p a r t i c u l a r method of technique or conception." Lawrence Graver begins his study of Conrad's short 13 f i c t i o n with t h i s statement and, e s s e n t i a l l y , he agrees with i t . See Conrad's Short F i c t i o n (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969), p. v i i . 11-Lettres de Joseph Conrad a Marguerite Poradowska (Geneve: University de Lausanne, 1966), p. 109. The paren-thesis, i n English, i s Conrad's. In chapter f i v e of t h i s study, I s h a l l refer to t h i s statement again i n more d e t a i l . 12 For example, consider the narrative continuity between "Barn Burning" and The Hamlet. l^conrad i n the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1979), p. 134. •^Symbol and Meaning i n the F i c t i o n of Joseph Conrad (London: Mouton, 1965), pp. 60-63. 15»Guy de Maupassant," Notes on L i f e and Letters, p. 28. 1 6 S e e Conrad's l e t t e r dated October 9, 1899. G. Jean-Aubry, Joseph Conrad: L i f e and Letters (London: William Heinemann, 1927), I, 279-81. l^The Nigger of the Narcissus, p. x. x oUnpublished l e t t e r to J. B. Pinker dated July 30, 1907. Berg C o l l e c t i o n , New York Public Library. -"-9" . . . and I know that a novelist l i v e s i n his work." "A Familiar Preface," A Personal Record: Some Reminiscences (1912; London: J . M. Dent, 1946), p. x i i i . 14 Chapter I "AN OUTPOST OF PROGRESS" AND THE SECRET AGENT Although Conrad c r i t i c s usually r e l a t e "An Outpost of Progress" with "Heart of Darkness," there are also s i g n i f i c a n t links between t h i s early story and The Secret Agent. In both narratives Conrad explores p o l i t i c a l and moral issues by con-structing a network of i r o n i c p a r a l l e l s , juxtapositions, and a l l u s i o n s . Moreover, i n each work the reader i s controlled by an omniscient narrator whose sardonic perspective of events and characters probes beneath the surface of appearances and empha-sizes the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of r e a l i z i n g ideal human values. In Conrad's revisions to the manuscript and s e r i a l versions of the shorter f i c t i o n he i n t e n s i f i e s i t s i r o n i c impact, foregrounding the grotesque elements and adding concrete descriptive details.' As a r e s u l t , "An Outpost of Progress" demonstrates with remark-able c l a r i t y some of the techniques Conrad used l a t e r to create his v i s i o n of s o c i a l and moral disorder i n The Secret Agent. "An Outpost of Progress" was not Conrad's f i r s t attempt to write a short narrative i n the manner of Maupassant or Flaubert. Two months e a r l i e r , he had completed "The Idiots," a melodramatic story about a Breton peasant who k i l l s her husband and then throws herself over a c l i f f because she thinks his ghost i s haunting her. Although t h i s story i s written i n the i r o n i c mode l i k e "An Outpost of Progress," i t lacks the 15 l a t t e r ' s concentrated economy. In the following discussion a b r i e f comparison of the two works w i l l indicate why Conrad achieved a greater degree of a r t i s t i c control i n "An Outpost of Progress." In the process, I s h a l l also point out an important thematic correspondence between the short story and the novel, The Secret Agent. In "The Idiots" Conrad's chief protagonists are the help-less victims of circumstances and s o c i a l conditions. As peasants who must l i v e i n harmony with "the earth beloved and f r u i t f u l , " - 1 Susan and Jean-Pierre Bacadou are doomed to suffer because a "high and impassive heaven" has decreed that Susan bear only i d i o t c hildren. Five years l a t e r i n "Amy Foster" Conrad introduced a sympathetic narrator to t e l l the story of Yanko Goorall, an archetypal scapegoat l i k e Susan, and the r e s u l t was a moving narrative with universal appeal. "The Idiots" i s not a success because i t lacks a narrator who can describe Susan's despair from a sympathetic point of view within the peasant community. At the same time, Conrad cannot adopt a Maupassant-like detachment from his subject. Whereas Maupassant records the events of his "Aux champs" and "Histoire d'une f i l l e de ferme" with r e a l i s t i c o b j e c t i v i t y , ^ Conrad experiments with Gothic effects such as a moonlit graveyard, "unearthly" shrieks, a darkly s i n i s t e r church tower, and a ghost. He also t r i e s to enhance the pathos of his characters' p l i g h t by using emotive terms to describe the setting; for example, the bare trees on the h i l l s i d e sway "sadly" i n the 16 wind, "as i f contorted with pain" (70). As a r e s u l t , his writing tends to be melodramatic rather than concrete and suggestive. In "An Outpost of Progress" Conrad has no such problems with narrative perspective. Kayerts and C a r l i e r , the incompetent protagonists, can be viewed with detachment because they represent a society determined to s a c r i f i c e e t h i c a l values for material p r o f i t . Thus, Conrad extends his c r i t i c i s m of i n d i v i d u a l Europeans such as Almayer, Willems, and even Lingard (who seek wealth and influence i n the c o l o n i a l world) to include the m a t e r i a l i s t i c aspects of European society as a whole. Kayerts i s a state bureaucrat and C a r l i e r , a s o l d i e r : together, they stand for the very foundations of an "enlightened" s o c i a l order. Moreover, the Director's references to the home o f f i c e and the emphasis on the Company as a symbol of c i v i l i z e d greed expose the economic system behind the i n d i v i d u a l c o l o n i a l i s t : "The men being Company's men the ivory i s Company's ivory" i s C a r l i e r 1 s r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the slave trade (106). In The Secret Agent Conrad explores the soulless materialism at the heart of c i v i l i z e d society "at home" i n London.^ As Mr. Verloc walks past Hyde Park on his way to meet with Vladimir, he surveys . . . the evidences of the town's opulence and luxury with an approving eye. A l l these people had to be protected. Protection i s the f i r s t necessity of opulence and luxury. They had to be protected; and t h e i r horses, carriages, houses, servants had to be protected i n the heart of the c i t y and the heart of the country; the whole s o c i a l order favourable to t h e i r hygienic idleness had to be protected against the shallow enviousness of unhygienic labour. 17 The changes Conrad made to the story's t i t l e i n the manu-s c r i p t of "An Outpost of Progress" trace the evolution of t h i s s a t i r i c a l focus. Thus, on page one the t i t l e reads "A Victim of Progress," r e f e r r i n g to Kayerts, the sta t i o n chief. Conrad apparently decided to include C a r l i e r when he was writing page f i v e , because the t i t l e "Two V. of P." i s noted i n the top left-hand corner. The more in c l u s i v e f i n a l version, "An Outpost of Progress," appears on the t i t l e page, which (according to Robert Hobson)^ postdates the manuscript revisions and was probably added when Conrad prepared the typescript. The implications of thi s phrase and the deceptively innocent opening sentence ("There were two white men i n charge of the trading station") may have led the contemporary reader to expect a story j u s t i f y i n g English i m p e r i a l i s t morality. After a l l , Kipling's "Slaves of the Lamp" had been featured i n the preceding issue of Cosmopolis, Q where "An Outpost of Progress" f i r s t appeared i n p r i n t . However, the description of Kayerts and C a r l i e r that follows the opening sentence establishes the narrator's i r o n i c intention quickly and d e c i s i v e l y . In A Rhetoric of Irony Wayne Booth describes "stable irony" as a process i n which the reader i s f i r s t asked to r e j e c t the l i t e r a l meaning and then, following clues i n the text, to reconstruct the statement i n harmony with the implied author's i n t e n t i o n . ^ i n "An Outpost of Progress" and The Secret Agent, t h i s reconstruction takes place within the f i r s t few sentences and guarantees the 18 reader's confident discrimination of shades of meaning through-out the work. In summary, the s t y l e of "An Outpost of Progress" can be distinguished from that of "The Idiots" by i t s s a t i r i c thrust. In contrast to the heavy s i t u a t i o n a l irony i n the e a r l i e r story, Conrad's rhetoric i n "An Outpost of Progress" f a l l s into 1 n D. C. Muecke's category of "verbal i r o n y . " ^ The author's i r o n i c intention i s sustained for the most part by an omnisci-ent narrator more sardonic than any of the narrators i n the works of Maupassant or Flaubert, who guides our interpretation of events by pointing out comic juxtapositions, p a r a l l e l s , and discrepancies. The r h e t o r i c a l significance of t h i s technique should not be underrated, as i t i s by some c r i t i c s who f i n d the short story too much l i k e Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King." Lawrence Graver, for example, maintains that . . . the s i m i l a r i t i e s between "The Man Who Would Be King" and "An Outpost of Progress" are too close to be wholly accidental. Aside from the occasional tonal likeness, both s t o r i e s describe the breakdown of two European egoists who had hoped to get r i c h quickly i n a primitive society, and both end with scenes of slaughter and c r u c i f i x i o n . At the close of Kipling's t a l e , Peachey Carnehan p u l l s the dried, withered head of his f r i e n d Dravot from a paper bag, an act s i m i l a r i n grotesque impact to Kayerts' suicide on the cross. Conrad's use of h i g h - s p i r i t e d gallows humor to treat squalid materials seems l i k e an attempt to c a p i t a l i z e on a f i c t i o n a l fashion which K i p l i n g had established by himself. -"-l In order to see Conrad's relationship to K i p l i n g i n i t s true l i g h t , however, we must consider the moral impact of t h e i r stories on the reader. The chief protagonist of "The Man Who Would Be King" i s Dan Dravot, a white man who achieves kingship over remote Himalayan tribesmen by pretending to be a god. When he i n s i s t s on marrying a native g i r l , he loses his " d i v i n i t y , " and his subjects respond by casting him into a g u l l y . With the comic bravado that has characterized his conduct up to t h i s point, Dravot asks Peachey Carnehan (his cohort) for forgiveness, and challenges his captors to cut the ropes. Peachey returns to c i v i l i z a t i o n (a Bombay press-room) to provide an eye-witness account for the "respectable" j o u r n a l i s t who i s the author's surrogate. Although Kip l i n g pokes fun at the hero's grandiose schemes and ambitions, Peachey's narration i s sympathetic to Dravot and elegiac i n tone. Moreover, the j o u r n a l i s t - l i s t e n e r does not contradict Peachey's depiction of Dravot as a resourceful rogue who i s redeemed by the manner of his death. In other words, Kipling's narrative technique (the limited perspective) allows him to endorse the contemporary paternal-i s t i c attitude towards the Indians, for Peachey's testimony indicates that although Dravot becomes a reasonably e f f e c t i v e king, the natives require an omnipotent "god" to rule them. In contrast, the narrator of "An Outpost of Progress" distances us from the protagonists; l i k e the omniscient narrator of The Secret Agent, he discriminates among various degrees of c r i m i n a l i t y and stu p i d i t y , and permits no heroes. Moreover, from the opening description of Kayerts and C a r l i e r , the ludicrously mismatched agents who are " i n charge" of the station, to the f i n a l irony that exposes the Director to a 20 grotesque form of his own grim humour t h i s narrator guarantees our s i l e n t p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n his uncompromising evaluation of the i m p e r i a l i s t myth. "I am sure you w i l l understand the reason and meaning of every d e t a i l , " Conrad wrote when he sent 1 ? the typescript of the story to Edward Garnett. As we have seen, "stable irony" involves the sharing of values and b e l i e f s between the reader and the implied author. In f i c t i o n s such as "An Outpost of Progress" and The Secret Agent, which emphasize the f o l l y and hopelessness of man's attempt to organize his world, t h i s s i l e n t complicity takes on a c e r t a i n defensiveness, i l l u s t r a t e d by Cunninghame Graham's response to "An Outpost of Progress." He praised the story 13 because i t was "true to l i f e — ; therefore unpopular." The  Secret Agent was s i m i l a r l y unpopular with the reading public of the day, who found the novel "sordid" and objected to "the moral squalor of the tale."-*-^ The i r o n i c narrative perspective, which we i d e n t i f y with the implied author because i t i s r e l i a b l y supported by the text as a whole, seeks to control and persuade us by i n v i t i n g our recognition of s i g n i f i c a n t incongruities and p a r a l l e l s . We are not asked to interpret, to f i l l i n hermeneutic gaps, but to take a moral stand with the author; i n "An Outpost of Progress," against the i m p e r i a l i s t writers i n Blackwood's Magazine and j o u r n a l i s t s i n the d a i l y papers. Thus, although the set t i n g , themes, and some motifs i n "An Outpost of Progress" are si m i l a r to Conrad's la t e r story "Heart of Darkness," the narrative method i n v i t e s the reader to recognize meanings rather than create them. 21 In his study of "Heart of Darkness" Cedric Watts points out that the t i t l e of the longer story balances two profoundly metaphoric terms i n an ambiguous relationship, from which the reader can i n f e r both "a mysterious or e v i l human heart" and 1 5 "the core of a metaphysical darkness." For his t i t l e "An Outpost of Progress," however, Conrad selected a f a m i l i a r phrase from i m p e r i a l i s t r h e t o r i c , thus turning the enemy's own words against him, with an i r o n i c intention. Indeed, th i s t a c t i c y i e l d s some of the more blatant of the story's multiple i r o n i e s , and i t never f a i l s to a l e r t the reader to the b i t t e r discrepancies between i d e a l i s t i c words and r e a l i t y . Thus, Kayerts and C a r l i e r , at ease on t h e i r verandah, are described i n contemporary journalese as "the two pioneers of trade and progress" (93). Even more destructive i s Conrad's parody of the newspaper report from "home" which eulogizes "those who went about bringing l i g h t , and f a i t h , and commerce to the dark places of the earth" (94). Here, the sardonic emphasis on "commerce" subverts the i d e a l i s t i c r h e t o r i c , censuring both 1 f\ "masquerading philanthropy" and those who believe i n i t s f l a t t e r i n g disguises. C a r l i e r , then, i s r i d i c u l e d because he i s moved by the "high-flown language" i n the newspaper to dream of "Quays, and warehouses, and barracks, and—and— billiard-rooms. C i v i l i z a t i o n , my boy, and v i r t u e — a n d a l l . " (95) The irony deepens when he responds to his f i r s t r e a l test, as supplies run short, by t a l k i n g about "the necessity of exter-22 minating a l l the niggers" (108), but a protagonist who equates billiard-rooms with v i r t u e and c i v i l i z a t i o n cannot be taken very seriously. One of the reasons we f i n d Kurtz's post-script—"Exterminate a l l the brutes!"—so shockingly i r o n i c i s that i t follows an account of "burning, noble words" which (after the f i r s t two phrases) we never hear. Marlow interprets t h i s silence for us, sc o r n f u l l y , as "the notion of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence"; and his terms, because they must suggest the i n e f f a b l e , defy an analysis of Kurtzian "ideas" and "plans." Yet, l i k e the "unspeakable r i t e s " i n the wilderness, and l i k e Marlow's conception of Kurtz himself, the imprecise and the metaphoric involve us i n a process of d e f i n i t i o n . "Make him [the reader] think the e v i l , make him think i t for himself," writes Henry James i n his Preface to The Aspern Papers, "and you are released from weak sp e c i f i c a t i o n s . " In contrast, C a r l i e r ' s enthusiasm for "the sacredness of the c i v i l i z i n g work" and "Our Colonial Expansion" i s mocked because he s p e c i f i e s "barracks" and "billiard-rooms." The discrepancy between t h i s " c i v i l i z i n g work" and "extermin-ating the niggers" i s comic, and the reader i s i n v i t e d to judge and condemn rather than speculate or p a r t i c i p a t e . The omniscient narrator of "An Outpost of Progress" i s t e l l i n g a cruel joke, and arranges his material so that the "point" i s pressed home r e l e n t l e s s l y from the beginning of the story to i t s ap p a l l i n g l y grotesque climax. Unlike Marlow, who i s self-consciously aware of the ambiguity and inadequacy of 23 his words, and who corrects and contradicts himself i n the narrative process, he seeks to convince and persuade. In f a c t , at c e r t a i n times the narrator s t r a t e g i c a l l y underlines the i r o n i c discrepancies and other i n d i r e c t information i n the text with passages of straightforward commentary. The opening description of Kayerts and C a r l i e r and t h e i r a r r i v a l at the outpost, for example, gives us the impression of t h e i r c h i l d i s h incompetence i n d i r e c t l y , through i r o n i c contrasts. The two white men are " i n charge of" the station, but Makola, the native assistant, i s i n charge of the trading. S i m i l a r l y , Kayerts and C a r l i e r are described i n terms of t h e i r ungainly physical features, while Makola i s credited with a catalogue of p r a c t i c a l accomplishments. Even the white men's untidy l i t t e r r e f l e c t s obliquely on t h e i r hapless s i t u a t i o n , for the agents themselves have been thrown on shore by the Director l i k e rubbish, along with the cotton goods and the provisions, and the scornful remark, "At any rate, I am r i d of them for six months" (88). Conrad also derides the usefulness of t h e i r past careers i n the cavalry and the Administration of Telegraphs by placing t h e i r professional behaviour i n a wilderness s e t t i n g . In the midst of forests and impenetrable bush "that seemed to cut off the station from the rest of the world," C a r l i e r wonders about commissions, and Kayerts expresses himself " c o r r e c t l y " i n bureaucratic slogans. Confirming our impression of the agents' d i s a b l i n g help-lessness, the narrator t e l l s us that Makola "despised" the two white men, and the Director elaborates: "I always thought the s t a t i o n on t h i s r i v e r useless, and they just f i t the s t a t i o n ! " (88). At t h i s point, Conrad speaks to us d i r e c t l y i n a passage which recapitulates a l l the preceding information: Kayerts and C a r l i e r have always been "under the eye and guidance of t h e i r superiors," they are " d u l l . . . to the subtle influences of surroundings," they f e e l abandoned when "suddenly l e f t un-assisted." Thus, we are led inexorably to the conclusion that c i v i l i z e d society necessarily fosters a dangerous dependence: "They were two p e r f e c t l y i n s i g n i f i c a n t and incapable i n d i v i d -uals, whose existence i s only rendered possible through the high organization of c i v i l i z e d crowds" (89). In t h i s e x p l i c i t statement of the main theme, Conrad s a t i r i z e s the s o c i a l structure that has produced the incompetent agents. An attentive reader might suspect, however, from the tone of the narrator's "They were two p e r f e c t l y i n s i g n i f i c a n t and incapable individuals [just as we are]" the intention to involve him by invoking his own membership i n the " c i v i l i z e d crowds." The sentence that immediately follows confirms t h i s suspicion: Few men r e a l i z e that t h e i r l i f e , the very essence of t h e i r character, t h e i r c a p a b i l i t i e s and t h e i r audacities, are only the expression of t h e i r b e l i e f i n the safety of t h e i r surroundings. Conrad abandons Kayerts and C a r l i e r and the rueful d e t a i l s of t h e i r predicament and, as the passage continues, appeals to his readers d i r e c t l y , using i n c l u s i v e terminology such as "one's 25 thoughts" and "one's sensations" to describe a universal heart of darkness ruled by primitive fear. Because l i f e at the out-post tests "the f o o l i s h and the wise a l i k e , " the narrator urges the reader who i d e n t i f i e s himself with c i v i l i z e d wisdom (the two agents having been cast as the fools) to recognize the hypocrisy of his attitudes. The narrator speaks to us d i r e c t l y again, when the white men discover Makola's "business deal": They believed t h e i r words. Everybody shows a respectful deference to cert a i n sounds that he and his fellows can make. But about feelings people r e a l l y know nothing. We t a l k with indignation or enthusiasm; we talk about oppression, cruelty, crime, devotion, s e l f -s a c r i f i c e , v i r t u e , and we know nothing re a l beyond the words. Nobody knows what suffering or s a c r i f i c e mean— except, perhaps, the victims of the mysterious purpose of these i l l u s i o n s . (105-6) The i n i t i a l mention of Kayerts and C a r l i e r introduces a r h e t o r i c a l plea which makes e f f e c t i v e use of r e p e t i t i o n , a cumulative word-series, and the a l l - i n c l u s i v e "we," i n order to draw us i n . And, i n the manner of Marlow's appeals to his l i s t e n e r s on board the N e l l i e ("You can't understand. How could you?") t h i s passage, l i k e the e a r l i e r one, t r i e s to provoke the reader by exposing conventional escapes from r e a l i t y . In s h i f t i n g the point of view from sardonic detachment to r h e t o r i c a l persuasion, Conrad deliberately s a c r i f i c e s the "scrupulous unity of tone" for which he t e l l s us he strove i n t h i s s t o r y . ^ The e f f e c t s of the technique, however, are more obvious i n The Secret Agent, which contains b r i l l i a n t l y executed modulations such as the f a m i l i a r passage on 26 revolutionary reformers that begins with Mr. Verloc's thoughts i n free i n d i r e c t s t y l e : As to Ossipon, that beggar was sure to want for nothing as long as there were s i l l y g i r l s with savings-bank books i n the world. And Mr. Verloc, temperamentally i d e n t i c a l with his associates, drew fin e d i s t i n c t i o n s i n his mind on the strength of i n s i g n i f i c a n t differences. He drew them with a c e r t a i n complacency, because the i n s t i n c t of convention-a l r e s p e c t a b i l i t y was strong within him, being only over-come by his d i s l i k e of a l l kinds of recognized l a b o u r — a temperamental defect which he shared with a large proportion of revolutionary reformers of a given s o c i a l state. For obviously one does not r e v o l t against the advantages and opportunities of that state, but against the price which must be paid for the same i n the coin of accepted morality, s e l f - r e s t r a i n t , and t o i l . The major-i t y of r e v o l u t i o n i s t s are the enemies of d i s c i p l i n e and fatigue mostly. There are natures, too, to whose sense of j u s t i c e the price exacted looms up monstrously enormous, odious, oppressive, worrying, humiliating, extortionate, i n t o l e r a b l e . Those are the fanatics. The remaining portion of s o c i a l rebels i s accounted for by vanity, the mother of a l l noble and v i l e i l l u s i o n s , the companion of poets, reformers, charlatans, prophets, and incendiaries. Lost for a whole minute i n the abyss of meditation, Mr. Verloc did not reach the depth of these abstract considerations. (53) The narrator s h i f t s from Verloc's c r i t i c i s m of his friends, a device by which Conrad can s a t i r i z e the revolution-i s t s and Verloc at the same time, to sardonic omniscient commentary on the l a t t e r 1 s character. From here, he moves e a s i l y into more provocative, paradoxical references, culminating i n a consideration of the " s o c i a l rebels" motivated by v a n i t y — t h e u n i v e r s a l l y human t r a i t displayed by most characters i n the novel as well as (presumably) the reader himself. At the end of the passage, however, the narrator resumes his s a t i r e of Verloc, and the agent's "meditation" (that i s , his preoccupation with t h i n l y disguised personal 27 worries) i s i r o n i c a l l y juxtaposed with the "abstract considerations" that treat his case as just one of many. These modulations from s p e c i f i c s a t i r i c a l f o c i to general commentary i n The Secret Agent have a further r h e t o r i c a l function. Through them, Conrad can guarantee the reader's con-demnation of some characters more than others. For example, he s a t i r i z e s the Assistant Commissioner's f a u l t s with r e l a t i v e l y mild irony, which often modulates into general commentary. In the following passage, the narrator s h i f t s from verbal play with the term "natural" to a grotesque figure of speech, and then to a gnomic phrase ("We can never cease to be ourselves") that modifies the reader's sense of i r o n i c detachment by making a d i r e c t appeal: It was natural. He was a born detective. It had uncon-sciously governed his choice of a career, and i f i t ever f a i l e d him i n l i f e i t was perhaps i n the one exceptional circumstance of his marriage—which was also natural. It fed, since i t could not roam abroad, upon the human material which was brought to i t i n i t s o f f i c i a l seclusion. We can never cease to be ourselves. (117-18) In the same episode the narrator dramatizes Chief Inspector Heat's thoughts so that his personal predicament has the widest possible human reference. Thus, Heat i s likened to a tight-rope walker having his rope shaken i n the middle of a performance by the manager of the Music H a l l : Indignation, the sense of moral inse c u r i t y engendered by such a treacherous proceeding joined to the immediate apprehension of a broken neck, would, i n the c o l l o q u i a l phrase, put him i n a state. And there would be also some scandalized concern for his a r t , too, since a man must i d e n t i f y himself with something more tangible than his own personality, and est a b l i s h his pride somewhere, either 28 i n his s o c i a l p o s i t i o n , or i n the q u a l i t y of the work he i s obliged to do, or simply i n the superiority of the idleness he may be fortunate enough to enjoy. (116-17) Incidentally, Conrad used the image of the tight-rope walker i n a l e t t e r of August 31, 1898 to describe his attitude toward his own a r t . He also echoed the reference to the Assistant Commissioner's p l i g h t ("We can never cease to be ourselves") i n h i s Author's Note to Tales of Unrest. Writing about the personal aspect of s t y l e , he said "We cannot escape from ourselves." In The Secret Agent Conrad introduces general commentary to make sympathy possible for characters such as Heat, the Assistant Commissioner, and even Verloc, whose motives, being f a m i l i a r to the reader, are perhaps more e a s i l y shared, but r a r e l y for the extremist Professor and never for 1 8 the "sham revolutionaries" (Michaelis, Ossipon, and Yundt) or Vladimir. At the same time, as i n "An Outpost of Progress" t h i s narrative technique challenges us to recognize our own membership i n a c i v i l i z e d "herd" that s t i f l e s i n d i v i d u a l i t y and passionate f e e l i n g . The narrative structure of "An Outpost of Progress," which r e c a l l s Maupassant, contributes to the i r o n i c impact of the story. In a l e t t e r objecting to the proposed publication i n two installments Conrad wrote: " . . . the sting of the thing 1 9 i s i n i t s t a i l , " a l l u d ing to the favourite Maupassant ending, climac t i c irony. The f a c t that Conrad revised C a r l i e r ' s advice to Kayerts at the end of Part I i n the s e r i a l and the sub-sequent book editions before he learned that "the unspeakable i d i o t s " planned to divide the story i s s i g n i f i c a n t . The manu-29 s c r i p t reads: "Keep a l l our men together to-day" (AMS16), and the r e v i s i o n , "Keep a l l our men together i n case of some 90 trouble," has been traced to the missing typescript, which predates the s e r i a l version. Thus, Conrad made the change i n order to heighten the sense of an inevitable working out of events rather than accommodate a proposed d i v i s i o n . In f a c t , his practice of "chaptering" his novels a f t e r the f i r s t draft had been completed indicates that he tended to think i n terms 9 of blocks of action; that i s , with a sense of dramatic e f f e c t . Tightness of construction i s p a r t i c u l a r l y evident i n The Secret  Agent, where dramatic irony seems to circumscribe and compress the characters' actions from chapter eight to the end of the novel. In the f i r s t part of "An Outpost of Progress" a l l the elements of a p o t e n t i a l l y disastrous s i t u a t i o n are present: the i s o l a t i o n , the climate, Makola"'s cunning, the white men's stupidity and s l o t h . Then, as i f i n a Maupassant story, "one morning" the outside world impinges upon the quiet scene, and "a knot of armed men came out of the forest and advanced towards the s t a t i o n " (97). The r e s u l t i n g chain of events i s therefore i n e v i t a b l e , but i t i s not predictable, as the resolu-tions of Maupassant's tales often are. The i r o n i c p a r a l l e l s i n "An Outpost of Progress" add complexity and richness to the c l i m a c t i c form as the reader discovers more and more evidence of Conrad's moral attitude towards soulless materialism. Also, the modulations i n the narrator's i r o n i c tone create s i g n i f i -30 cant contrasts. We cannot condemn the f r i e n d l y Gobila, for example, although Conrad takes care, i n his manuscript revisions, to underline the native's c h i l d i s h lack of discrim-ination. Thus, "Gobila loved the white men" becomes "Gobila's manner was paternal and he seemed r e a l l y to love (the) a l l white men" (AMS12). However, the s a t i r i c a l irony directed toward the old c h i e f t a i n rebounds on Gobila's two "brothers" whom he considers "immortal": they are only fond of him " i n a way" (unfraternally, that is) and t h e i r mysterious powers 99 consist of s t r i k i n g matches "recklessly" and o f f e r i n g ammonia bottles for s n i f f i n g (96). The white men's attitude of superiority toward t h e i r host i s emphasized along with the chief's comically naive speculations. The narrative straightforwardness of "An Outpost of Progress" does not preclude complexity, but i t does eliminate ambiguity. In "Heart of Darkness" the meanings of terms such as " e f f i c i e n c y , " "idea," and " b e l i e f " s h i f t as Marlow's audience i n the narrative present interrupts his t e l l i n g of past events. What Conrad means by "progress" i n the e a r l i e r story, on the other hand, i s clear at the beginning, and becomes emphatic at the end. The "sting i n the t a i l " i s the antithesis of the ever-widening c i r c l e that opens out when Marlow f a l l s s i l e n t and the forgotten " I " on board the yawl takes us into "the heart of an immense darkness" that i s past and present, private and public, metaphoric as well as palpable. 31 In "An Outpost of Progress" Conrad controls our responses by reserving the broader implications of his irony for the l a t t e r half of the story, a f t e r the native workers have been traded for ivory. In the beginning, for example, the narrator's portrayal of Makola i s p l a y f u l l y sardonic. The assistant i s a grotesque blend of savagery and sophistication. He affects the white men's culture by c a l l i n g himself "Henry Price" (and his wife, "Mrs. Price") but his native name has "stuck to him" i n spite of his e f f o r t s and his tr a v e l s . Simi-l a r l y , his c i v i l i z e d accomplishments (foreign languages, beautiful handwriting, and bookkeeping) are only skin-deep, for " i n his innermost heart" he cherishes "the worship of e v i l s p i r i t s " (86). Moreover, while he maintains a neat, correct appearance and a studied indifference to events, his wife i s embarrassingly large, noisy, and excitable. To compound the comic incongruities, Mrs. Makola appears to be i n charge of her husband when the slave traders a r r i v e . A l l i n a l l , the irony i s b i t i n g , but limited i n scope. On the night of the kidnapping and afterwards, however, Makola's diligence i s linked to the ruthless greed of the Great Trading Company. "I know my business," he whispers to the con-fused Kayerts while the man are being captured and shot (102). When the "business" i s exposed the next morning, his parody of the f a i t h f u l servant confirms the true role of the Company and i t s absent Director: "I did my best for you and the Company" (104). At t h i s point, the narrator depicts Makola as a family 32 man, i n a f i e r c e l y i r o n i c c l i c h e : Makola r e t i r e d into the bosom of his family; and the tusks, l e f t l y i ng before the store, looked very large and valuable i n the sunshine. The children are p a r t i c u l a r l y emphasized, as "he lay f u l l -length on a mat outside his door, and the youngsters sat on his chest and clambered a l l over him." Later, he bathes them i n the r i v e r . There are many i r o n i c references to family relationships i n "An Outpost of Progress," but the domestic scene p i c t u r i n g a father playing contentedly with his children i n the sun i s the most savage. Because Conrad juxtaposes t h i s scene with the discovery of one of Gobila's men, who has been shot through the body, he underlines even more heavily his condemnation of the exploiters and the absence of human s o l i d a r i t y at the outpost. Kayerts's platitude from c o l o n i a l i s t r h e t o r i c , "We took care of them [the sta t i o n men] as i f they had been our children," i s o also scathing, because i n the f i r s t half of the story he and C a r l i e r are portrayed metaphorically as children themselves, fresh from "the fostering care" of bureaucrats i n Europe (91). When they a r r i v e at the station, for example, they face the dangers of the unknown by "drawing close to one another as children do i n the dark," and t h e i r f i r s t day i s spent playing house, "pottering about with hammers and n a i l s and red c a l i c o " (90) . And so, as the events that w i l l end i n the dis i n t e g r a t i o n of the "brotherhood" between Kayerts and C a r l i e r are set i n 33 motion by the trade, the narrator's irony becomes more censorious. Makola betrays his fellows because of his " c i v i l i z e d " t i e s to the Company; and the white men i n t h e i r "paternal" r o l e toward the native workers speak for the "progress" that denies t r a d i t i o n a l bonds of love, respect, and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Thus, the i r o n i c mode, which distances us from the characters so that we can judge them, works well within the climactic shape of "An Outpost of Progress" i n order to make us see with increasing i n t e n s i t y the h o r r i f y i n g gulf between i d e a l i s t i c i l l u s i o n s and the nightmarish r e a l i t y . In "Heart of Darkness" we share Marlow's moral perspective when he describes the e f f i c i e n t chief accountant at the Outer Station (who makes "correct entries of p e r f e c t l y correct trans-actions" while men are dying nearby) or the native guarding his fellow natives with a gun and a "large, white, r a s c a l l y g r i n " (16). Either one of these could be Makola, and each one of them, we condemn. In addition to Marlow's irony, however, the narrative form of "Heart of Darkness" permits Conrad to affirm some e s s e n t i a l , human t i e s — t h r o u g h our i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Marlow, for example, when he offers a ship's b i s c u i t to the dying worker; through the conflation of times and places that gives the men on board the N e l l i e (who have worked with others at sea) an understanding of the native helmsman who was learning, under Marlow, how to navigate; and through the ex-pressiveness of archetypal symbols, such as the journey. "An Outpost of Progress," i n contrast, focusses on the 34 i r o n i c incongruities that deny such affirmations. In the c l o s i n g section, a f t e r Kayerts wakes into the nightmare of r e a l i t y beside C a r l i e r 1 s corpse, Conrad uses grotesque dramatized images to shock us into seeing Kayerts 1s p o s i t i o n . F i r s t , the agent's cry of prayer—"Help! . . . My God!"—is answered by the screeching steamer, which i s "Progress": A shriek inhuman, vi b r a t i n g and sudden, pierced l i k e a sharp dart the white shroud of that land of sorrow. Three short, impatient screeches followed, and then, for a time, the fog-wreaths r o l l e d on, undisturbed, through a formidable si l e n c e . Then many more shrieks, rapid and piercing, l i k e the y e l l s of some exasperated and ruthless creature, rent the a i r . Progress was c a l l i n g to Kayerts from the r i v e r . Progress and c i v i l i z a t i o n and a l l the  vir t u e s . Society was c a l l i n g to i t s accomplished c h i l d to come, to be taken care of, to be instructed, to be judged, to be condemned; i t c a l l e d him to return to that rubbish heap from which he had wandered away, so that j u s t i c e could be done. Kayerts heard and understood. (116, my i t a l i c s ) The unexpectedness of the d i s t o r t i o n (the b e s t i a l steamer) and the juxtaposition of an inhuman shriek with a human prayer forces the reader (by d i s o r i e n t i n g him) to share Kayerts's sense of helplessness before the parental monster, c i v i l i z e d materialism. In f a c t , the dramatization of cruel implacabil-i t y i s considerably more e f f e c t i v e than the narrator's ex p l i c a t i o n following i t , although the echo from C a r l i e r ' s e a r l i e r eulogy ( " C i v i l i z a t i o n , my boy, and v i r t u e — a n d a l l " ) i s f i n e irony. Conrad uses a grotesquely elaborated image again for the "sting i n the t a i l , " thus exaggerating the impact of the i r o n i c surprise at the climax. Dangling from the cross at his 35 predecessor's grave, Kayerts presents us with a v i o l e n t fusion of marionette and human corpse, or inanimate form and animate gesture. The conventional Maupassant ending seems decorous i n comparison with t h i s macabre conclusion: His toes were only a couple of inches above the ground; his arms hung s t i f f l y down; he seemed to be standing r i g i d l y at attention, but with one purple cheek p l a y f u l l y posed on the shoulder. And, i r r e v e r e n t l y , he was putting out a swollen tongue at his Managing Director. In the dramatized image of Kayerts as the puppet of Progress, Conrad uses grotesque d i s t o r t i o n to focus the c r i t i c a l i ronies of the story on a single target: the Great Trading Company. In the end, the "joke" i s on the D i r e c t o r — a man who, as we have seen i n his e a r l i e r address to the new chief, "at times, but very imperceptibly, indulged i n grim humour" (87). And, as he fumbles ineptly i n his pockets, his discomposure r e f l e c t s the reader's sudden displacement from a safe, i r o n i c detachment to an uneasiness that results from the mingling of horror with a p r a c t i c a l joke. Our ambivalence involves us i n the narrator's der i s i v e protest. Conrad revised both of these images to make them more concrete and immediate. In the manuscript he altered the description of the steamer's shrieks from " l i k e y e l l s of a masterful exasperation" to " l i k e the y e l l s of an exasperated and fabulous animal," and f i n a l l y to " l i k e the y e l l s of some exasperated and ruthless creature" (AMS35). Thus revised, the simile fuses animal and machine, and the substitution of "ruthless" for "fabulous" changes the tone of the grotesque from fantasy to menace. The impression of sharpness i s added, f i g u r a t i v e l y and a u r a l l y , by changing the verb "followed" to "rent," which immediately follows the simile. Conrad polished the f i n a l image i n the manuscript and also before the book version of the story. In the manuscript he revised "He seemed to be standing r i g i d l y at attention but with his head p l a y f u l l y on the shoulder" to "He seemed to be standing r i g i d l y at attention but with one purple cheek p l a y f u l l y posed on the shoulder" (AMS36). Thus, he achieves v i s u a l immediacy as well as a nice a n t i c i p a t i o n of the l a s t gesture (putting out the tongue) i n the suggestion of Kayerts "posing" himself. F i n a l l y , preparing the story for Tales of Unrest, Conrad changed "feet" to "toes" so that the sentence read "His toes were only a couple of inches above the ground," y i e l d i n g a more concrete metaphor—a v i s u a l image of the human puppet stretched out and dangling. Modulations from irony to the grotesque involve a s h i f t for the reader from i n t e l l e c t u a l engagement to sense experience and emotional response. In "An Outpost of Progress" the grotesque images achieve the r e s u l t Conrad perhaps was hoping for when he experimented with Gothic e f f e c t s i n "The Idiots." However, as we have seen, the narrator also comments i r o n i c a l l y i n the climactic scene of "Outpost," c o n t r o l l i n g us crudely 23 with sarcasm. In The Secret Agent Conrad creates a narrative point of view that modulates more s k i l f u l l y and more consist-ently from r h e t o r i c a l irony to a grotesque v i s i o n of a chaotic and fragmented world. Moreover, as the i r o n i c mode s h i f t s from comic (or s a t i r i c ) to t r a g i c , and the Verlocs' "domestic drama" becomes the central focus, Conrad combines grotesque elements with dramatic irony i n order to involve the reader more d i r e c t l y . Scenes i n the l a t t e r part of ,the novel such as the cab r i d e and the murder of Verloc contain many grotesque elements that include both subject matter (the cab driver whose body i s p a r t l y f l e s h and p a r t l y "hooked iron contrivance") and tech-nique (the narrator suddenly focusses on a d e t a i l , for i n -stance, and enlarges i t beyond r e a l i s t i c proportions, as when Winnie's mother's big cheeks glow orange i n the g a s l i g h t ) . ^ As our reaction to the hanging puppet at the end of "An Outpost of Progress" shows, stable communication based on shared values between reader and narrator dissolves under the influence of the grotesque, and we lose our safe vantage point from which to c r i t i c i z e the characters' actions. Many readers consider The  Dunciad to be an anti-epic rather than a mock epic because i t s grotesque elements challenge epic conventions instead of using them to c r i t i c i z e and reform society. In The Secret Agent more than i n "An Outpost of Progress" Conrad constructs a delicate balance between stable irony and the grotesque. Moreover, the concentration of grotesque elements i n the l a t t e r part of the novel accompanies an i r o n i c structure from chapter eight to the end that d i r e c t s our attention to the s i t u a t i o n of the victims rather than t h e i r deviation from a moral standard of behaviour. When the narrator t e l l s us that Winnie's mother "would avoid the h o r r i b l e incertitude on the death-bed" because she would 38 know then the res u l t s of her heroic s a c r i f i c e , he exploits t h i s dramatic irony. We see that although Winnie and her mother have been g u i l t y of narrow-mindedness and secrecy, they are overwhelmed by a predetermined catastrophe out of proportion to t h e i r g u i l t . In contrast, despite the grotesque images and the sudden s h i f t i n perspective when Kayerts r e a l i z e s that he has shot C a r l i e r , "An Outpost of Progress" engages the reader most e f f e c t i v e l y on an i n t e l l e c t u a l l e v e l . The verbal irony of the narrator and the Flaubertian juxtapositions and p a r a l l e l s comprise a rhetoric that expresses an intensely c r i t i c a l view of society with sardonic energy. In the Author's Note to Tales of Unrest Conrad says: "I seemed able to capture new reactions, new suggestions, and even new rhythms for my paragraphs." Frustrated i n his attempts to f i n i s h The Rescue and doubting . . 25 his a b i l i t i e s , Conrad wrote t h i s story "with pleasure," as he to l d Garnett. He returned to the i r o n i c narrative perspective a decade la t e r when, i n a s i m i l a r l y unsettled time, he was unhappy with his work on Chance, troubled by his lack of creative productivity since Nostromo, and even considering writing a play.^6 C r i t i c s have largely neglected the "stable irony" i n The Secret Agent, focussing instead on ironies of s i t u a t i o n or on the " i r o n i c perspective," as J . H i l l i s M i l l e r c a l l s Conrad's motifs of disjunction and chaos. Those who, l i k e Albert Guerard, f i n d the narrator's irony limited have f a i l e d to 39 explore i t s r i c h variations i n tone. In f a c t , except for Wayne Booth recent c r i t i c s tend to disparage i r o n i c techniques i n general as "secondary" and "derivative" compared with "irony as a mode of consciousness" or "metaphysical irony," presum-ably because r e l i a b l e i r o n i c narrators are d i f f i c u l t to f i n d i n 9 7 modern f i c t i o n . ' Even i n a h i s t o r i c a l overview such as "Theory of Modes" from Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , Northrop Frye excludes the r h e t o r i c a l i r o n i s t from his d e f i n i t i o n of the mode. He writes: "When we t r y to i s o l a t e the i r o n i c as such, we f i n d that i t seems to be simply the attitude of the poet as such, a dispassionate construction of a l i t e r a r y form, with a l l 9 R assertive elements, implied or expressed, eliminated." Yet the rela t i o n s h i p between the implied author and the reader i n th i s novel i s c e r t a i n l y "assertive," for the narrator does not function as a l i f e l e s s mask or a detached h i s t o r i a n . The difference between The Secret Agent and a less assertive novel such as Faulkner's Sanctuary, which gives us a si m i l a r impression of a fragmented, grotesque world, i s that i n the former, the narrator's r h e t o r i c a l tone and strategies keep us from remaining u n c r i t i c a l l y fascinated or repelled by t h i s world. The narrator's tone i n The Secret Agent ranges from dry understatement, which i s calculated to provoke the reader into examining words, impressions, and appearances more c l o s e l y , to savage indignation. Control over the reader i s exercised through s t y l i s t i c features such as qu a l i f y i n g words and 40 phrases, oxymoron, figures of speech, r e f r a i n s , r e p e t i t i o n s , and epithets. The narrator's use of the l a t t e r i l l u s t r a t e s the moral effectiveness of his irony, since epithets discriminate between characters l i k e Winnie's mother, "the heroic old woman" despite her trappings, and the great lady who, despite hers, i s only "the aged d i s c i p l e of Michaelis." In f a c t , the narrator's i r o n i c tone even determines the prose rhythm of the O Q novel. 7 In the opening description, for example, the paragraphs from the t h i r d through the sixth are linked schematically, with the f i r s t sentence of each repeating the l a s t words of the paragraph before, to give an i r o n i c impression of neatness and order. Thus, the f i r s t sentence of paragraph four begins, "These customers were either very young men . . .", which takes up the concluding phrase of paragraph three: " . . . for the sake of the customers." S i m i l a r l y , the f i r s t sentence of paragraph f i v e — " T h e b e l l , hung on the door by means of a curved ribbon of s t e e l , was d i f f i c u l t to circumvent"—is linked to the l a s t sentence of paragraph four, which ends " . . . as i f a f r a i d to s t a r t the b e l l going." F i n a l l y , the f i r s t sentence of the sixth paragraph repeats the phrase " i t c l a t t e r e d " from the preceding sentence: . . . i t c l a t t e r e d behind the customer with impudent virulence. It c l a t t e r e d ; and at that s i g n a l , through the dusty glass door behind the painted deal counter, Mr. Verloc would issue h a s t i l y from the parlour at the back. (4) As I have suggested, the cumulative e f f e c t of these links i s 41 i r o n i c because Conrad uses a schematic pattern to describe a scene of disorder: the cluttered shop window, for example, and Mr. Verloc himself, who "had the a i r of having wallowed, f u l l y dressed, a l l day on an unmade bed." Moreover, the i n s i s t e n t repetitions draw our attention to the narrator as a source of meaning i n the text. Ironic p a r a l l e l s are another source of meaning i n The  Secret Agent through which Conrad explores the materialism and lack of rea l s o l i d a r i t y i n t h i s society. In the opening description of the shop, Mr. Verloc's customers bear a s t r i k i n g resemblance to t h e i r s o i l e d , worthless purchases, and Winnie's provocative charms, which have bought security for Stevie, are juxtaposed with the "faded, yellow dancing g i r l s " sold across the counter. A network of such p a r a l l e l s connects the various characters and episodes i n the novel. For example, Chief Inspector Heat and Verloc each t r y to defend t h e i r comfortable 30 position against attack from a superior, and neither Winnie nor the wife of the Assistant Commissioner w i l l r i s k "going abroad." The same conservatism pervades the entire s o c i a l organization. One of Conrad's most provocative insights into the workings of a stable democratic society involves the under-lying i r o n i c s i m i l a r i t y between the burglar and the police o f f i c e r : . . . the mind and the i n s t i n c t s of a burglar are of the same kind as the mind and the i n s t i n c t s of a police o f f i c e r . Both recognize the same conventions, and have a working knowledge of each other's methods and of the routine of t h e i r respective trades. They understand each 42 other, which i s advantageous to both, and establishes a sort of amenity i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s . Products of the same machine, one classed as useful and the other as noxious, they take the machine for granted i n d i f f e r e n t ways, but with a seriousness e s s e n t i a l l y the same. (92) Threatening t h i s status quo are the two extremists: the reactionary Vladimir, who instigates a senseless, "inex-p l i c a b l e " act of destruction because he believes that "madness alone i s t r u l y t e r r i f y i n g , inasmuch as you cannot placate i t either by threats, persuasion, or bribes" (33), and the anarchist Professor, who states: "Madness and despair! Give me that for a lever and I ' l l move the world!" Like the burglar and the policeman—"one classed [by society] as useful and the other as noxious"—Vladimir and the professor are completely d i f f e r e n t i n t h e i r s o c i a l roles, but on close examination they display a s i n i s t e r moral and p o l i t i c a l resemblance. Another of Conrad's techniques to reveal the disjunction between appearances and r e a l i t y i n The Secret Agent i s i r o n i c incongruity. Vladimir, the Russian agent provocateur, frequents the drawing-rooms of the upper classes, where he becomes "the favourite of i n t e l l i g e n t society women." However, in grotesque contrast to his urbane mannerisms, La t i n phrases, and blue s i l k socks, Mr. Vladimir's true nature i s u n c i v i l i z e d — even savage: Then he turned, and advanced into the room with such determination that the very ends of his quaintly old-fashioned bow necktie seemed to b r i s t l e with unspeakable menaces. The movement was so swift and f i e r c e that Mr. Verloc, casting an oblique glance, quailed inwardly. "Aha! You dare be impudent," Mr. Vladimir began, with an amazingly guttural intonation not only u t t e r l y un-43 English, but absolutely un-European, and s t a r t l i n g even to Mr. Verloc's experience of cosmopolitan slums. "You dare! Well, I am going to speak p l a i n English to you. Voice won't do. We have no use for your voice. We don't want a voice. We want f a c t s — s t a r t l i n g facts—damn you," he added, with a sort of ferocious d i s c r e t i o n , r i g h t into Mr. Verloc's face. "Don't you t r y to come over me with your Hyperborean manners," Mr. Verloc defended himself, huskily, looking at the carpet. (24-25) S i m i l a r l y , Verloc, the "celebrated"_secret agent of the book's t i t l e , whose co n f i d e n t i a l reports "had the power to change the schemes and the dates of r o y a l , imperial, grand-ducal journeys, and sometimes cause them to be put off altogether," i s revealed as thoroughly domesticated and conventional—1'homme moyen  sensuel• And S i r Ethelred, a L i b e r a l p o l i t i c i a n engaged i n the "revolutionary" task of n a t i o n a l i z i n g the f i s h e r i e s , symbolizes the aristocracy's reluctance to see beyond the established order: consider his weak eyesight and his aversion to d e t a i l s . Like the i r o n i c p a r a l l e l s i n the novel, the web of incongrui-t i e s a l e r t s the reader to Conrad's central moral theme: the t r a g i c disjunction between the comfortable world of appearances and the "madness and despair" beneath the surface. In a much more limited way, Conrad experiments with sim i l a r techniques i n "An Outpost of Progress." Revisions to the story i n the manuscript and typescript versions show an on-going process that enhances the i r o n i c impact on the reader. He took p a r t i c u l a r care with the long descriptive passage at the beginning of the story, and to Garnett's c r i t i c i s m that the opening destroyed the reader's i n t e r e s t i n the characters, he 44 re p l i e d that the i r o n i c technique had been "a matter of 31 conscious decision." Revisions to t h i s passage i n t e n s i f y the mocking tone of the omniscient narrator, concentrating on the selection and arrangement of d e t a i l s for i r o n i c e f f e c t . In the manuscript C a r l i e r i s o r i g i n a l l y described as having "a very broad trunk and a large head on a long pair of thin legs" (AMS1). Conrad reversed the f i r s t two features and substituted "perched upon" for "on" to create a comic "top to bottom" order i n which C a r l i e r ' s weight balances precariously on the crane-l i k e legs: " C a r l i e r , the second, was t a l l w i t i h a large head and a very broad trunk perched upon a long pair of th i n legs." In another r e v i s i o n he replaced e x p l i c i t commentary on the agents' lack of moral f i b r e with concrete d e t a i l s and the sardonic modifier "mysteriously," to suggest the point less crudely. Thus, the l i t t e r of "open boxes, belongings of the white men who were untidy having no inducement to be otherwise" became "open half empty boxes, torn wearing apparel, old boots—the things d i r t y , and the things broken that accumulate mysteriously round untidy men" (AMS1-2). The i n i t i a l description of Makola was also revised i n the manuscript. In the following sentence Conrad added to the l i s t of h is accomplishments and changed the word order of the l a s t phrase to make i t p a r a l l e l with the others. The f i n a l r e s u l t emphasizes the contrast between Makola's c i v i l i z e d appearance and his savage nature: "He spoke English and French with a warbling accent, wrote a beautiful hand, understood book-keep-ing and (in his innermost heart cherished the worship of) cherished i n his innermost heart the worship of e v i l s p i r i t s " (AMS1). A similar r e v i s i o n l a t e r i n the paragraph reinforced -this i r o n i c juxtaposition: "Then (in the i n t e r v a l s of book-keeping he communed alone with the E v i l ) for a time he dwelt alone with his family, his account books, and with the E v i l S p i r i t that rules the lands under the equator" (AMS2). With the addition of the phrase "pretended to," Conrad also alerted the reader to Makola's t r i c k e r y within the f i r s t few sentences: "He had charge of a small clay (building) storehouse with a palm-leaf roof and pretended to (ke) keep a correct account of beads, cotton cloths, red kerchiefs, (and) brass wire, (which was the stock for trade) and other trade goods i t contained" (AMS1). Subsequent changes to the same paragraph at the typescript stage included the addition of a b r i e f sentence, "He got on very well with his god," that emphasizes Makola's unholy communion with the E v i l S p i r i t and establishes an i r o n i c comparison with Kayerts's despairing cry for help to an " i n v i s i b l e heaven" at the end of the story. Conrad also continued to experiment with rhythm and d i c t i o n i n order to emphasize his i r o n i c intention. Thus, "Perhaps he promised him more white men to play with" became, at the typescript stage, "Perhaps he had propitiated him by a promise of more white men to play with, by and by." By the time the story appeared i n Cosmopolis the opening paragraph (one of the longest Conrad 46 ever wrote) had been painstakingly revised to set the tone for the events that follow. S i m i l a r l y , the i r o n i c p a r a l l e l s i n "An Outpost of Progress" anticipate those i n The Secret Agent. For example, the narrator does not introduce the group of ten native workers u n t i l the pi v o t a l point i n the story, when the a r r i v a l of the slave-traders has instigated the action involving Makola and the agents. In the manuscript Conrad cancels a reference to "the working hands of the station" (AMS2) i n the opening paragraph—apparently the advantages of withholding mention of the men occurred to him as he was writing. The delay allows us to connect the workers' miserable p l i g h t with that of Kayerts and C a r l i e r , who provide useless medical attention while t r y i n g to get the men to work. The narrator describes the natives' e x i l e with sardonic detachment: They were not happy, regretting the f e s t i v e incantations, the sorceries, the human s a c r i f i c e s of t h e i r own land; where they also had parents, brothers, s i s t e r s , admired ch i e f s , respected magicians, loved friends, and other t i e s suppposed generally to be human. (100) We must recognize, i n t h i s commentary, the i r o n i c bond between exploiters and exploited, for the white men are l i k e the natives i n t h e i r e x i l e from t h e i r own land, i n t h e i r prison fare (the r i c e r a t i o n s ) , i n t h e i r i l l n e s s , and i n th e i r s p i r i t -less lethargy. Like the t r i b a l warriors, they have been cut off from the once-daily rhythm of th e i r a c t i v i t i e s and l i k e the natives too, t h i s has been by t h e i r own "agreement," for Kayerts i s so e a s i l y manipulated by the Director that he might 47 as well have engaged himself without understanding the terms of his contract. We have already learned that Kayerts, l i k e the native men, has his l i s t of regrets: He regretted the street, the pavements, the cafes, his friends of many years; a l l the things he used to see, day after day; a l l the thoughts suggested by f a m i l i a r t h i n g s — the thoughts e f f o r t l e s s , monotonous, and soothing of a Government clerk; he regretted a l l the gossip, the small enmities, the mild venom, and the l i t t l e jokes of Government o f f i c e s . (91) And C a r l i e r , also, " l i k e Kayerts, regretted his old l i f e . He regretted the c l i n k of sabre and spurs on a f i n e afternoon, the barrack-room witticisms, the g i r l s of garrison towns" (92). Thus, the narrator emphasizes the common l o t of a l l the victims, while the comic parallelisms reveal that the petty r i t u a l s of the white men are much less a t t r a c t i v e or admirable than the savage r i t e s of the t r i b e . As the two agents degener-ate into animals f i g h t i n g each other over f i f t e e n lumps of sugar, t h e i r s i t u a t i o n becomes p i t i a b l e . Unlike the station men, however, Kayerts and C a r l i e r are severely judged. As the white men examine the v i s i t i n g native traders from the superior height (and safety) of t h e i r verandah, they are themselves examined with Flaubertian irony. The stat e l y move-ments of the warriors are compared with C a r l i e r ' s swaggering and moustache-twirling; and Kayerts 1s d u l l , blue-eyed stare i s juxtaposed with the natives' "quick, wild glances." Sharing the narrator's Olympian view of the two men, we share, as well, his s i l e n t contempt—particularly when he dramatizes t h e i r 48 complacency i n d i r e c t dialogue. C a r l i e r ' s c r i t i c i s m of the warriors (who are "perfect of limb") reduces the agent to a figur e of fun: "Fine arms, but legs no good below the knee. Couldn't make cavalry men of them" (93). Furthermore, both men's haughty references to."the funny brute," "fine animals," and "that herd" are crude exaggerations of the s o c i a l Darwin-ism popular among contemporary expansionists. Without the aid of narrative commentary, the scene exposes c i v i l i z e d pretensions with a de l i b e r a t i o n that guarantees the reader's contempt and forbids i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . Another scene that exhibits Flaubertian economy i s the discovery of the station men's disappearance. Ian Watt refers to the s i m i l a r i t y i n theme between "An Outpost of Progress" and Bouvard et Pecuchet, the novel about two clerks who embody the idees regues and the p r a c t i c a l incompetence of bourgeois society. In s t y l e also, on occasion, Conrad's reduction of his two heroes reminds one of Flaubert's d e l i b e r a t e l y f l a t use of language. As Kayerts and C a r l i e r emerge on the morning af t e r the r a i d , t h e i r movements are synchronized: In the morning C a r l i e r came out, very sleepy, and pulled at the cord of the big b e l l . The station hands mustered every morning to the sound of the b e l l . That morning nobody came. Kayerts turned out also, yawning. (102) The mechanical repetitions of "morning" and " b e l l , " and the short, simple, p a r a l l e l structures e s t a b l i s h a rhythm for the marionette movements of the two men. The dialogue i s s i m i l a r l y patterned. When Kayerts and 49 C a r l i e r learn about the men's mysterious disappearance, t h e i r gestures and speech mirror each other l i k e t h e a t r i c a l "stock" responses, emphasizing t h e i r ineptness: They heard him p l a i n l y , but i n th e i r surprise they both y e l l e d out together: "What!" Then they stared at one another. "We are i n a proper f i x now," growled C a r l i e r . "It's i n c r e d i b l e ! " muttered Kayerts. (103) The white men's dependence on the "herd" at home i s re f l e c t e d i n the safe, automatic platitudes of t h e i r speech. They are, i n f a c t , masters of the idees reques, as the following dialogue indicates. This exchange occurs when the agents discover that the men have been traded for ivory, and i t s a r t i f i c i a l l y neat structure mocks the hollow p r i n c i p l e s of the men: "We can't touch i t , of course," said Kayerts. "Of course not," assented C a r l i e r . "Slavery i s an awful thing," stammered out Kayerts i n an unsteady voice. " F r i g h t f u l — t h e suffering," grunted C a r l i e r with con-v i c t i o n . (105) The narrator's concentration on the external view of his characters makes a s i l e n t statement to the reader, for (as we see i n t h e i r sentimental reactions to the old novels and papers l e f t behind by t h e i r predecessor) there i s nothing of the inner l i f e to be found i n Kayerts and C a r l i e r . Conrad projects t h e i r blindness symbolically onto the landscape surrounding the ti n y c learing of the outpost: "The r i v e r , the forest, a l l the great land throbbing with l i f e , were l i k e a great emptiness . . . The r i v e r seemed to come from nowhere and flow nowhither. It flowed through a void" (92). S i m i l a r l y , the courtyard i s empty for days at a time i n the blinding sunlight, while "stretching 50 away" from the immobile scene are "immense for e s t s , hiding f a t e f u l complications of f a n t a s t i c l i f e " (93-94). When the pathetic struggle between Kayerts and C a r l i e r begins, however, the narration takes us, a l l at once, inside Kayerts's awakening i n t e l l i g e n c e . Just before the agent shoots C a r l i e r , he has "the sudden perception that the p o s i t i o n was without i s s u e — t h a t death and l i f e had i n a moment become equally d i f f i c u l t and t e r r i b l e " (112). The shooting i s at f i r s t simply "a loud explosion," and then "a roar of red f i r e , 33 thick smoke." The reader must think along with Kayerts as he t r i e s to assemble the pieces and create meaning. It i s as i f we were present at the b i r t h of a thinking, perceiving imagin-ation, one suddenly capable of interpreting signs. This inte r n a l narration culminates i n the aftermath of the shooting, when the " f a t e f u l complications" which have been hidden i n the forests appear before him as sentient ideas: "He sat by the corpse thinking; thinking very a c t i v e l y , thinking very new thoughts. He seemed to have broken loose from himself altogether" (114). Like Kurtz, who "kicked himself loose from the earth," Kayerts has been a "believer," and his "very new thoughts" are i r o n i c a l l y juxtaposed with the ideals he once shared with "the re s t of mankind—who are f o o l s . " Thus, although Kayerts only begins a journey of self-understanding he has t r a v e l l e d a s i g n i f i c a n t distance from his f i r s t mechanical response to danger, when he feared C a r l i e r ' s death by over-exposure because he was incapable of imagining his own. On the edge of madness 51 he barely retains his own i d e n t i t y , for "by a clever and timely e f f o r t of mind he saved himself just i n time from becoming C a r l i e r " (115). The return of "reason" i s celebrated by s e l f -congratulatory cunning, and the careful balancing of the phrase keeps us inside Kayerts 1s precarious state of mind. Like Winnie Verloc's descent into an inner world when she learns about Stevie's death i n The Secret Agent, Kayerts's self-examination becomes tranced and depersonalized. The agent, l i k e a corpse himself, s i t s unmoving beside the dead man through the night: He sat quiet as i f he had taken a dose of opium. The violence of the emotions he had passed through produced a f e e l i n g of exhausted serenity. He had plumbed i n one short afternoon the depths of horror and despair, and now found repose i n the conviction that l i f e had no more secrets for him: neither had death! (114) Kayerts's "new wisdom" does not evolve from his past experience and bears no resemblance to the pathos of Winnie's thoughts and fe e l i n g s , but the function of these scenes i s s i m i l a r . Like a b r i l l i a n t l y - l i t inner stage, they open out another dimension of the perspective at a c l i m a c t i c moment i n the action. In The Secret Agent Conrad uses the narrative s h i f t to involve us i n Winnie's personal tragedy. U n t i l she learns about Stevie's death, the secrets of Winnie Verloc's inner l i f e are merely intimated, either from the narrator's point of view or her mother's. In t h i s way, Conrad maintains his narrator's sardonic undercutting of the character, while keeping the reader intrigued. Later, confronted with the news about 52 Stevie, Winnie's t r a g i c awareness coincides with the reader's recognition of her l i f e as a rounded whole. The past impinges on the present i n the form of concrete images, beginning with Winnie's f i r s t memories of Stevie: With the rage and dismay of a betrayed woman, she reviewed the tenor of her l i f e i n visions concerned mostly with Stevie's d i f f i c u l t existence from i t s e a r l i e s t days. It was a l i f e of single purpose and of a noble unity of i n s p i r a t i o n , l i k e those rare l i v e s that have l e f t t h e i r mark on the thoughts and feelings of mankind. But the visions of Mrs. Verloc lacked n o b i l i t y and magnificence. She saw herself putting the boy to bed by the l i g h t of a single candle on the deserted top f l o o r of a "business house," dark under the roof and s c i n t i l l a t i n g exceedingly with l i g h t s and cut glass at the level of the street l i k e a f a i r y palace. (241-42) Continuing the pattern of l i g h t and dark imagery i n the l a s t sentence, Conrad suggests the qu a l i t y of his character's l i f e : the "dreary shadow of the Belgravian mansion" with i t s "grimy" kitchen, the suitor ("a fascinating companion for a voyage down the sparkling stream of l i f e " ) and the lodger, Mr. Verloc ("There was no sparkle of any kind on the lazy stream of h i s l i f e . I t flowed through secret places"). By revealing Winnie's inner thoughts at the very moment when she i s torn from the community of the c i v i l i z e d and f a m i l i a r , Conrad involves us i n her catastrophe. Kayerts's s e l f - a n a l y s i s i n "An Outpost of Progress" adumbrates t h i s episode, but i t does not engage us i n the same way because i t involves conventional abstractions ("Life had no more secrets for him") rather than concrete images from a past r i c h i n " f i d e l i t y of purpose." After "An Outpost of Progress" Conrad explored his 53 characters' thoughts and feelings through narrators such as the anonymous crew member of the Narcissus and Marlow. In "Heart of Darkness" and Lord Jim, for example, Marlow's subjective impressionism draws the reader into a process of inter p r e t a t i o n as complex and incomplete as actual experience. The i r o n i c mode, on the other hand, reveals the author's intention c l e a r l y instead of suggesting d i f f e r e n t possible meanings. Although Conrad turned away from the "new reactions, new suggestions, and even new rhythms" he had rehearsed i n t h i s early story, the sardonic narrative voice returns i n The Secret Agent. "An Outpost of Progress" anticipates t h i s masterpiece i n i t s control of the reader through stable irony, sudden s h i f t s i n perspective, and grotesque elements. Unlike "Heart of Darkness," with i t s suggestive ambiguities, the i r o n i c perspective of "An Outpost of Progress" i n v i t e s our moral judgement of an inhumane and m a t e r i a l i s t i c society. 54 Notes 1The most comprehensive comparisons of the two stories are D. C. R. A. Goonetilleke's "Conrad's African Tales: Ironies of Progress," Ceylon Journal of the Humanities, 2 (Jan. 1971), 64-97 and Cedric Watts's analysis i n Conrad's "Heart of  Darkness": A C r i t i c a l and Contextual Discussion (Milan: Mursia International, 1977), 33-36. 2 Examples of Conrad's revisions to "An Outpost of Progress" i n t h i s chapter derive from c o l l a t i o n s of the autograph manuscript (The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University) with the s e r i a l version published i n Cosmopolis, June-July 1897, and the English book text i n Dent's  Collected E d i t i o n . The typescript of the story has not survived. 3 Tales of Unrest, p. 61. Subsequent references are included i n the text. ^In his essay written i n 1904 as a preface to Ada Galsworthy's t r a n s l a t i o n ("Yvette" and Other S t o r i e s ) , Conrad praises Maupassant for his "scrupulous, prolonged and devoted attention to the aspects of the v i s i b l e world," but comments that "his talent i s not exercised for the praise and consolation of mankind." Although i n t h i s essay Conrad scorned "the mediocrity of an obvious and appealing tenderness," he implies that detachment can be too rigorous. "Guy de Maupassant," Notes on L i f e and Letters, pp. 25-31. As c r i t i c s have pointed out, Conrad was also influenced by Flaubert's Madame Bovary when he wrote "The Idiots," e s p e c i a l l y i n his description of the wedding at the Bacadou farm. ^Although Kayerts and C a r l i e r are Belgian, the narrator's references to "masquerading philanthropy," "the pioneers of trade and progress," and so on, apply to European colonizing nations i n general. 6The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (1907; London: J . M. Dent, 1947), p. 33. References i n the text are to t h i s e d i t i o n . 7"A Textual History of Conrad's 'An Outpost of Progress,'" i n Conradiana, 11 (1979), 143-63 provides a summary of the various stages of Conrad's textual revisions. 8 W r i t i n g to Conrad for the f i r s t time aft e r having read "An Outpost of Progress," R. B. Cunninghame Graham contrasted the two s t o r i e s and attacked Kipling's ideology. See C. T. 55 Watts's comments i n Joseph Conrad's Letters to R. B.  Cunninghame Graham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969) , p. 20. 9A Rhetoric of Irony (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1974). 1 0 I r o n y (London: Methuen, 1970), pp. 50-51. 1 1 Conrad's Short F i c t i o n , pp. 10-14. 12 Edward Garnett, ed., Letters from Joseph Conrad: 1895- 1924 (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merril1, 1928), p. 62. 1 3 Quoted by C. T. Watts i n Joseph Conrad's Letters to R.  B. Cunninghame Graham, p. 20. See Conrad's preface to The Secret Agent (Author's Note) and also Norman Sherry, ed., Conrad: The C r i t i c a l  Heritage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973), pp. 186-89, 194, 199-200, and 201-2. x^Conrad's "Heart of Darkness": A C r i t i c a l and Contextual  Discussion, p. 7. 1 ft In his l e t t e r to Fisher Unwin describing the story, Conrad wrote: " A l l the bitterness of those days, a l l my puzzled wonder as to the meaning of a l l I s a w — a l l my indignation at masquerading philanthropy have been with me again while I wrote." Jocelyn Baines, Joseph Conrad: A C r i t i c a l Biography (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1959), p. 177. 17" . . . i remember p e r f e c t l y well the i n f l e x i b l e and solemn resolve not to be led astray by my subject. I aimed at a scrupulous unity of tone, and i t seems to me that I have attained i t there." Conrad's remarks about "An Outpost of Progress" when i t appeared i n The Grand Magazine i n 1906 are reprinted i n an a r t i c l e by A. T. Tolley: "Conrad's 'Favorite' Story," Studies i n Short F i c t i o n , 3 (Spring 1966), 314-20. 1^In a l e t t e r to Cunninghame Graham about The Secret  Agent, Conrad wrote, " A l l these people are not revolutionaries — t h e y are Shams." See Joseph Conrad's Letters to R. B.  Cunninghame Graham, p. 170. 1 9 See G. Jean-Aubry, Joseph Conrad: L i f e and Letters, I, 201. Conrad uses the same f i g u r a t i v e expression (attributed o r i g i n a l l y to Maupassant) i n a l e t t e r to E. L. Sanderson, when he writes, "I t o l d the unspeakable i d i o t s that the thing halved would be as i n e f f e c t i v e as a dead scorpion." L i f e and Letters, I, 197. 56 2^In his a r t i c l e Hobson concludes that the l o s t typescript must have c l o s e l y resembled a pamphlet set from the f i r s t proofs of the story, and the pamphlet contains the r e v i s i o n . 2%or i n t e r e s t i n g confirmation of t h i s practice, see Conrad's l e t t e r to Garnett concerning The Rescue i n Letters  from Joseph Conrad, p. 57, and Emily K. Dalgarno, "Conrad, Pinker, and the Writing of The Secret Agent," Conradiana, 9 (1977), 47-58. In his l e t t e r to J . B. Pinker dated March 1912 (Berg C o l l e c t i o n , New York Public Li b r a r y ) , Conrad confirms (prematurely) Austin Harrison's acceptance of Chance for publication i n the English Review, saying "He's scared at there being no chapters! I promised to shorten i t , chapter i t , etc. etc.—making i t look ever so nice and so on." 2 2 Conrad may have been thinking of the several occasions i n The Time Machine (1895) when the Time Tra v e l l e r solemnly burns his matches to astonish the E l o i . If so, there i s an implied i r o n i c comparison between the resourceful, Wellsian Time Tra v e l l e r and the completely helpless C a r l i e r . 23 As Muecke points out, sarcasm conveys the intended meaning so unequivocally that the pretense of innocence, a basic feature of irony, disappears. 24 In his M.A. thesis Brian G. Marrs discusses the function of the grotesque i n The Secret Agent, and argues that the s t y l e i s predominantly grotesque. See "Joseph Conrad's The  Secret Agent and The Grotesque," University of B.C. 1974. 25 See e s p e c i a l l y : Garnett, Letters from Joseph Conrad, p. 58 ("I doubt the s i n c e r i t y of my own impressions"). 9 A See his l e t t e r s to Sanderson, Galsworthy, Douglas, and H. G. Wells i n Jean-Aubry, Joseph Conrad: L i f e and Letters, I I , 21-26. 2 7 See Alan Wilde, Introduction, Horizons of Assent (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 1-16 and Charles I. Glicksberg, The Ironic V i s i o n i n Modern  Lit e r a t u r e (The Hague: Martinus Mijhoff, 1969). 9 Pi ^Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), pp. 40-41. 2^In t h i s we can see the influence of Flaubert on Conrad's writing. See Flaubert's l e t t e r to Louise Colet i n Correspondance de Gustave Flaubert, I I , Deuxieme se r i e : 1847-1852 (Paris: Nationale, 1968), p. 469, i n which he envisions a s t y l e which would have " l a consistance du vers" and says: 57 "une bonne phrase de prose doit etre comme un bon vers, inchangeable, aussi rhythmee, aussi sonore." 30 Jacques Berthoud points out that Verloc's meeting with Vladimir anticipates Heat's interview with the Assistant Commissioner. Joseph Conrad: The Major Phase (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), p. 144. 3"*G-arnett, Letters from Joseph Conrad, p. 66. 3^Conrad i n the Nineteenth Century, p. 75. 3 3 T h i s passage was revised at both manuscript and typescript stages to make the sense impression more concrete. For example, "A tremendous explosion took place between them; red f i r e , smoke" (AMS31) became "A loud explosion took place between them; a roar of red f i r e , thick smoke." 58 Chapter II "THE LAGOON," "KARAIN," AND LORD JIM In contrast to "The Idiots" and "An Outpost of Progress," "The Lagoon" and "Karain" demonstrate that i n his e a r l i e s t short s t o r i e s Conrad was also experimenting with a narrative technique that would allow him to affirm c e r t a i n human values, or " i l l u s i o n s . " In t h i s chapter we s h a l l look at the Conradian version of the " t o l d - t a l e " device i n i t s embryonic form. Moreover, when we compare the narrative mode of these two stories with "An Outpost of Progress" we can see the d i f f e r e n t aspects of Conrad's thought r e f l e c t e d quite c l e a r l y i n his a r t . Whereas the i r o n i c s t y l e emphasizes the disjunction between the idea l world and r e a l i t y , the " t e l l e r and l i s t e n e r " mode explores the ways i n which human beings can introduce some kind of moral order into t h e i r l i v e s . F i r s t , l e t us consider the e a r l i e s t i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s technique, i n a story which Conrad wrote immediately a f t e r he had completed "An Outpost of i Progress." "The Lagoon" i s the f i r s t of Conrad's st o r i e s about betrayal and redemption. Arsat, the Malay protagonist, has s a c r i f i c e d his brother so that he and his lover, Diamelen, could escape t h e i r enemies and seek refuge. As he t e l l s the story of the betrayal to a v i s i t i n g white f r i e n d , he interrupts himself several times to mourn the woman, who i s close to death inside t h e i r hut. This evidence of human death and g r i e f 59 provides an i r o n i c context for a story about escape from the r e a l world to "a country where death i s forgotten—where death 2 i s unknown." Anticipating his juxtaposition of past and present i n order to dramatize the passing of i l l u s i o n s i n "Youth" and "Heart of Darkness," Conrad has Arsat discover the moral significance of his l i f e as he reconstructs i t for a l i s t e n e r i n the f i c t i o n a l present. At the end of his story the protagonist rejects the dream of escape and vows to redeem the betrayal with his actions: "I s h a l l not eat or sleep i n t h i s house, but I must f i r s t see my road. Now I can see nothing—see nothing! There i s no l i g h t and no peace i n the world; but there i s death — d e a t h for many. We are sons of the same mother—and I l e f t him i n the midst of enemies; but I am going back now. ". He drew a long breath and went on i n a dreamy tone: "In a l i t t l e while I s h a l l see clear enough to s t r i k e — t o s t r i k e . " (203-4) The anonymous white man who l i s t e n s involves the reader i n d i r e c t l y i n Arsat's tragedy, for his rel a t i o n s h i p to his f r i e n d changes during the course of the t a l e and his remarks, which are of an i n t e r p r e t i v e and gnomic nature, suggest a struggle to comprehend. In f a c t , Conrad's f i r s t experiment with t a l e - t e l l i n g as a r h e t o r i c a l device to develop the reader's sympathetic understanding i n "The Lagoon" looks forward to Marlow's complex oral performances i n "Heart of Darkness" and p a r t i c u l a r l y , Lord Jim. Despite i t s sketchiness, the relationship between t e l l e r and l i s t e n e r i n t h i s story deserves attention because i t demonstrates c l e a r l y , i n a simple form, some eff e c t s Conrad was 60 to achieve by giving up the omniscient narrative point of view of his e a r l i e s t works. As Albert Guerard and Ian Watt have shown, Conrad i s most e f f e c t i v e i n Almayer's F o l l y and An Outcast of the Islands when, through retrospective narration and techniques of i r o n i c i n d i r e c t i o n , he distances himself from 3 his characters' inner l i v e s . His attempts to render subject-ive experience sympathetically are unconvincing because the narrative mode reveals Conrad at his most self-conscious. In these f i r s t two novels inte r n a l analyses i n the omniscient voice tend to be melodramatic, and narrated monologues (in which words and tone are presumed to be the character's) are awkwardly integrated and overstated. The narrator i s more con-fident when he undercuts the protagonists and t h e i r i l l u s i o n s : . . . Almayer . . . would hear the deep and monotonous growl of the Master, and the roared-out interruptions of Lingard—two mastiffs f i g h t i n g over a marrowy bone. But to Almayer's ears i t sounded l i k e a quarrel of T i t a n s — a ba t t l e of the gods.^ As we have seen, the r h e t o r i c a l ironies of "An Outpost of Progress" distance us even more i n s i s t e n t l y from Kayerts and C a r l i e r , and i n v i t e our c r i t i c a l judgement. Only a few months before writing t h i s story and "The Lagoon" Conrad had abandoned a novel i n which he described the thoughts and emotions of Stephen, a young Russian a r t i s t who cannot reconcile his native tendences towards mysticism with the self-centered materialism he finds i n western Europe. As an attempt to represent aspects of the author's personal experience and temperament, "The S i s t e r s " displays even more 61 problems with the omniscient narrative mode than Almayer's  F o l l y and An Outcast of the Islands. In each of these works Conrad was seeking to render his characters' inner l i v e s sympathetically when appropriate, but neither in t e r n a l analysis (which was too authorial) nor the narrated monologue"* of a protagonist who shared some of the writer's f e e l i n g s , offered the r h e t o r i c a l stance he required i n order to explore without self-consciousness. In The Nigger of the Narcissus, for example, the narrator becomes a member of the crew, reporting thoughts and attitudes c o l l e c t i v e l y and i n d i v i d u a l l y from a dramatic point of view within the text. Although "The Lagoon" employs a framing narrator who i s p a r t i a l l y omniscient, the t e l l e r and l i s t e n e r r e l a t i o n s h i p between Arsat and the white man represents Conrad's f i r s t attempt to suggest subjective experience dramatically. Aban-doning the attempt to explore the feelings of his protagonist a u t h o r i a l l y , he creates the "raw material" for a narrator l i k e Marlow, who interprets the meaning of a character's experience while dramatizing i t s mysterious uniqueness. Thus, i n Lord Jim Marlow 1s limited perspective prevents us from f u l l y understand-ing Jim, but the impressionistic structuring of his narration involves us i n his changing attitude toward the other's moral point of view. In "The Lagoon" the functions of a narrator who interprets an individual's experience without p r i v i l e g e d information about his inner l i f e are divided between Arsat's f r i e n d , who l i s t e n s and responds, and the framing narrator, 62 who describes the scene and comments. Albert Guerard writes perceptively about the significance of the former: As yet the white man i s only a l i s t e n e r , who can interrupt the adventure narrative (and so lend i t suspense) by looking out at the landscape. And as yet he i s probably only a half-conscious projection of the author, and only i n c i d e n t a l l y a "brother" of the criminal. But no very long technical step would need to be taken to a f i r s t -person narrator d i r e c t l y responding a l i k e to a soulless universe and to a brother's marginal unintended crime. Although the white man i s "only" a l i s t e n e r , his ro l e i s essential because i t allows Conrad to dramatize his character's motivations rather than analyze them as he does i n previous works. Like Jim when he t r i e s to j u s t i f i y his desertion of the Patna to Marlow, Arsat chooses his words for an audience. Describing the abduction of Diamelen, Arsat appeals to his fr i e n d , implicating him i n d i r e c t l y as a "secret sharer" i n the action: "We are of a people who take what they w a n t — l i k e you  whites. There i s a time when a man should forget loyal t y and respect. Might and authority are given to r u l e r s , but to a l l men i s given love and strength and courage." (196; my i t a l i c s ) Even before we know the true nature of Arsat's crime, the claim that "there i s a time when a man should forget l o y a l t y " has an unmistakable ri n g of s e l f - j u s t i f i c a t i o n . From the beginning of the story, i n fa c t , when the Malay alludes to the adventures the two men have shared i n "the time of trouble and war," Arsat draws his l i s t e n e r into the events through t h e i r common memories of his brother, of S i Dendring, the Ruler, and Inchi Midah, his wife. "Tuan, do you remember the old days? Do you remember my brother?" he asks, as i f the other's affirmation 63 were necessary i n order to authenticate his own past and his present moral i d e n t i t y . In i t s emphasis on human s o l i d a r i t y and i t s suggestion of a w i l l to believe on the l i s t e n e r ' s part, the prologue to Arsat's t a l e i s an early version of the epigraph to Lord Jim ("It i s certa i n my conviction gains i n f i n i t e l y the moment another soul w i l l believe i n i t " ) : " . . . for where can we lay down the heaviness of our trouble but i n a friend's heart? A man must speak of war and of love. You, Tuan, know what war i s , and you have seen me i n time of danger seek death as other men seek l i f e ! A writing may be l o s t ; a l i e may be written; but what the eye has seen i s truth and remains i n the mind!" "I remember," said the white man, qu i e t l y . (194) Jim prefaces his narration with a similar appeal for a witness to his truth: "I don't want to excuse myself; but I would l i k e to e x p l a i n — I would l i k e somebody to understand—somebody—one person at least! You! Why not you?"^ Later, when Marlow responds by remembering Jim's story "at length, i n d e t a i l and audibly," he acts as a creative h i s t o r i a n , confirming the v a l i d i t y of past memories. The underlying r h e t o r i c a l purpose of Arsat's t a l e , then, i s his attempt to share the burden of g u i l t by making i t f u l l y comprehensible to others as well as himself. Conrad suggests the nature of t h i s understanding between t e l l e r and l i s t e n e r by dramatizing i t s dynamic process. Before Arsat begins his story, the f i r s t narrator describes the relationship between the two from the white man's point of view: 64 He like d the man who knew how to keep f a i t h i n council and how to f i g h t without fear by the side of his white f r i e n d . He like d him—not so much perhaps as a man li k e s h is favourite dog—but s t i l l he li k e d him well enough to help and ask no questions, to think sometimes vaguely and ha z i l y i n the midst of his own pursuits, about the lonely man and the long-haired woman with audacious face and triumphant eyes, who l i v e d together hidden by the forests — a l o n e and feared. (191-92) The mildly sardonic tone of the comparison between the useful Malay and a man's f a i t h f u l dog suggests that the narrator's conception of friendship i s not as limited by r a c i a l bias as the white man's. At the end of the story, the l i s t e n e r (and i n d i r e c t l y , the reader) seems to see that his "own pursuits" are not unconnected to Arsat's trouble. Thus, the Malay's confession of betrayal and his statement, "Tuan, I loved my brother," evokes a thoughful response: "We a l l love our brothers." The white man's o f f e r of assistance to Arsat i s a more e x p l i c i t i n d i c a t i o n that the l i s t e n e r ' s sympathetic imagination has been affected by the story. Conrad juxtaposes t h i s o f f e r ("If you want to come with me, I w i l l wait a l l the morning") with nature's indifference to human suffering: "In the merci-less sunshine the whisper of unconscious l i f e grew louder, speaking i n an incomprehensible voice round the dumb darkness of that human sorrow" (203). Moreover, Conrad uses the white man's gesture of s o l i d a r i t y to c l a r i f y Arsat's moral position; that i s , i t gives the protagonist a choice between escape and f i d e l i t y to a personal i d e a l of conduct. In t h i s respect also, "The Lagoon" anticipates Lord Jim. Jim's refusal to "clear 65 out" when urged by Marlow not to submit to c e r t a i n punishment i n the courtroom convinces the older man of his moral superior-i t y to the German captain of the Patna and his second engineer. It also i n i t i a t e s a sequence of w i l l e d actions (ending when Jim goes to his death) that replaces the e a r l i e r pattern of desertion and evasion. The Malay's decision to return to the place of his brother's death ("We are sons of the same mother— and I l e f t him i n the midst of enemies; but I am going back now") marks a si m i l a r assertion of self-respect through action.* Thus, the rela t i o n s h i p between t e l l e r and l i s t e n e r i s used to emphasize Arsat's determination to uphold an ideal of personal honour, even though for him "there i s no l i g h t and no peace" i n the world. Writing to Edward Garnett about "The Lagoon," Conrad des-cribed the narrative mode rather than the theme or pl o t : "I've sent a short thing to the C o r n h i l l . A malay [sic] t e l l s a 9 story to a white man who i s spending the night at his hut." Two features of t h i s mode distinguish "The Lagoon" from Conrad's previous work and anticipate the Marlow s t o r i e s , Lord  Jim i n p a r t i c u l a r . F i r s t , Conrad can express sympathy with the protagonist i n d i r e c t l y , by emphasizing the common ground between the narrator and l i s t e n e r . For t h i s reason, the bond between Arsat and the white man i s stressed at the beginning of the story: "He l i k e d the man who knew how to keep f a i t h i n council and how to f i g h t without fear by the side of his white f r i e n d " (191). In Lord Jim Marlow i s f i r s t attracted to Jim because his bearing reminds him of the generations of "young So-and-So's" who have kept f a i t h with the maritime code of service. Jim i s "one of us." In fa c t , i n "The Lagoon" we can see the genesis of the technique by which Conrad explores Marlow's divided l o y a l t i e s i n the novel. Secondly, by dramatizing a character's past experience as a t a l e t o l d to an audience, Conrad can reveal purposes, motiva-tions, and resolutions immediately, as they form i n the speaker's mind. In "The Lagoon," of course, the main focus i s on the adventure story as a sequence of events, but we are aware of the r h e t o r i c a l framework each time Arsat speaks d i r e c t l y to the white man, or s h i f t s (rather too obviously) from an "even, low voice" to an "intense whisper," or evokes one of the l i s t e n e r ' s r e p l i e s . In fa c t , we r e l y on t h i s frame-work to interpret Arsat's intentions i n t e l l i n g the ta l e because we are not given his thoughts or feelings d i r e c t l y by the narrator. Moving from omniscient analysis to a mode that i n v i t e s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n by the reader allowed Conrad to present character i n Lord Jim as i t ac t u a l l y is—opaque, ambiguous, and subject to the lim i t a t i o n s of each observer's understanding. V i r g i n i a Woolf's p l a y f u l use of the calendar i n her remark that " i n or about December, 1910, human character changed" reminds us that Conrad's early experiments anticipate the impressionist search for techniques to involve the reader i n t h i s concept of human nature. Incidentally, one of the f i r s t reviews of Tales 67 of Unrest when i t was published i n 1898 referred to Conrad as 10 an "impressionist r e a l i s t . " As I have indicated, the implications of Arsat's tragedy are explored i n d i r e c t l y through the anonymous white man and the narrator of the story. The l a t t e r describes the setting and offers vaguely philosophical comments. In the f i r s t section of "The Lagoon" the scenic descriptions create an impression of immobility that f i t s the mood of retrospection and the theme of arrested action. Conrad's r h e t o r i c , however, i s so i n s i s t e n t that i t becomes " s e l f - g e n e r a t i n g " — t o borrow Barthes' term for language that c a l l s attention to i t s e l f over and above what i t suggests or refers to. To convey the immobility of a land "from which the very memory of motion had forever departed," Conrad repeats grammatical c o n s t r u c t i o n s — e s p e c i a l l y preposi-i t i o n a l phrases—and i n d i v i d u a l words i n almost every sentence. S i m i l a r l y , the i d i o s y n c r a t i c post-positioning of adjectives, which emphasizes the impression of arrested motion, i s so obtrusive that i t tends to distance us from the scene. The following passage occurs at the beginning of the description: The forests, sombre and d u l l , stood motionless and s i l e n t on each side of the broad stream. At the foot of big, towering trees, trunkless nipa palms rose from the mud of the bank, i n bunches of leaves enormous and heavy, that hung u n s t i r r i n g over the brown swirl of eddies. In the s t i l l n e s s of the a i r every tree, every leaf, every bough, every t e n d r i l of creeper and every petal of minute blossoms seemed to have been bewitched into an immobility perfect and f i n a l . At the end of the description, we have t h i s sentence: "Darkness oozed out from between the trees, through the tangled maze of 68 leaves; the darkness mysterious and i n v i n c i b l e ; the darkness scented and poisonous of impenetrable forests" (189). The narrator's use of symbolic imagery to suggest Arsat's dilemma i s more successful. The disappearance of the white man's boat into the stagnant lagoon " l i k e some slim and amphi-bious creature leaving the water for i t s l a i r i n the forests" resembles the lovers' escape from the human community to a secret place that death cannot f i n d . Moreover, the description of the lagoon i t s e l f suggests a sort of d e a t h - i n - l i f e for Arsat, because he i s alienated from the world of action. Diamelen's death, symbolized by the white eagle that soars into 12 the sky "as i f i t had l e f t the earth forever," releases Arsat's "other h a l f , " anticipated by the dead brother's remark that "there i s half a man i n you now—the other half i s i n that woman" (198). In t h i s way, the setting of "The Lagoon" contributes to thematic coherence as well as surface realism. 13 Although Conrad raided the memoirs of S i r James Brooke and used his knowledge of l o c a l names, terms, and topographical d e t a i l s to give the story l o c a l colour and s p e c i f i c i t y , his deeper meaning i s expressed through these symbolic correspond-ences . The narrator's e x p l i c i t commentary i s contained i n the thematically i n t e r e s t i n g passage that i s p a r t l y an extension of the white man's thoughts: The fear and fa s c i n a t i o n , the i n s p i r a t i o n and the wonder of death—of death near, unavoidable, and unseen, soothed the unrest of his race and s t i r r e d the most i n d i s t i n c t , the most intimate of his thoughts. The ever-ready 69 suspicion of e v i l , the gnawing suspicion that lurks i n our hearts, flowed out into the s t i l l n e s s round h i m — i n t o the s t i l l n e s s profound and dumb, and made i t appear untrust-worthy and infamous, l i k e the p l a c i d and impenetrable mask of an u n j u s t i f i a b l e violence. In that f l e e t i n g and power-f u l disturbance of his being the earth enfolded i n the s t a r l i g h t peace became a shadowy country of inhuman s t r i f e , a b a t t l e - f i e l d of phantoms t e r r i b l e and charming, august or ignoble, struggling ardently for the possession of our helpless hearts. (193-94) The r e p e t i t i o n s , antitheses and p a r a l l e l s overstress the idea that "there i s nothing" (as the white man l a t e r assures Arsat) i n the world except the "phantoms" men themselves create. In Lord Jim Marlow develops s i m i l a r thoughts about the i l l u s o r y q u a l i t y of existence, and relates them to his attempts to understand Jim. In i t s e f f o r t to suggest the sign i f i c a n c e of an individual's conduct i n d i r e c t l y and te n t a t i v e l y , "The Lagoon" anticipates the novel. Indeed, i f the above commentary were voiced by the white man and linked to Arsat's p l i g h t , we would have a f i r s t - p e r s o n narrator with the potential for complex inte r p r e t a t i o n . As i t i s , "The Lagoon" i s inconclusive enough to convince some readers, though not others, that despite Arsat's decision to return he cannot pay for his crime against his brother with heroic action, and remains, instead, immobilized i n a world of his own i l l u s i o n s . The c r i t i c a l discussion of t h i s point, i n fa c t , resembles a much s i m p l i f i e d version of the ongoing debate over the ending of Lord Jim. Looking at the narrative structure of the short story, we can see that some ambiguity i s inherent i n i t s form. Thus, the central t a l e of Diamelen's 70 abduction i s a romantic adventure story celebrating the c h i v a l r i c ideals of l o y a l t y and courage. Arsat's brother, for instance, performs prodigious feats to prove his f i d e l i t y to the hero, and he longs to issue a r i t i u a l challenge to his enemies. To t h i s t a l e , however, Conrad opposes in t e r p r e t i v e comments by the white l i s t e n e r and the framing narrator that create a wider universal context i n which the c h i v a l r i c code i s questioned. To Arsat's expression of g r i e f for Diamelen, "I can see nothing," the white man r e p l i e s : "There i s nothing." S i m i l a r l y , the narrator's conclusion af t e r the Malay announces his intention to issue his brother's challenge for him and s t r i k e the r e t a l i a t o r y blow seems equally pessimistic: "Arsat had not moved. He stood lonely i n the searching sunshine; and he looked beyond the great l i g h t of a cloudless day into the darkness of a world of i l l u s i o n s . " In other words, Conrad appears to set up a dichotomy between romantic action and i r o n i c r e f l e c t i o n . Revisions to the l a s t sentence from the s e r i a l to the book version, however, make t h i s opposition somewhat less forbidding than i n the o r i g i n a l . ^ In The C o r n h i l l the conclusion reads: "In the searching clearness of crude sunshine he was s t i l l standing before the house, he was s t i l l looking through the great l i g h t of a cloudless day into the hopeless darkness of the world." By changing the verb forms from continuous past to the simple past, and eliminating the repeated " s t i l l , " Conrad makes Arsat seem less l i k e l y to remain motionless for longer than the " l i t t l e while" he plans to mourn Diamelen. Moreover, a l t e r i n g "the hopeless darkness of the world" to "the darkness of a world of i l l u s i o n s " introduces the p o s s i b i l i t y of ideals that can function i n the world as " i l l u s i o n s " instead of d i s i n -tegrating into n i h i l i s t i c hopelessness. That i s , the narrator implies that Arsat's affirmation of s o l i d a r i t y with his brother ("In a l i t t l e while I s h a l l see clear enough to strike") i s as much an i l l u s i o n as his dream of escaping death, but i t allows him to act purposefully. Looking back across a widening space of water, the white man seems to see his friend's figure, sun-l i t against the darkness, as symbolic i n i t s loneliness and steadfastness. The imagery anticipates Marlow's l a s t view of Jim as "only a speck, a tiny white speck, that seemed to catch a l l the l i g h t l e f t i n a darkening world." Indeed, t h i s f i n a l suggestion of Arsat's unwavering idealism i s o l a t e d i n a chaotic, "dumb" natural world and viewed by a r e f l e c t i v e , s c e p t i c a l i n t e l l i g e n c e i s a fragmentary sketch for the central issue of personal honour i n Lord Jim. With the exception of Albert Guerard, c r i t i c s have shown l i t t l e i n t e r e s t i n t h i s story as a serious attempt, despite i t s shortcomings, to develop important formal and thematic con-16 cerns. David Thorburn, for example, claims that i n both "The Lagoon" and "Karain" Conrad " i s at one with the conventional writers of exotic adventure s t o r i e s , and the clearest evidence of t h i s i s his use of the exotic setting for mere novelty and his reliance on the shallowest clic h e s of the adventure partnership." 1 I have t r i e d to show that i n the narrative mode of "The Lagoon" Conrad was experimenting with an i n t e r -pretive framework for the "adventure story," and that the e s s e n t i a l aspect of t h i s framework i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the central figure and the l i s t e n e r , who becomes involved with the character through the story. In "Karain," i n f a c t , the l i s t e n e r evolves into a t e l l e r himself, looking forward more obviously to Marlow as the narrator of Lord Jim. The formal proportions of "The Lagoon" i l l u s t r a t e the writer's preoccupa-t i o n with t h i s feature, for well over half of the 5,700 words are devoted to the framing commentary rather than to Arsat's narration. And yet, Conrad wrote the piece for The C o r n h i l l , which had s o l i c i t e d on June 3, 1896 a short story of from 6,000 to 8,0 00 words, and which favoured adventure narratives that submerged the reader as quickly as possible i n the a c t i o n . ^ The issue of the magazine i n which "The Lagoon" appeared (January, 1897) contains an unintentionally amusing example of t h i s type. The narrator of "Never the Lotus Closes," by E. and H. Heron, introduces the main sequence of events abruptly: "I concluded he had a t a l e to t e l l , and I f e l t i t was my duty to make him t e l l i t . " By establishing a r h e t o r i c a l context for the action which delays the story, builds suspense, and involves us i n moral considerations such as the white man's meditation on evil'while he waits for Arsat to reappear, Conrad was transforming the " t o l d - t a l e " convention of the standard nineteenth century adventure story. Thus, i n "Heart of 73 "Darkness" Marlow postpones t e l l i n g his l i s t e n e r s about his meeting with Kurtz by drawing them into his r e f l e c t i o n s on the central moral issues of the story. The promised "adventures," therefore—Marlow 1s struggle for Kurtz's soul i n the wilderness and his meeting with the Intended—satisfy our expectations as f u l l y r e a l i z e d , dramatic actions because they have been anticipated and p a r t i a l l y investigated by the digressions, but our focus continues to be the moment-by-moment associations of Marlow's exploring mind. In Lord Jim, because of the more obvious p a r a l l e l between the white man who shares Arsat's, or Karain's, act of betrayal and Marlow, who shares Jim's, we can see the development from short story to the l a t e r narrative strategy more c l e a r l y . Our c u r i o s i t y about Jim's version of the Patna a f f a i r i s aroused by the disruption i n chronological order between chapters three and four, when the omniscient narrator leaps d i r e c t l y from the c o l l i s i o n to the t r i a l and Jim's doubt that he can ever express "the true horror" of a sequence of events unknown to us. When Marlow assumes the role of investigator, he increases both our suspense and our involvement i n the deciphering of meaning by r e l a t i n g episodes connected to the case such as the chief engineer's admission to the hospital and B r i e r l y ' s suicide, which comment i n d i r e c t l y on Jim's t a l e at 1 Q the same time as they delay i t . Of course, the form of any story i s largely determined by the convention Marlow dramatizes here; as Roy Pascal says, "At a l l stages, a story must awaken 74 expectations, hold them i n suspense, cheat them temporarily, 20 before i t leads to some sa t i s f a c t o r y conclusion." In Conrad's f i c t i o n , withholding the protagonist's story—Karain's or Jim's—increases the reader's involvement w i t i h the narrator who l i s t e n s and i n t e r p r e t s . Twenty-seven thousand words, one-f i f t h of the text of Lord Jim, must be read before Jim begins his story and, as Ian Watt points out, Marlow's digressions prepare us to take "a more sympathetic and understanding view of Jim's predicament" as well as to interpret the outward signs of speech and gesture as symbols of inner meaning (Conrad i n the Nineteenth Century, pp. 281-85). We approach the central narrative at the Malabar Hotel, therefore, with the expectation of discovering the t r u t h — t h e story Jim could not t e l l i n court—and we have learned to r e l y on an i n t e r p r e t i v e frame-work, a narrator whose observations and emotions mediate between Jim's view of the actual happening and our moral evaluation of his stand. The story of the desertion of the Patna, the longest block of narrative i n Lord Jim except for the Patusan sections, i s the dramatic action most ess e n t i a l to the meaning of the novel as a whole. Jacques Berthoud shows how Jim's actions i n Patusan systematically re-enact and reverse the events compri-sing the Patna episode. Even Jim's "magnificent f i d e l i t y to the natives of Patusan" i s "the converse of his betrayal of the pilgrims of the Patna" (Joseph Conrad: The Major Phase, p. 91). Conrad immerses the reader i n Jim's version of the event, and 75 Marlow's account gains i t s effectiveness because his narrative voice modulates successfully between int e r p r e t i v e commentary i n the f i c t i v e present and a dramatic enactment of the past episode. A passage from Jim's h o r r i f i e d v i s i o n of the sinking ship i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s control and f l e x i b i l i t y : "He saw here and there a head l i f t e d o f f a mat, a vague form uprise i n s i t t i n g posture, l i s t e n s l e e p i l y for a moment, sink down again into the billowy confusion of boxes, steam-winches, v e n t i l a t o r s . He was aware a l l these people did not know enough to take i n t e l l i g e n t notice of that strange noise. The ship of iron, the men with white faces, a l l the sights, a l l the sounds, everything on board to that ignorant and pious multitude was strange a l i k e , and as trustworthy as i t would for ever remain incomprehensible. It occurred to him that the fac t was fortunate. The idea of i t was simply t e r r i b l e . "You must remember he believed, as any other man would have done i n his place, that the ship would go down at any moment; the bulging, rust-eaten plates that kept back the ocean, f a t a l l y must give way, a l l at once l i k e an under-mined dam, and l e t i n a sudden and overwhelming flood. He stood s t i l l looking at these recumbent bodies, a doomed man aware of his fate, surveying the s i l e n t company of the dead. They were dead! Nothing could save them! There were boats enough for half of them perhaps, but there was no time. No time! No time! It did not seem worth while to open his l i p s , to s t i r hand or foot. Before he could shout three words, or make three steps, he would be floundering i n a sea whitened awfully by the desperate struggles of human beings, clamorous with the dist r e s s of cr i e s f or help. There was no help. He imagined what would happen per f e c t l y ; he went through i t a l l motionless by the hatchway with the lamp i n his hand—he went through i t to the very l a s t harrowing d e t a i l . I think he went through i t again while he was t e l l i n g me these things he he could not t e l l the court." (85-86) Through Marlow, we share Jim's experience of the scene. Just before t h i s passage, the sound of steam exhaling from the engines i s f i n e l y expressed i n a simile that conveys Jim's con-v i c t i o n of imminent doom—a mighty note i s struck i n the a i r : "Its deep rumble made the whole night vibrate l i k e a bass 76 s t r i n g . The ship trembled to i t . " His v i s u a l impressions are r e s t r i c t e d to fragmentary glimpses of i n d i v i d u a l sleepers as they separate themselves from the mass, and the r i s i n g and f a l l i n g movement of l i v e , s t i r r i n g bodies i s suggested by the verbs of action, " l i f t e d , " "uprise," "sink down," and the verbal adjective, "billowy." Marlow also shows us Jim's hyper-active imagination as he recreates the scene through the eyes of the pilgrims, to whom a l l objects and sounds are strange: "the ship of i r o n , the men with white faces, a l l the sights, a l l the sounds, everything on board. . . . " This insight gives the young man the " t e r r i b l e , " paralyzing apprehension of the pilgrims' complete t r u s t i n the doomed world on board the Patna. In his simultaneous inte r p r e t i v e commentary, Marlow involves his l i s t e n e r s i n Jim's p l i g h t with the sentence begin-ning "You must remember. . . . " They are urged to consider the p a r t i c u l a r circumstances of Jim's case and put themselves i n his place. A l i t t l e l a t e r Conrad repeats t h i s strategy when Marlow challenges his l i s t e n e r s to imagine t h e i r own death by drowning: "Nothing i n the world moved before his eyes, and he could depict to himself without hindrance the sudden swing upwards of the dark sky-line, the sudden t i l t up of the vast p l a i n of the sea, the swift s t i l l r i s e , the brutal f l i n g , the grasp of the abyss, the struggle without hope, the s t a r l i g h t c l o s i n g over his head for ever l i k e the vault of a tomb—the re v o l t of his young l i f e — t h e black end. He could! By Jove! who couldn't? And you must remember he was a f i n i s h e d a r t i s t i n that peculiar way, he was a g i f t e d poor d e v i l with the f a c u l t y of swift and f o r e s t a l l i n g v i s i o n . " (96; my i t a l i c s ) 77 In the e a r l i e r passage we are considering, Marlow modulates from his summary of Jim's feelings ("he believed . . . that the ship would go down at any moment"; he was "a doomed man aware of his fate") to narrated monologue, i n which Jim's actual thoughts are reported. Expressive features such as the exclamations and the emphatic "they were" convey the s i n c e r i t y and horror of the protagonist's conviction, as well as the urgency of the s i t u a t i o n . Marlow's sympathetic s e l f -i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the younger man extends to the concrete description of the sea "whitened awfully" by bodies, which reproduces Jim's mental v i s i o n i n the narrator's language. Clearly, Jim i s not the only one to "go through i t a l l again" i n the t e l l i n g ; Conrad implies a repeated re-enactment of the experience on an imaginative l e v e l from Marlow to l i s t e n e r and reader. The intimacy implied by Marlow's f a i t h f u l , unironic re-21 enactment of Jim's perceptions, thoughts, and feelings becomes possible when the l i s t e n e r remembers and recreates what he has heard. Arsat and Karain t e l l t h e i r s t o r i e s i n d i r e c t discourse; t h e i r l i s t e n e r s can respond but they do not share, i n as subtle a manner, "the true horror" of the event. To the extent that Marlow does, he proves i n d i r e c t l y , despite his claims to be unimaginative, his readiness to be imaginatively "swayed" by Jim. At the same time, Conrad i n s i s t s that no l i s t e n e r , no matter how sensitive or s k i l l e d , can f u l l y under-stand or reproduce the e f f e c t of a c r i t i c a l experience on the 78 character d i r e c t l y involved. Marlow admits that Jim remains incomprehensible i n "the mystery of his attitude." However, the simultaneity of times and places created by t h i s narrative mode allows considerable freedom of int e r p r e t a t i o n . While he r e t e l l s the Patna episode, Marlow also recreates the scene at the Malabar Hotel, giving us Jim's d i r e c t discourse, f a c i a l expressions, and physical movements; the chatter of the hotel guests; and his own responses, spoken and unspoken. We see that, l i k e Arsat, Jim t r i e s to j u s t i f y his actions by drawing the l i s t e n e r into his story, imputing hypothetical actions and motives to him and appealing to his s p e c i a l i z e d knowledge of l i f e at sea i n order to emphasize the desperateness of his si t u a t i o n . Conrad uses the narrator's commentary to emphasize th i s point. Marlow states that Jim required "an a l l y , a helper, an accomplice," and he stresses the d i f f i c u l t y of remaining objective: "I f e l t the r i s k I ran of being circumvented, blinded, decoyed, b u l l i e d , perhaps, into taking a d e f i n i t e part i n a dispute impossible of decision i f one had to be f a i r to a l l the phantoms i n possession—to the reputable that had i t s claims and to the disreputable that had i t s exigencies." (93) Marlow's problem i s compounded by his own indecision. Accord-ingly, his responses during Jim's narration range from " p i t i l e s s , " "merciless," and "vicious" to at least one expression of unreserved commitment: "I was moved to make a solemn declaration of my readiness to believe i m p l i c i t l y anything he thought f i t to t e l l me" (127). Marlow's i n t e r p r e t i v e commentary to his l i s t e n e r s i s s i m i l a r l y ambi-valent. On the one hand, he i s acutely aware that Jim has betrayed a fix e d code of conduct, which, because i t has no "sovereign power," must be obeyed i n order to preserve "the fellowship of the c r a f t . " He t e l l s h is l i s t e n e r s repeatedly that Jim's mistake i s i r r e t r i e v a b l e : "He had indeed jumped into an everlasting deep hole," he says. "He had tumbled from a height he could never scale again" (112). At the end of Jim's confession, Marlow passes judgement: "He was g u i l t y — a s I had t o l d myself repeatedly, g u i l t y and done f o r " (152). On the other hand, the narrator makes a confession of his own that reveals his divided l o y a l t i e s . "What wonder that when some heavy prod gets home the bond i s found to be close; that besides the fellowship of the c r a f t there i s f e l t the strength of a wider f e e l i n g — t h e f e e l i n g that binds a man to a c h i l d " (129). Thus, Conrad controls our response to Jim's "breach of f a i t h with the community of mankind" by stressing the l i s t e n e r -narrator's contradictory reactions: Marlow's attempts to uphold "the s o l i d a r i t y of the c r a f t " c o n f l i c t with his expressions of personal l o y a l t y to the i n d i v i d u a l . The interpretation of the protagonist's story by an engaged narrator, therefore, i n t e n s i f i e s the ambiguity hinted at i n "The Lagoon" and anticipated, as we s h a l l see, by "Karain: A Memory." At the same time, Conrad uses the t o l d - t a l e device i n Lord  Jim to dramatize the process of understanding by the l i s t e n e r , i n a development of the technique he had f i r s t tested i n "The 80 Lagoon." Marlow learns during the course of Jim's story that the i l l u s i o n s of his own youth are s t i l l a l i v e i n t h i s "very young brother"; i n f a c t , he r e a l i z e s that t h i s i s the source of Jim's appeal. Moreover, the presence of an audience allows Marlow to stress the u n i v e r s a l i t y of Jim's idealism, and to plead for the reader's understanding with r h e t o r i c a l emphasis (anaphora) that r e c a l l s the sty l e of "Youth": "Hadn't we a l l commenced," he says, "with the same desire, ended with the same knowledge, ca r r i e d the memory of the same cherished glamour through the sordid days of imprecation?" Even his e x p l i c i t condemnation of Jim's conduct i s also a paradoxical expression of the bond shared by two romantics: "I was aggrieved against him, as though he had cheated me—me!—of a splendid opportunity to keep up the i l l u s i o n of my beginnings, as though he had robbed our common l i f e of the l a s t spark of i t s glamour" (131). Like the white man when Arsat's story i s ended, Marlow searches for a p r a c t i c a l way to help Jim, although his s c e p t i -cism makes him t r a g i c a l l y aware that "this was one of those cases which no solemn deception can p a l l i a t e , which no man can help." For another version of the l i s t e n e r who becomes an " a l l y " and a "helper" while remaining a sceptic, however, we should consider the narrator of "Karain" as an important l i n k between "The Lagoon" and Lord Jim. In "Karain: A Memory" Conrad returns to the study of an ind i v i d u a l who seeks personal redemption for a "breach of f a i t h with the human community." Completed two months afte r 81 The Nigger of the Narcissus, which celebrates the s o l i d a r i t y of a ship's crew, t h i s story takes for i t s hero an extraordinary leader, a figure who "sum[s] up his race, his country, the elemental force of ardent l i f e , or t r o p i c a l nature," an e x i l e who walks through a landscape peopled with human admirers but can t e l l no one of his secret. The resemblance to Jim i n Patusan i s obvious, but also important i s the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n Conrad makes between the land i t s e l f and his protagonist: "He had i t s luxuriant strength, i t s fascination; and, l i k e i t , he carried the seed of p e r i l within." As a representative of the East and i t s passionate, barbaric mysticism, Karain i s the polar opposite of Western materialism and the commercial attitudes revealed by motifs i n the story such as the Jubilee sixpence and the bankers who finance the schooner's trading expeditions. Conrad had struggled unsuccessfully with t h i s c o n f l i c t i n "The S i s t e r s , " the narration from Stephen's point of view tending toward melodramatic expressions of romantic s e n s i b i l i t y and crudely overt c r i t i c i s m of the r a t i o n a l , European world view. The i n d i r e c t narrative perspective of the short story, however, creates a distance that permits a play-f u l l y i r o n i c treatment of the relationship between imaginative f e e l i n g and scepticism. There are moments of gaiety i n "Karain," and sympathy for the hero i s mixed with amusement. The narrator who i s p a r t i a l l y responsible for t h i s tone i s the immediate forerunner of Marlow, although he i s considerably more prosaic, less subjective, and less digressive than the 82 narrator of "Youth." As i n the stories of Edgar A l l a n Poe and Hoffman, the c r e d i b i l i t y of an eye-witness lends some authority 22 to the incomprehensible and extraordinary. In "Karain," for example, the narrator t e s t i f i e s to the protagonist's superhuman ba t t l e with the ghost by describing his physical aspect: "Of course i t had been a long swim off to the schooner; but his face showed another kind of fatigue, the tormented weariness, the anger and the fear of a struggle against a thought, an i d e a — a g a i n s t something that cannot be grappled, that never r e s t s — a shadow, a nothing, unconquerable- and immortal, that preys upon l i f e " (23). More important, however, i s his function as a l i s t e n e r who remembers and interprets the experience of his "very good f r i e n d . " In t h i s respect, he can provide a r i c h e r context for the central story of betrayal than the combination of l i s t e n e r and framing narrator i n "The Lagoon." In "Karain" the reader i s led, by the associations i n the mind of the reminiscing narrator, from a contemporary newspaper report about "various native r i s i n g s i n the Eastern Archipelago" to the f i r s t v i s i t of the white men to Karain's kingdom. Although the subsequent narration follows a broadly chronological pattern, Conrad achieves an impressionistic e f f e c t by his use of i t e r a t i v e verb 23 forms which define the actions as habitual. The frequency of these forms ("Before sunset he would take leave with ceremony," for instance) and the use of other grammatical features such as modifiers that denote r e p e t i t i o n ("Every v i s i t 83 began with that inquiry," for example) diminish the reader's sense of clock time and substitute a timeless pattern of events and gestures. The narrator's remembering mind outlines the pattern, and the reader forms his impression of Karain by connecting the images. The description of the t r i b a l leader dispensing j u s t i c e i n his council h a l l "surrounded by the gravity of armed chie f s , while two long rows of old headmen dressed i n cotton s t u f f s squatted on t h e i r heels" i s juxtaposed, with mild irony, to the Karain who holds his "audience" i n the t i n y ship's cuddy with a few renegade traders, and who orders fresh glasses of lemonade so that he can watch each one " f i z z . " S i m i l a r l y , the pensive king l i f t i n g a hand to silence the bard who honours him at a r i t u a l feast i s contrasted with the barbaric native who indulges i n sudden outbursts of fury and "rave[s] l i k e one inspired." These contrasts help to suggest the absurd mixture of splendidly d i g n i f i e d show, c h i l d i s h naivete and violence that characterizes both Karain and his land, the Malayan Archipelago. Moreover, l i n k i n g together the separate pictures and memories i s a metaphor that relates the Western perception of Karain to the central theme of the story. The narrator creates a simple analogy between Karain's rule over his land and people and an actor's mastery of his stage and audience: He was treated with a solemn respect accorded i n the irreverent West only to the monarchs of the stage, and he accepted the profound homage with a sustained dignity seen nowhere else but behind the f o o t l i g h t s and i n the con-densed falseness of some grossly t r a g i c s i t u a t i o n . (6-7) 84 A dichotomy between East and West emerges i n the narrator's remark that the s c e p t i c a l West reveres only "monarchs of the stage," a comment which should be compared with Karain's "chivalrous respect" for the B r i t i s h Queen. To Western minds, therefore, the c h i e f t a i n ' s exceptional hold over the imagin-ations of his followers and onlookers can be explained most e f f e c t i v e l y by the t h e a t r i c a l metaphor. In f a c t , i n "Karain" we have the f i r s t example of Conrad's use of a dramatized narrator as a mediator between contrasting views of the world. As we s h a l l see i n subsequent chapters of t h i s study, mediation becomes increasingly more complex as Conrad develops the role of the dramatized narrator. By his gestures and stage presence, Karain i s able to persuade other men that his domain i s i n f i n i t e : From the deck of our schooner, anchored i n the middle of the bay, he indicated by a t h e a t r i c a l sweep of his arm along the jagged outline of the h i l l s the whole of his domain; and the ample movement seemed to drive back i t s l i m i t s , augmenting i t suddenly into something so immense and vague that for a moment i t appeared to be bounded only by the sky . . . Karain swept his hand over i t . " A l l mine!" He struck the deck with his long s t a f f ; the gold head flashed l i k e a f a l l i n g star . . . (4-5) Describing the Malayan landscape, the narrator stresses the impression i t gives of being an imaginary world created by Karain's "accomplished acting": In many successive v i s i t s we came to know his stage w e l l — the purple semi-circle of h i l l s , the slim trees leaning over houses, the yellow sands, the streaming green of ravines. A l l that had the crude and blended colouring, the appropriateness almost excessive, the suspicious immobility of a painted scene; and i t enclosed so pe r f e c t l y the accomplished acting of his amazing pretences 85 that the rest of the world seemed shut out forever from the gorgeous spectacle. There could be nothing outside. It was as i f the earth had gone on spinning, and had l e f t that crumb of i t s surface alone i n space. (7) As an audience to Karain's performance, the s c e p t i c a l narrator t e s t i f i e s to i t s almost complete triumph over r e a l i t y : "As to Karain, nothing could happen to him unless what happens to a l l — f a i l u r e and death; but his qu a l i t y was to appear clothed i n the i l l u s i o n of unavoidable success" (7). In a l l of these t h e a t r i c a l images, the narrator balances an appreciation of the power of the i l l u s i o n with a sc e p t i c a l awareness of paint and costumes, gestures and r h e t o r i c . By representing both Eastern and Western perceptions of Karain, Conrad makes his readers more understanding of his protagonist's strange p l i g h t . The t h e a t r i c a l analogy also contributes to the plo t move-ment because i t allows the narrator to hint at a dark side to Karain's " i l l u s i o n of unavoidable success." The character who i s "aggressively disguised" as an actor has an inner l i f e which he hides from the audience. Conrad exploits t h i s aspect of the metaphor to maintain the reader's expectations of hearing Karain's " r e a l " story " i n the wings, so to speak, and with the l i g h t s out." Like Arsat's and Jim's t a l e s , the story i s one of betrayal. As a youth, Karain had dedicated his l i f e to a friend's mission to f i n d and k i l l a dishonoured s i s t e r and her Dutch lover. Having become obsessed during the hunt with an imaginary image of the g i r l , Karain shot Pata Matara, his f r i e n d , instead of the Dutchman and i s now haunted mercilessly 86 by the ghost of his dead comrade. The sword-bearer who always attends the c h i e f t a i n keeps the phantom at bay with whispered incantations, and Karain's b e l i e f i n the old man's supernatural powers gives him the confidence to sustain his "amazing preten-ses." At the beginning of the story the narrator suggests t h i s i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p when he juxtaposes the two figures standing on the schooner's deck. The sword-bearer "was there on duty, but without c u r i o s i t y , and seemed weary, not with age, but with the possession of a burdensome secret of existence. Karain, heavy and proud, had a l o f t y pose and breathed calmly" (5). Like the narrative structure of "The Lagoon," the opening descriptive section of "Karain" i s as long as the central story of betrayal, which i t both anticipates and enriches with i n t e r -pretive commentary. As he does i n Lord Jim, Conrad establishes a s t r i k i n g l y v i s u a l f i r s t impression of Karain r e g a l l y posed on the schooner's deck and refers to a hidden mystery, which he then withholds. While the reader i s expecting i t s disclosure, the narrator's impressionistic arrangement of memories presents the character i n a series of v i v i d l y coloured pictures, suggesting c e r t a i n t r a i t s and attitudes without penetrating Karain's inner l i f e — t o t h i s limited extent, the explorative opening section anticipates Marlow's assembling of separate episodes and impressions to illuminate d i f f e r e n t aspects of Jim's conduct. In the short story the reader i s involved i n the narrator's r e l a t i v e l y long r e f l e c t i o n about the central character before the sequence of events begins with the white $7 traders' l a s t v i s i t to Karain's bay. In the developing form of Conrad's f i c t i o n from "The Lagoon," "Karain," and "Heart of Darkness" to Lord Jim the emphasis f a l l s increasingly on the process of t h i s involvement and the nature of the attitude taken toward a "straggler" from the ranks of the human community. Although Conrad does not include a dramatized audience i n the framework of his s t o r i e s u n t i l "Youth," the narrator's opening commentary seems to be addressed to the friends of his adventurous past, perhaps Jackson and H o l l i s , who have been long exposed to "the smoky atmosphere" and "befogged respecta-b i l i t y " of English l i f e : We knew him i n those unprotected days when we were content to hold i n our hands our l i v e s and our property. None of us, I believe, has any property now, and I hear that many, negligently, have l o s t t h e i r l i v e s ; but I am sure that the few who survive are not yet so dim-eyed as to miss i n the befogged r e s p e c t a b i l i t y of t h e i r newspapers the i n t e l l i g e n c e of various native r i s i n g s i n the Eastern Archipelago . . . the printed words scent the smoky atmosphere of today f a i n t l y , with the subtle and penetrating perfume as of land breezes breathing through the s t a r l i g h t of bygone nights. The p l a y f u l l y i r o n i c tone of t h i s passage i s directed at "respectable" Western readers i n general, who (l i k e the c a p i t a l i s t s i n counting-houses who decide that the r i s k s are too great for the schooner to continue i t s trips) must have t h e i r adventures second-hand. When Karain's b e l i e f i n the supernatural powers of a Queen V i c t o r i a Jubilee sixpence allows him to recreate his " i l l u s i o n of unavoidable success," the narrator speaks to his readers d i r e c t l y : "I wondered what they 88 thought; what he thought; . . . what the reader thinks?" The multiple ir o n i e s of the si t u a t i o n sustain the comic tone of Conrad's attempt to involve us imaginatively i n the opposition between the mystical East and the sce p t i c a l West, and the technique succeeds i n drawing our attention to t h i s central idea. Moreover, the question "I wonder what the reader thinks?" looks forward to Marlow's use of dramatized l i s t e n e r s for r h e t o r i c a l purposes. Here, for example, Marlow deliberately provokes his "respectable" readers i n order to gain sympathy for Jim: "Frankly, i t i s not my words that I mistrust but your minds. I could be eloquent were I not a f r a i d you fellows had starved your imaginations to feed your bodies. I do not mean to be offensive; i t i s respectable to have no i l l u s i o n s — a n d s a f e — a n d p r o f i t a b l e — a n d d u l l . Yet you, too, i n your time must have known the in t e n s i t y of l i f e , that l i g h t of glamour created i n the shock of t r i f l e s , as amazing as the glow of sparks struck from a cold s t o n e — and as sho r t - l i v e d , alas!" (225) The reader of "Karain" i s also urged to sympathize with the c h i e f t a i n ' s i l l u s o r y dreams and phantoms by a series of contrasts at the end of the story, when the narrator jumps forward i n time to "some years afterwards" i n London. In the midst of "innumerable eyes starting] straight i n front," "blank faces" and the "headlong s h u f f l e " of the people i n the Strand, he meets Jackson, one of the adventurers who had heard Karain's t a l e . Not only does Jackson, with his head "high above the crowd" and his " i n s p i r i n g " v i t a l i t y , emphasize by contrast the s p i r i t l e s s anonymity of the crowds, but the "current of humanity" i t s e l f , with i t s "sombre and ceaseless s t i r , " i s set against the narrator's l a s t v i s u a l impression of Karain, as he 89 i s welcomed back into the community of his people—an i d y l l i c scene i n which human l i f e blends with animals, green pasture, and f r u i t trees. Are the sorceries.and staged i l l u s i o n s of t h i s culture as " r e a l " as the parade of l i f e passing on the Strand? Conrad dramatizes t h i s question i n the exchange between Jackson and the narrator, when Jackson wonders about Karain's story: " . . . I mean, whether the thing was so, you know . . . whether i t r e a l l y happened to him . . . What do you think?" "My dear chap," I c r i e d , "you have been too long away from home. What a question to ask! Only look at a l l t h i s . " (54) Here, the narrator describes the busy London scene i n a series of concrete d e t a i l s and images. F i n a l l y , Jackson r e p l i e s : "Yes; I see i t , " said Jackson, slowly. " I t i s there; i t pants, i t runs, i t r o l l s ; i t i s strong and a l i v e ; i t would smash you i f you didn't look out; but I ' l l be hanged i f i t i s yet as re a l to me as . . . as the other thing . . . say, Karain's story." I think that, decidedly, he had been too long away from home. Like the t h e a t r i c a l analogy that controls our impression of Karain, the narrator's scepticism draws our attention to the paradoxical nature of the i l l u s i o n . Despite the comic insouciance of t h i s ending, the two d i f f e r e n t responses to Karain's experience demonstrate an early attempt by Conrad to explore a complex issue by i n d i r e c t i o n and multiple perceptions. As Lawrence Graver points out, the story 24 anticipates "Heart of Darkness" i n t h i s respect, and one can also see the o r i g i n of Marlow 1s narrative practice i n Lord Jim. 90 In the novel the narrator juxtaposes the views expressed by characters of d i f f e r e n t backgrounds and l o y a l t i e s (such as the French lieutenant and Stein) i n order to create a r i c h l y paradoxical and ambiguous context for Jim's tragedy. In "Karain" the voices of Jackson (who affirms his i n d i v i d u a l v i s i o n against the conventional view of r e a l i t y ) and the narrator (who doubts what he cannot see) are s i m i l a r l y opposed. The unresolved question keeps Karain and his story i n our minds—a much s i m p l i f i e d version of the resonance created by the d i f f e r i n g interpretations of Jim's conduct i n the novel. S i m i l a r l y , the responses of the narrator and his friends during Karain's s t o r y t e l l i n g provide an i n t e r p r e t i v e framework that extends and universalizes the themes of the story. The death of Karain's sword-bearer has l e f t the c h i e f t a i n at the mercy of the unseen—Pata Matara's ghost. In desperation Karain turns to his "unbelieving" friends from the West for help, and t e l l s his story not only to persuade them to take him away but also because, l i k e Arsat and Jim, he has no one to share his g u i l t : "And I can t e l l no one. No one. There i s no  one here f a i t h f u l enough and wise enough to know" (25; my i t a l -ics) . The r o l e of the l i s t e n e r i s more c l e a r l y defined here than i n "The Lagoon," drawing our attention to the r e l a t i o n s h i p between t e l l e r and audience and adding suspense to the outcome of the story. How w i l l these l i s t e n e r s f u l f i l l Karain's expectations? One of the reasons for the interrogative and retrospective aspects of Marlow's narration i n Lord Jim i s the 91 duty imposed upon him by Jim to "understand," and the more Marlow demonstrates his struggle to comprehend, the more c l e a r l y the reader perceives his commitment. Thus, Marlow t e l l s us that "I cannot say I had ever seen him d i s t i n c t l y — n o t even to t h i s day, a f t e r I had my l a s t view of him; but i t seemed to me that the less I understood the more I was bound to him i n the name of that doubt which i s the inseparable part of our knowledge." In "Karain" Conrad anticipates Marlow's struggle to understand and communicate. Thus, the narrator refers to the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of conveying "the e f f e c t of [Karain's] story," of making i t "clear to another mind." The problems of apprehending another human being c l e a r l y are usually increased when the two are of d i f f e r e n t races, yet the narrator minimizes t h i s f a c t i n his affirmation of the conditions that make communication possible: No man w i l l speak to his master; but to a wanderer and a f r i e n d , to him who does not come to teach or to r u l e , to him who asks for nothing and accepts a l l things, words are spoken by the camp-fires, i n the shared solitude of the sea, i n r i v e r s i d e v i l l a g e s , i n resting-places surrounded by forests—words are spoken that take no account of race or colour. One heart speaks—another one l i s t e n s . . . (26) Here, Conrad condemns the p a t e r n a l i s t i c aspects of colonialism, as they are i l l u s t r a t e d , for example, by Lingard, Kayerts and C a r l i e r , and Kurtz. Except for the narrator's remark that he i s paid " l i k e a banker" by Karain (a simile that l i n k s the adventurer to the men i n counting-houses at home) Conrad empha-sizes the i d e a l i s t i c , i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c nature of the white man's 92 relat i o n s h i p with the native. Some aspects of the c h i v a l r i c friendship between Jim and Dain Waris can be found i n t h i s s t o r y — p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Karain's appeal for sanctuary: Karain spoke to me. "You know us. You have l i v e d with us. Why?—we cannot know; but you understand our sorrows and our thoughts. You have l i v e d with my people, and you understand our desires and our fears. With you I w i l l go." (44) The rhythmic cadence, r e p e t i t i o n s , and formal inversion make th i s statement resemble a r i t u a l oath of l o y a l t y . Moreover, the appeal r e f l e c t s the tone of Karain's s t o r y — a t a l e of intense f e e l i n g heightened by the supernatural which, as Andrzej Busza has shown, can be traced to Conrad's f a m i l i a r i t y with Polish romantic l i t e r a t u r e i n general and Adam 2 "5 Mickiewicz's b a l l a d "The Ambush" i n p a r t i c u l a r . In t h e i r response to t h i s t a l e of i r r a t i o n a l , f o l k l o r i c b e l i e f the men from the sce p t i c a l "irreverent" West dramatize the symbolic aspect of the oral mode i n t h i s story. As the narrator has said, the bond between t e l l e r and l i s t e n e r represents essential human t i e s "that take no account of race or colour." Conrad continues to i n s i s t upon the c u l t u r a l differences between Karain and his friends because, paradoxically, i t i s the "unbelievers" who are most committed to the troubled chief. This idea develops the suggestion i n "The Lagoon" that r a c i a l differences often co-exist with profound understanding between in d i v i d u a l s . "You went away from my country," says Arsat to the white man with whom he shares his g u i l t , " i n the pursuit of 93 your desires, which we, men of the islands, cannot understand." Karain's own people are limited by t h e i r dependence on the leader's " i l l u s i o n of unavoidable success"; i n Marlow's words describing Jim, they see only "the side turned perpetually to the l i g h t of day." Like Jim, however, Karain has another side "which, l i k e the other hemisphere of the moon, exists s t e a l t h -i l y i n perpetual darkness," and he shows these secret feelings to his Western friends. This concept becomes more complex when Conrad includes differences i n moral outlook which seem to involve a subtle, i f tentative, understanding. In "Heart of Darkness," for example, he explores Marlow's lo y a l t y to Kurtz i n the wilderness and afterwards, and i n Lord Jim the narrator's ambivalent feelings about Jim's romantic idealism are investigated. The role of H o l l i s , the brash young s a i l o r whose ingenuity rescues the c h i e f t a i n , i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s paradoxical truth with a comic irreverence that f i t s the mood of the story. In contrast to Jackson and the narrator, H o l l i s a f f e c t s i n -difference to Karain's a r r i v a l , but his immediate reactions to the story are imaginative and p r a c t i c a l l y sound. He recognizes that Karain requires something to believe i n , rather than the "respectable" received ideas of the West. "You won't soothe him with your platitudes," he t e l l s the narrator. Moreover, he foresees the consequences of the white men's f a i l u r e to help t h e i r f r i e n d : " . . . the end of t h i s s h a l l be, that some day he w i l l run amuck amongst his f a i t h f u l subjects and send ad 94 patres ever so many of them before they make up th e i r minds to the d i s l o y a l t y of knocking him on the head." The narrator agrees with t h i s prediction, which anticipates Marlow 1s fear for Jim, that i f he continues unaided i n his struggle against "the ghost of a fac t " he w i l l be defeated by drink and despair. Both men need imaginative scope to assert t h e i r ideals through redemptive action. Like Marlow, the narrator of "Karain" emphasizes the l i s t e n e r ' s personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the t e l l e r who has revealed his "dark" side: "He had given himself up to us; he had thrust into our hands his errors and his torment, his l i f e and his peace." H o l l i s ' s success i n helping Karain to maintain his i l l u s i o n s (a performance, i n c i d e n t a l l y , that echoes the narrator's t h e a t r i c a l analogy, with i t s depiction of a truth revealed through appearances which are a l l too obvious to the onlooker) has led some c r i t i c s to consider him as a "proto-9 fc\ Stein." Although Bruce Johnson, who i s the most convincing, makes a good case for the comparison, to define H o l l i s as "Stein" and the narrator as "Marlow" i s to lose some of the humour i n the scene as well as to overlook d e t a i l s such as H o l l i s ' s command to the others, "Can't you l i e a l i t t l e . . . for a f r i e n d ! " which looks forward to Marlow's l i e to the Intended. H o l l i s ' s affirming act i s at least p a r t i a l l y comic. Unlike Stein, who has followed the dream himself, the young s a i l o r mocks the s p i r i t u a l and unseen i n a parody of the sword-bearer's magic that emphasizes the great distance between East 95 and West: . . . he talked to us i r o n i c a l l y , but his face became as grave as though he were pronouncing a powerful incantation over the things inside. "Every one of us," he said, with pauses that somehow were more offensive than his words—"every one of us, y o u ' l l admit, has been haunted by some woman . . . And . . as to friends . . . dropped by the way . . . Well! . . . ask yourselves . . . " He paused. Karain stared. A deep rumble was heard high up under the deck. Jackson spoke s e r i o u s l y — "Don't be so beastly c y n i c a l . " "Ah! You are without g u i l e , " said H o l l i s sadly. "You w i l l learn . . . meantime t h i s Malay has been our f r i e n d . . . " He repeated several times thoughtfully, "Friend . . . Malay. Friend, Malay," as though weighing the words against one another . . . (47). Here, the two terms "Friend" and "Malay," sceptic and believer, are i n symbolic (and comic) opposition. When H o l l i s and the others enact the r i t u a l of placing the Queen V i c t o r i a sixpence about Karain's neck, the c u l t u r a l differences are i r o n i c a l l y implied, complicating t h e i r gesture of s o l i d a r i t y . In the narrator's response during the story, however, Conrad dramatizes the l i s t e n e r ' s imaginative, unironic involve-ment. For example, when Karain f i r s t appears i n the ship's cabin, he looks to the objects around him for protection against the unseen. Conrad uses the ship's chronometers to suggest "the strong l i f e of white men, which r o l l s on i r r e s i s t -i b l e and hard on the edge of outer darkness." Thus, the narrator juxtaposes the haunted aspect of his f r i e n d and the corresponding fury of the elements outside with the predict-able empiricism of "the two chronometers i n my cabin t i c k i n g along with unflagging speed against one another." When Karain 96 pauses i n his t a l e , the narrator has become so moved by the story that he seems to share his friend's fear and awe. Just as Karain did e a r l i e r , he looks toward the safety of Western order (Greenwich time) for p r o t e c t i o n — c u l t u r a l differences between the two have a l l but disappeared. Moreover, i n t h i s passage, which r e c a l l s Conrad's words i n the preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus about the " s o l i d a r -i t y i n dreams," the narrator communicates a sense of fellowship with a l l men who have been f a i t h f u l to t h e i r i l l u s i o n s : And I looked on, surprised and moved; I looked at that man, loyal to a v i s i o n , betrayed by his dream, spurned by his i l l u s i o n , and coming to us unbelievers for h e l p — against a thought. The silence was profound; but i t seemed f u l l of noiseless phantoms, of things sorrowful, shadowy, and mute, i n whose i n v i s i b l e presence the firm, pulsating beat of the two ship's chronometers t i c k i n g o f f steadily the seconds of Greenwich Time seemed to me a protection and a r e l i e f . Karain stared s t o n i l y ; and looking at his r i g i d f igure, I thought of his wanderings, of that obscure Odyssey of revenge, of a l l the men that wander amongst i l l u s i o n s ; of the i l l u s i o n s that give joy, that give sorrow, that give pain, that give peace; of the i n v i n c i b l e i l l u s i o n s that can make l i f e and death appear serene, i n s p i r i n g , tormented, or ignoble. (40) Once again, the commentary emphasizes the personal responsi-b i l i t y of the "unbelievers" to Karain, but the narrator's chain of associations also leads him to affirm the power of b e l i e f s themselves. The "noiseless phantoms" return when H o l l i s opens his box of "charms," and they are defined as " a l l the ghosts driven out of the unbelieving West by men who pretend to be wise and alone and at p e a c e — a l l the homeless ghosts of an unbelieving world . . . a l l the cast-out and reproachful ghosts of friends admired, trusted, traduced, betrayed, l e f t dead by the way—they a l l seemed to come from the inhospitable regions of the earth to crowd into the gloomy cabin, as though i t had been a refuge and, i n a l l the unbelieving world, the only place 27 of avenging b e l i e f . " The narrator's r e p e t i t i o n of the phrase "the unbelieving West" (or, "the [an] unbelieving world") creates a r e f r a i n that underlines the e s s e n t i a l dichotomy i n "Karain." In these passages Conrad persuades us of the human necessity for i l l u s i o n s and also, of the v i t a l i t y of the past. In t h i s way, he prepares us for the narrative irony at the end of the story. The important thematic p a r a l l e l between "Karain" and Lord Jim i s not, as Bruce Johnson has written, that both men "expect the g u i l t to become manageable at some sort of c u l t u r a l ? 8 b a r r i e r . " The c o n f l i c t between East and West i s indeed central to the short story, as I have shown, but Karain sustains his " i l l u s i o n of unavoidable success" very well with-out the help of the white men for the f i r s t half of the story because his b e l i e f i n the sword-bearer's magic gives him the imaginative freedom to create an image of himself as r u l e r . As for Jim, one can argue (as Marlow, i n f a c t , does) that "of a l l mankind [he] had no dealings but with himself," and that Jim i s not as concerned with managing his g u i l t as with salvaging his "exalted egoism." In both the story and the novel, therefore, the protagonist i s f i r s t c rippled and then redeemed by his imagination, and i t i s the dual nature of t h i s f a c u l t y "of swift and f o r e s t a l l i n g v i s i o n " that "Karain" t e s t s , i n pre-paration for Lord Jim. The phantom of Karain's remorse has 98 the same o r i g i n as his splendidly absurd dignity; both of these "fantasies" are juxtaposed with the soulless materialism of bankers and "respectable" men. Karain's a b i l i t y to sway others i s intimately connected to his secret knowledge of the avenging s p i r i t over his shoulder. In t h i s respect, he i s the prototype of Jim, who "had the g i f t of finding a special meaning i n everything that happened to him," whether on the Patna or i n Patusan. Imagination leads Karain, l i k e Jim, into betraying an oath of loyal t y and then haunts him remorselessly with "the ghost of a f a c t . " Like Jim also, but more unequivocally, he i s rescued by an i d e a l i s t i c b e l i e f that allows him to act out his r o l e on "a conquered foothold on the e a r t h " — a role to which he must prove f a i t h f u l because, as Jim says of his reign i n Patusan, "nothing less w i l l do." The native " r i s i n g s " i n the newspaper that prompt the narrator's memory, therefore, are testimony " i n black and white" of Karain's l o y a l t y to his b e l i e f s , because before the sword-bearer's death, the c h i e f t a i n had been planning a t r i b a l war "with patience, with f o r e s i g h t — w i t h a f i d e l i t y to his purpose and with a steadfastness" that his fr i e n d i s not accustomed to f i n d i n Malays. At the end of the story Jackson returns to the subject of Karain's a c t i v i t i e s ("He w i l l make i t hot for the caballeros") and the d e t a i l s of the setting are c a r e f u l l y chosen. He i s contemplating a row of guns i n a shop window, "dark and polished tubes that can cure so many i l l u s i o n s . " Stein t e l l s 99 us, i n Lord Jim, that "one thing alone can us from being our-selves cure" and the problem for Jim i s not "how to get cured" but "how to be." As the narrator thinks about death, and Jackson wishes Karain luck i n his enterprise, the firearms r e f l e c t e d i n the glass together with Jackson's bearded face take on a Flaubertian suggestiveness; that i s , they seem to epitomize Conrad's meaning i n the story. In the past, Karain betrayed his f r i e n d with "a sure shot" from the gun given him by Pata Matara. Now, the "dark and polished tubes"—destruct-ive, concrete objects provided by his Western f r i e n d s — a r e made to serve an i l l u s o r y i d e a l of conduct. Conrad explores the imaginative idealism of Jim and Karain i n d i r e c t l y , through the perceptions of a f i r s t - p e r s o n narrator who becomes sympathetically i n v o l v e d — f i r s t , as a l i s t e n e r to the other's t a l e and l a t e r , as a t e l l e r who remembers. In "Karain" the narration i s merely a primitive sketch for the la t e r Marlow t a l e s , but features such as the impressionistic montage of the f i r s t section and the s p i r i t e d , p l a y f u l l y ambiguous coda succeed i n engaging the reader; to a limited extent, we are encouraged to discover the meaning of the story ourselves. Also important i s the narrator's persuasive presentation of the protagonist's experience. In t h i s story Conrad locates the point of view within an i n d i v i d u a l person-29 a l i t y with- p a t r i o t i c l o y a l t i e s and a taste for adventure who can control and persuade the reader, extending the implications of Karain's story to include men of other cultures and times. Attempting to gain our sympathy for the protagonist, Conrad 100 begins to explore the r h e t o r i c a l p o s s i b i l i t i e s of a dramatized narrator. At the same time, although the former gun-runner who t e l l s t h i s story lacks Marlow's moral commitment to a code, his response to Karain's t h e a t r i c a l performance i s not unmixed with irony and scepticism, and his tone modulates from concern to comic disengagement. These intimations of ambiguity anticipate Conrad's complex treatment of Kurtz and Jim. "The Lagoon" and "Karain: A Memory" are experimental s t o r i e s . At every l e v e l of the discourse, from i n d i v i d u a l words and phrases to the c o n t r o l l i n g metaphors and narrative structure, Conrad tests d i f f e r e n t methods of fusing form and content. Here, for example, i n the passage introducing Karain's narration, he experiments with mimetic aural e f f e c t s : "His words sounded low, i n a sad murmur as of running water; at times they rang loud l i k e the clash of a war-gong—or t r a i l e d slowly l i k e weary t r a v e l l e r s — o r rushed forward with the speed of fear." On a symbolic l e v e l , the t o l d - t a l e device that controls the structure of the stories reveals meaning and significance through i t s form. In each case, an e x i l e communicates his "adventure" to the reader through an i n t e r -preter, a l i s t e n e r who mediates, sympathizes, and explores. The l i s t e n e r ' s response universalizes the experience, and the outcast becomes "one of us." In these stories and i n Lord Jim the framing convention has the opposite e f f e c t from the "intense compositional r i g o r , " the " l i m i t a t i o n " that Dorothy Van Ghent finds c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the t o l d - t a l e device i n 101 30 Wuthering Heights. Conrad's narrative framework extends the "adventure" (or central story) instead of l i m i t i n g i t , emphasizing the communal aspect of the mode as well as i t s potential for i r o n i c contrast. In t h i s respect, the t e l l e r and l i s t e n e r r e l a t i o n s h i p r e f l e c t s an impulse toward integration that i s emphatically denied i n the narrative s o l i l o q u i e s created by such post-modern writers as Beckett, Celine, and John Hawkes. 102 Notes Conrad f i n i s h e d "An Outpost of Progress" on July 21 and was already writing "The Lagoon" on August 5. See his l e t t e r to Garnett dated August 5, 1896 i n Letters from Joseph Conrad, pp. 64-65. •^Tales of Unrest, p. 203. Subsequent page references for both "The Lagoon" and "Karain: A Memory" are included i n the text. 3 See Albert J . Guerard, Conrad the Novelist (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958) and Ian Watt, Conrad i n  the Nineteenth Century, pp. 63-65. 4Almayer's F o l l y (1895; London: J. M. Dent, 1947), p. 8. ^Like Henry James and V i r g i n i a Woolf, Conrad uses narrated monologue (free i n d i r e c t s t y l e i n which the narrator i s present, but words and tone are the character's) rather than i n t e r i o r monologue, i n which the character's mental voice i s heard d i r e c t l y , as i n parts of Ulysses. See Seymour Chatman's Story,and Discourse: Narrative Structure i n F i c t i o n and Film (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978) for f u l l descriptions and examples of these terms, as well as "internal analysis." Conrad the Novelist, p. 67. 7Lord Jim (1900; London: J . M. Dent, 1946), p. 81. References i n the text are to th i s e d i t i o n . o Polish c r i t i c s have repeatedly linked Conrad's in t e r e s t i n the theme of betrayal and redemption with his painful feelings about having l e f t h is native country when he was seventeen. Because Arsat "goes back" to j u s t i f y the death of a brother whom he has l e f t " i n the midst of enemies," i t i s tempting to connect the plot of "The Lagoon" to Conrad's mixed emotions about Poland. One of the many biographical facts one could select to support such a speculation concerns an event that took place four years before Conrad wrote the story. Tadeusz Bobrowski had informed him that his cousin Stanislaw (li k e Apollo Korzeniowski) had been arrested and imprisoned for p o l i t i c a l "crimes" i n the Warsaw c i t a d e l . Zdzislraw Najder t e l l s us that Conrad inquired "repeatedly" about Stanislaw and speculates that the event l e f t a deep impression on him. See Joseph Conrad: A Chronicle (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1983), p. 155. Letters from Joseph Conrad, p. 67. 103 1 0 See Bruce E. Teets and Helmut Gerber, eds., Joseph  Conrad: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings About Him (De Kalb, 111.: Northern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1971). The review i s quoted on page 16. HAlthough we cannot know to what extent Conrad revised "The Lagoon" (the manuscript has not survived and the location of the typescript i s unknown), a comparison of the book and s e r i a l versions proves that he eliminated at least one sequence of p a r a l l e l structures, rewriting the description of the mist that follows the climax of Arsat's story. 12 Conrad's use of t h i s f o l k l o r i c motif to i l l u s t r a t e a thematic point anticipates his symbolic treatment of Singleton's superstition that casting off Wait's dead body w i l l release the Narcissus for her homeward voyage. 1 3 See Andrzej Braun, "The Myth-Like Kingdom of Conrad," Conradiana, 10 (1978), 3-16. ^ A n in t e r e s t i n g debate about the ending of "The Lagoon" ran for f i v e issues of The Explicator between January, 1956 and May, 1960. My reading of the r e v i s i o n d i f f e r s from Graver's (Conrad's Short F i c t i o n , p. 27), Elmer Ordonez's (The Early  Joseph Conrad: Revisions and Style [University of the Phi l i p p i n e s : University of Philippines Press, 1969], p. 49), and George Whiting's ("Conrad's Revisions of Six of His Short Stories," PMLA, 48 [1933], 552-57), a l l of whom interpret the book version as more sombre than the e a r l i e r s e r i a l one. 1 f> Lawrence Graver notes that the white l i s t e n e r "appears to embody a moral position" and " i s a shadowy precursor of a l a t e r , more f a m i l i a r , f i g u r e . " Conrad's Short F i c t i o n , p. 29. 17 Conrad's Romanticism (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1974), p. 49. 1 8 Letter from Charles L. Graves i n the L i l l y Library, University of Indiana. Quoted i n Lawrence Graver's Conrad's  Short F i c t i o n , pp. 17-18. -^See Ian Watt's i n s t r u c t i v e analysis of Marlow's inve s t i g a t i o n i n Conrad i n the Nineteenth Century, pp. 269-304. 20 Kafka's Narrators (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 1. 21-1 can f i n d only one instance when Marlow i s i r o n i c at Jim's expense during his r e t e l l i n g of t h i s episode. When he 104 relates Jim's description of the skipper and engineers working to free the boat, he comments d r i l y on Jim's s t o i c attitude: "They had no le i s u r e to look back upon his passive heroism, to f e e l the sting of his abstention." 22 The e f f e c t of authenticity and immediacy created by the f i r s t - p e r s o n point of view had p a r t i c u l a r appeal for the nineteenth century English magazine reader, who favoured an anecdotal s t y l e combined with exotic material. Many of the st o r i e s published i n Blackwood's during the 1890's are either "true" episodes related by m i l i t a r y or c o l o n i a l figures, or sentimental plots i n which strange customs and topographic d e t a i l s are reported as i f by an eye-witness t r a v e l l e r to the area. The opening sentences of "Karain" would have found an immediate response i n such readers. 2 3 . This s t y l i s t i c feature r e c a l l s Flaubert's use of the imperfect tense i n Madame Bovary. Incidentally, Yves Hervouet has traced Conrad's description of Karain's kingdom to the famous description of Rouen i n chapter f i v e of Flaubert's novel. See "Aspects of Flaubertian Influence on Conrad's F i c t i o n , Part One," Revue de L i t t e r a t u r e Comparee, 1 (1983), 5-24. 2 4Conrad's Short F i c t i o n , p. 32. 25"Conrad's Polish L i t e r a r y Background and Some I l l u s t r a t i o n s of the Influence of Polish L i t e r a t u r e on his Work," Antemurale, 10 (Rome and London, 1966), 209-15. 2^See Bruce M. Johnson, "Conrad's 'Karain' and Lord Jim," Modern Language Quarterly, 24 (1963), 13-20 and Paul Bruss, "Narrative Irony i n 'Karain: A Memory,'" Conrad's Early Sea  F i c t i o n : The Novelist as Navigator (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1979), pp. 47-57. 27The narrator's invocation of the past and i t s s p i r i t u a l claims on the present i s echoed i n a l e t t e r Conrad wrote to Edward Garnett six days a f t e r the completed, rewritten copy of "Karain" had been sent to Fisher Unwin. The occasion was the death of Garnett's f r i e n d , Eustace Hartley: "Wisdom says: do not f i l l the vacated place—never! This i s the only way to a l i f e with phantoms who never perish; who never abandon one; who are always near and depart only when i t i s time also for yourself to go. I can t e l l for I have l i v e d during many days with the f a i t h f u l dead." 28"Conrad's 'Karain' and Lord Jim," p. 14. 9 q The issue of the narrator's national i d e n t i t y becomes more s i g n i f i c a n t i n "Youth" and w i l l be discussed i n the next chapter. 30 „. English Novel: Form and Function (New York Rinehart, 1953), p. 191. 106 Chapter III "YOUTH," "HEART OF DARKNESS," AND LORD JIM Although we do not know exactly when Conrad began to write "Youth: A Narrative," the l a s t page of the autograph manuscript 1 contains the date of i t s completion: "May, 1898." Below t h i s notation and i n the lower r i g h t corner i s inscribed the note, "for B1woods." In an i n d i r e c t way, the Edinburgh magazine can be related to the creation of Marlow as the narrator of t h i s story, for although Conrad occasionally c r i t i c i z e d Blackwood's 2 for i t s narrow-mindedness, he welcomed a reading audience that comprised "a good sort of public." Writing for men who had experiences and professions i n common ("There i s n ' t a single club and messroom and man-of-war i n the B r i t i s h Seas and Dominions which hasn't i t s copy of Maga," he commented i n a 3 l e t t e r to J . B. Pinker), Conrad developed an English seaman persona whose habits of speech and p a t r i o t i c sentiments would appeal to the reader. One of Marlow's most important functions 4 i n "Youth," as Conrad's revisions to the story indicate, i s to c l a r i f y the opening premise that "This could have occurred nowhere but i n England" by introducing substantial commentary about the national character. The date inscribed on the l a s t page of the manuscript can also be related to aspects of Conrad's technique i n "Youth," for i t suggests that the f i r s t d r a f t of the story was written even more quickly than has previously been thought. Because we 107 can assume that Conrad began the fragment "Tuan Jim" i n A p r i l , ^ completing some four thousand words before s t a r t i n g "Youth," the l a t t e r story may have taken him only about two or three weeks to write. The manuscript supports t h i s deduction, for i t contains many signs of having been composed at considerable speed. P a r t i c u l a r l y i n the f i r s t t h i r t y pages of text, and throughout the entire eighty-three, Conrad leaves out words, and even phrases i n the rough d r a f t . For example, i n the following sentence (from the scene i n which the crew of the Judea struggles to ri g h t the ship by shovelling wet sand from one side of the hold to the other) two omissions indicate fluency and r a p i d i t y of composition. The o r i g i n a l version reads: "One of the ship impressed by the gloom of the scene wept as i f his heart would break" (AMSlOa); Conrad corrected t h i s , and added an explanatory note: "One of the ship's boys (we had two) impressed by the gloom of the scene wept as i f his heart would break." Further evidence that Conrad was writing r e l a t i v e l y e a s i l y and quickly.can be found i n the blocks of narrative that required very l i t t l e revision.^ Moreover, a comparison of the "Youth" manuscript with either the f i r s t d r aft of "An Outpost of Progress" or the almost contempor-aneous "Tuan Jim" fragment shows that he had fewer problems with Marlow's subjective analyses than with the passages of omniscient commentary i n the e a r l i e r works. Using Marlow as a s t o r y t e l l e r helped Conrad to emerge 108 from a period of self-doubt and creative impasse, which had begun during his d i f f i c u l t i e s with "The Return" i n September, 1897. As we can see from the c o l l o q u i a l phrasing of the sentence quoted above, generated pa r t l y by the expression "wept as i f his heart would break" and partly by the aside, many features of Marlow 1s speech are calculated to imitate the pace and tone of an authentic oral performance i n an informal se t t i n g . By adding a c a r e f u l l y delineated audience of ex-sea-men, Conrad created a dramatic context which allowed him to indulge his natural tendency toward r h e t o r i c a l amplification. When the advantages of t e l l i n g a story from a s p e c i f i c a l l y English point of view and the a t t r a c t i v e s t y l i s t i c features of oral discourse are combined with the fac t that Conrad's subject matter comprised "a record of experience," which (as he wrote i n the preface to the book edition) " i n i t s inwardness and i n i t s outward colouring, begins and ends i n myself," the explan-ation for his r e l a t i v e ease i n writing "Youth" seems cl e a r . According to Zdzislaw Najder,'' there i s a close r e l a t i o n -ship between t h i s short story and Conrad's essay on Captain Marryat and James Fenimore Cooper, e n t i t l e d "Tales of the Sea" and published i n June, 1898. Conrad's comments about the American writer are p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g because they anticipate Marlow's claim i n "Youth" that national character can be determined by nature, or the sea. For Cooper, he writes, "nature was not the framework, i t was an esse n t i a l part 109 of existence." In his f i c t i o n : the sea inter-penetrates with l i f e ; i t i s i n a subtle way a factor i n the problem of existence, and, for a l l i t s greatness, i t i s always i n touch with the men, who, bound on errands of war or gain, traverse i t s immense solitudes. Conrad develops t h i s thought i n the next few sentences, using p a r a l l e l phrases to emphasize the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of men and the elements, and the e f f e c t of t h i s association on the men. Speaking of Cooper's descriptions, he t e l l s us that they include "the great loneliness of the waters, the s t i l l n e s s of watchful coasts, and the a l e r t readiness which marks men who l i v e face to face with the promise and the menace of the sea." F i n a l l y , Conrad points out that the r e a l i s t i c portrayal of t h i s "inter-penetration" tends to involve the writer's p a t r i o t i c f e e l i n g s : If he pitches upon episodes redounding to the glory of the young republic, surely England has glory enough to forgive him, for the sake of his excellence, the p a t r i o t i c bias at her expense. The i n t e r e s t of his tales i s convincing and unflagging; and there runs through his work a steady vein of f r i e n d l i n e s s for the old country which the succeeding generations of his compatriots have replaced by a less d e f i n i t e sentiment. (56) In "Youth" Conrad dramatizes these ideas, using Marlow to explore the values of commitment and patriotism. As Polish c r i t i c s have shown, Conrad's respect for these virtues derives from the tutelary figures of his childhood and the romantic poets of his c u l t u r a l background. "Youth" demonstrates a l o y a l t y to England that i s also found i n some of the l e t t e r s written at about t h i s time, e s p e c i a l l y those i n which he seeks confirmation of his place among native Englishmen. Writing to 110 Ted Sanderson on March 26, 1897, for instance, Conrad creates an anecdote i n which two d i f f e r e n t pieces of paper are a r t f u l l y arranged i n order to symbolize his acceptance by the country where he l i v e s and works: Only the other day I've re-read Miss Helen's l e t t e r — t h e  l e t t e r to me. It i s l a i d away with some of my very p a r t i c u l a r papers. It i s so unaffectedly, so i r r e s i s t i b l y charming—and profound too. One seems almost to touch the id e a l conception of what's best i n l i f e . And—personally-those eight pages of Her writing are to me l i k e a high assurance of being accepted, admitted within, the people and the land of my choice. And side by side with the l e t t e r I found the printed paper signed by the Secretary of State. The form of n a t i o n a l i s a t i o n and i t s r e a l i t y — the voice of what i s best i n the heart of peoples. As we s h a l l see, i n t h i s story Conrad's development of the f i r s t - p e r s o n narrative method he had used i n "Karain" and his se l e c t i o n and arrangement of material seem to be motivated p a r t l y by a desire to i d e n t i f y "what i s best" i n his adopted country and establish Marlow's s o l i d a r i t y with his English l i s t e n e r s . Throughout the d i f f e r e n t stages of composition, many of his revisions reveal the consistency of t h i s purpose. For example, the central episode of "Youth" (in which the Judea's coal cargo catches f i r e and explodes, fo r c i n g the crew to abandon the burning ship) underwent considerable rewriting to make Marlow's impressions more concrete and immediate. How-ever, another e f f e c t created by the changes and additions i s r h e t o r i c a l . To persuade the reader of the s a i l o r s ' tenacity and s o l i d a r i t y despite the es s e n t i a l f u t i l i t y of t h e i r tasks, Conrad takes special pains with the remarks directed by Marlow to his audience of ex-seamen. In the manuscript the men's compliance with Captain Beard's strange order immediately a f t e r the explosion i s related i n a matter-of-fact manner: "And we did trim the yards of that wreck" (AMSllb). For the s e r i a l and book versions Conrad added emphatic words and punctuation to Marlow's commentary: "Yes; that was the f i r s t thing we d i d — trim the yards of that wreck!" (25). The description of the crew—ragged, d i r t y , shivering, and groaning at t h e i r l a b o u r s — i s followed by Marlow's evaluation of t h e i r conduct. F i r s t , Conrad revised the manuscript i t s e l f . In the following excerpt the i t a l i c s indicate an i n t e r l i n e d sentence, which uses r e p e t i t i o n to draw the point to the reader's attention: "But that crew of Liverpool hard cases had the r i g h t s t u f f i n them. They had i t . I t i s the sea that gives i t , the vastness the loneliness (about) surrounding t h e i r dark s t o l i d l i v e s " (AMS12b). For the s e r i a l and book versions Conrad added a sentence and rewrote the i n t e r l i n e d passage to give Marlow's praise even more authority by r e f e r r i n g to the narrator's experience at sea: "But they a l l worked. That crew of Liverpool hard cases had i n them the r i g h t s t u f f . It's my experience they always have. It i s the sea that gives i t — t h e vastness, the loneliness surrounding t h e i r dark s t o l i d souls." (25) By moving the idiomatic phrase "the r i g h t s t u f f " to the end of the sentence, Conrad emphasizes Marlow's Englishness, as well as his moral approval. In addition, the substitution of "souls" for " l i v e s " gives the v i t a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between men and the sea a qu a l i t y of inwardness that develops the f i r s t 112 narrator's claim: "This could have happened nowhere but i n England, where men and sea inter-penetrate. . . . " Conrad's use of Marlow to endorse t h i s premise becomes more apparent i n his revisions to the subsequent action involving the crew. As the smouldering Judea i s being towed behind the steamer Somerville, the men are ordered a l o f t to f u r l the s a i l s . Like trimming the yards af t e r the deck has been reduced to s p l i n t e r s , t h i s work has no p r a c t i c a l value. In the manuscript Marlow suggests t h i s idea i n d i r e c t l y i n his image of the s a i l o r s a l o f t , absorbed i n t h e i r r i t u a l task while completely cut off from the ship herself: "From (aloft) the yards (they) we could not see the ship for smoke; and (they) the men worked c a r e f u l l y passing the gaskets with even turns" (AMS15b). In the s e r i a l and book versions, however, the 1 0 f u t i l i t y of the men's attention to d e t a i l i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s underlined by a question directed to Marlow's l i s t e n e r s : "We coughed on the yards, and were careful about the bunts. Do you see the l o t of us there, putting a neat f u r l on the s a i l s of that ship doomed to a r r i v e nowhere? There was not a man who didn't think that at any moment the masts would topple over. From a l o f t we could not see the ship for smoke and they worked c a r e f u l l y , passing the gaskets with even turns." (28) Conrad also added the narrator's t r i b u t e to the men's courage; because they are conscious of the danger, t h e i r performance i s a l l the more remarkable. At t h i s point i n the text Marlow interrupts his story to explore the significance of the crew's obedience. In the manuscript he says: 113 These were men with no d r i l l e d i n habit of obedience. They had no professional reputation to lose, no examples, no praise. They a l l knew well enough how to dodge and laze—when they had a mind t o — a n d mostly they had. They didn't think t h e i r pay half good enough; but there was something inborn i n them, not to be equalled by a French or German crew; a p r i n c i p l e , a masterful i n s t i n c t , the (xxxxxxxxxx) r a c i a l difference which shapes the fate of nations. (AMS16b) When Conrad revised t h i s passage for Blackwood's he cancelled the reference to the superiority of the English s a i l o r s ("not to be equalled by a French or German crew"), stressing instead 11 the essential difference between the cultures. At the same time, he introduced r h e t o r i c a l questions and answers to involve the audience, and transformed Marlow 1s d i r e c t statement into an investigation of t h i s " r a c i a l difference": "What made them do i t — w h a t made them obey me when I, thinking consciously how fi n e i t was, made them drop the bunt of the f o r e s a i l twice to try and do i t better? What? They had no professional reputation—no examples, no praise. It wasn't a sense of duty; they a l l knew well enough how to shirk, and laze, and dodge—when they had a mind to i t — a n d mostly they had. Was i t the two pounds ten a-month that sent them there? They didn't think t h e i r pay half good enough. No; i t was something i n them, something inborn and subtle and everlasting. I don't say p o s i t i v e l y that the crew of a vulgar French or German merchantman wouldn't have done i t , but I doubt i t . And i t wouldn't have been done i n the same way. There was a completeness i n i t , something s o l i d l i k e a p r i n c i p l e , and masterful l i k e an i n s t i n c t — a disclosure of something s e c r e t — o f that hidden something, that g i f t of good or e v i l that makes r a c i a l difference, that shapes the fate of nations." (B323) Revising t h i s passage yet again for the book e d i t i o n , Conrad cancelled the coloured adjective "vulgar" and changed "but I doubt i t " to read "but I doubt whether i t would have been done i n the same way." This mitigates even further the suggestion 114 of r a c i a l s u periority. In t h i s excerpt the use of Marlow to investigate a moral issue anticipates "Heart of Darkness" and Lord Jim, but with an important difference that i l l u s t r a t e s Conrad's desire to est a b l i s h Marlow's national s o l i d a r i t y with his audience i n "Youth." F i r s t , l e t us consider a passage from "Heart of Darkness," very si m i l a r i n technique to the excerpt above, i n which the narrator engages his li s t e n e r s i n the process of speculation and resolution. When Marlow r e a l i z e s that his native crewmen are cannibals, he explores the meaning of t h e i r remarkable s e l f - c o n t r o l during the r i v e r journey to the Inner Station. He begins by drawing attention to the issue with a grotesque manipulation of the c o l l o q u i a l expression, "a good tuck-in": "Why i n the name of a l l the gnawing de v i l s of hunger they didn't go for u s — t h e y were t h i r t y to f i v e — a n d have a good tuck-in for once, amazes me now when I think of i t " (104). In "Youth" Conrad uses colloquialisms to esta b l i s h the cohesiveness of the group to which Marlow belongs, whereas i n "Heart of Darkness" he often takes idioms or cl i c h e s out of t h e i r conventional contexts i n order to expose the manner i n which we use language to mask our basic i n s t i n c t s of s u r v i v a l . Thus, the phrase "a good tuck-in" euphemizes human hunger, and the commentary which follows develops some of the implications of t h i s revelation. Having shocked his audience by the incongruous choice of an expression associated with r i t u a l s such as tea-time, Marlow 115 continues by appealing to reason i n a manner sim i l a r to the passage from "Youth." The pattern of his argument i s highly r h e t o r i c a l , emphasizing his discovery of the cannibals' innate i n t e g r i t y : "Restraint! What possible r e s t r a i n t ? Was i t superstition, disgust, patience, f e a r — o r some kind of primitive honour? No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear i t out, disgust simply does not e x i s t where hunger i s ; and as to superstition, b e l i e f s , and what you may c a l l p r i n c i p l e s , they are less than chaff i n a breeze. Don't you know the d e v i l r y of lingering starvation, i t s exasperating torment, i t s black thoughts, i t s sombre and brooding f e r o c i t y ? Well, I do. It takes a man a l l his inborn strength to f i g h t hunger properly." (105) The t h i r d and fourth sentences contain two r h e t o r i c a l schemes: counter-inference, i n which the speaker answers his own questions and meets his own objections, and enumeratio, a pattern created by repeating the sentence i n inverse order. By these means, the narrator emphatically rejects conventional wisdom; that i s , the arguments his l i s t e n e r s would be most l i k e l y to provide i n order to explain and reduce t h i s "unfath-omable enigma." Instead, he stresses the moral v a l i d i t y of the cannibals' s e l f - c o n t r o l , and i n v i t e s his audience to examine t h e i r own "inborn strength." Similar r h e t o r i c a l devices pervade Marlow 1s discourse i n "Youth" and Lord Jim, helping to guide the reader through the ambiguities created by the f i c t i o n . Because Conrad presents Marlow's perceptions with point and urgency, we are more l i k e l y to be persuaded of the virtues of r e s t r a i n t , work, and s o l i d a r i t y than i f the narrator were unreliable or detached from events. That i s , the 116 indirectness of the narrative mode allows the writer to i n s i s t upon the individual's moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y while maintaining, at the same time, a s t r i c t a r t i s t i c o b j e c t i v i t y . In his l e t t e r to The New York Times Saturday Book Review (August 2, 1901) Conrad defends The Inheritors, a novel written " i n collaboration with" Ford Madox Heuffer, against the charge of proselytism. "The business of a work s t r i v i n g to be art i s not to teach or to prophesy," he says, adding that " f i c t i o n . . demands from the writer a s p i r i t of scrupulous abnegation." Conrad continues, i n words which r e c a l l both Maupassant's praise of objective representation i n "Le Roman" and his own Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus, to speak of the writer's " s e l f - f o r g e t f u l f i d e l i t y to his sensations" as the 12 means to "fundamental truth." By creating a dramatized narrator (whether he i s the Marlow of "Youth" or the Marlow of Lord Jim) who can imitate an authentic oral performance and occupy a concrete, physical space i n time, the author appeals to our senses. By giving t h i s narrator a c u l t u r a l i d e n t i t y that d i f f e r s i n some respects from his own, he achieves impersonality, although (as we have seen i n the passages quoted above) Marlow 1s rhetoric draws us i n and persuades us of the "righ t " answers. Moreover, Conrad uses the rela t i o n s h i p between the narrator and his dramatized audience to q u a l i f y or reinforce these e t h i c a l statements. In "Youth" Marlow's analysis of the crew's service to i t s ship supports the f i r s t speaker's claim that i n England, nature 117 and man have "interpenetrated" to create a p a r t i c u l a r type of s a i l o r . Like Conrad's careful managing of c o l l o q u i a l terms and d i c t i o n i n t h i s story, the corresponding points of view sustain the s o l i d a r i t y between Marlow and his l i s t e n e r s around the mahogany table. In contrast, the author consistently uses his s t o r y - t e l l e r i n "Heart of Darkness" to undermine the famous opening commentary, which culminates i n a s t i r r i n g reference to the "sacred f i r e " c a r r i e d into unknown lands by c i v i l i z e d colonizers. Thus, Marlow continues his investigation of the cannibals' r e s t r a i n t (quoted above) by comparing i t with the white manager's unscrupulous manipulation of Kurtz's rescue i n order to exploit the Africans more successfully himself: "He was just the kind of man who would wish to preserve appear-ances. That was his r e s t r a i n t " (106). A l i t t l e l a t e r , we discover that Kurtz, who professes to bring moral enlightenment to the natives and who has been educated partly i n England, has responded to the wilderness with unrestrained, primitive savagery. In f a c t , as Marlow explores the various reactions of individuals tested by hunger, i s o l a t i o n , or i l l n e s s the categories of " c i v i l i z e d " and "savage" tend to dissolve. We learn that Marlow, l i k e the cannibals, has "inborn strength," and that the native helmsman, who i s k i l l e d when he abandons his post at the wheel, i s l i k e Kurtz: "He had no r e s t r a i n t , no r e s t r a i n t — j u s t l i k e K u r t z — a tree swayed by the wind" (119). In contrast to the f i r s t speaker (the l i s t e n e r on board the N e l l i e who alludes with confidence to the "torch" borne by "the 118 messengers of the might within the land") Marlow becomes increasingly concerned with the disjunction between ideals and r e a l i t y . Moreover, while the f i r s t speaker h i s t o r i c i z e s the Thames and invests the present with "the august l i g h t of abiding memories," Marlow 1s narrative begins by conflating times and places to reveal the unchanging truths of human experience. And when Marlow's l a s t words are spoken and the l i s t e n e r resumes his narration, a chiasmic pattern i s created by the d i f f e r i n g perspectives of these two speakers. Marlow's t a l e ends i n the drawing room of the Intended, where he makes a gesture of affirmation by deciding not to betray the g i r l ' s t r u s t i n the i d e a l Kurtz, a t r u s t he describes as "that great and saving i l l u s i o n that shone with an unearthly glow i n the darkness, i n the triumphant darkness from which I could not have defended her—from which I could not even defend myself" (159). Marlow's l i e preserves the i l l u s i o n that man i s e s s e n t i a l l y good, but Conrad does not end "Heart of Darkness" with t h i s d i f f i c u l t and complex act of s o l i d a r i t y . In contrast to the story's opening, i n the clo s i n g paragraph i t i s the anonymous l i s t e n e r who conflates times and places, putting Marlow's commentary within a broader and more sc e p t i c a l context: "The o f f i n g was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermmost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky—seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness." The symbolism of t h i s con-cluding sentence contradicts the impression created by Marlow's 119 l a s t words ("I could not t e l l her. It would have been too da r k — t o o dark altogether . . . ") of a darkness kept at bay by the l i g h t of the Intended's idealism. Moreover, by returning to the viewpoint of the l i s t e n e r , who has learned some disturb-ing truths which he seems to be analyzing and developing aft e r the end of Marlow's t a l e , Conrad draws our attention to the universal human need to "plot" one's own l i f e . That i s , for Marlow, the scene i n the g i r l ' s drawing room, with i t s symbolic 13 oppositions to Kurtz and the wilderness, helps to resolve an unbearable disjunction between idealism and r e a l i t y , but for the l i s t e n e r who looks into the future, the shape of experience i s s t i l l evolving, and the darkness i s "immense." In "Heart of Darkness," then, Conrad opposes his narrative points of view at the beginning and end i n order to r e f l e c t the ongoing process of moral discovery and disillusionment suggested by Marlow's i n t e r a c t i o n with his audience throughout the t a l e . In contrast, the ending of "Youth" reinforces the narrator's idealism, since there i s no gap between Marlow's perspective and that of his audience. Like "Heart of Darkness," "Youth" combines a climac t i c episode (Marlow's l y r i c a l v i s i o n of the East) with a return to the f i c t i v e present and the l i s t e n e r who concludes the story. Conrad did not a l t e r t h i s form for the book edi t i o n , despite his apparent agreement with H. G. Wells's c r i t i c i s m shortly a f t e r "Youth" appeared i n Blackwood's: "Yes. The story should have been ended where you say or perhaps at the next paragraph describing 120 the men sleeping i n the boats." Wells seems to have f e l t that the more e f f e c t i v e ending would have been the moment when young Marlow opens his eyes on the East, but Conrad chose to r e t a i n the narrator's emotional summary and the l i s t e n e r s ' response. Therefore, because i t emphasizes the s t o r y t e l l e r ' s close relat i o n s h i p with an audience, "Youth" gives us a dramatic i l l u s t r a t i o n of the a r t i s t ' s function as i t i s described i n the Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus: "He speaks . . . to the latent f e e l i n g of fellowship with a l l c r e a t i o n — a n d to the subtle but i n v i n c i b l e conviction of s o l i d a r i t y that knits together the loneliness of innumerable hearts." This bond i s suggested i n the l a s t scene, when Marlow's l i s t e n e r s acknowledge the s t o r y t e l l e r ' s appeal to a fundamental human experience—the death of youthful i l l u s i o n s : And we a l l nodded at him: the man of finance, the man of accounts, the man of law, we a l l nodded at him over the polished table that l i k e a s t i l l sheet of brown water r e f l e c t e d our faces, lined, wrinkled; our faces marked by t o i l , by deceptions, by success, by love; our weary eyes looking s t i l l , looking always, looking anxiously for something out of l i f e , that while i t i s expected i s already gone—has passed unseen, i n a sigh., i n a f l a s h — together with the youth, with the strength, with the romance of i l l u s i o n s . (42) Moreover, the coda allows Conrad to restate the theme of the story, through Marlow's r h e t o r i c a l appeal to his l i s t e n e r s . The i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of nature and man i s i d e n t i f i e d as one of the conditions of knowing "the best" i n l i f e ; the other, of course, i s youth i t s e l f : 121 "But you here—you a l l had something out of l i f e : money, love—whatever one gets on shore—and, t e l l me, wasn't that the best time, that time when we were young at sea; young and had nothing, on the sea that gives nothing, except hard knocks—and sometimes a chance to f e e l your s t r e n g t h — t h a t only—what you a l l regret?" (42) Marlow's phrase, "that time when we were young at sea," makes these two conditions interdependent. To f i n d romance i n nature's absurd tests of the Judea and her crew, one must be young and "have nothing"; conversely, youthful idealism requires the circumstances of l i f e at sea i n order to r e a l i z e i t s true strength. If we compare t h i s use of the coda to summarize thematic material with e a r l i e r examples i n The Nigger of the Narcissus and "Karain," we f i n d that i n each case Conrad assigns the expository function to a f i r s t - p e r s o n narrator, but that Marlow's commentary at the end of "Youth" c l a r i f i e s the writer's intentions most f u l l y because i t involves a dramatized audience that reinforces the narrator's f i n a l statement. Marlow's experiences and perceptions i n "Youth" d i f f e r markedly from those i n "Heart of Darkness" or Lord Jim, and the differences are r e f l e c t e d i n the complex endings of the l a t e r works. In "Heart of Darkness," as we have seen, the narrator's tentative resolution of a moral problem i s subtly modified by the coda, dramatizing the inconclusive nature of Marlow's experience. In Lord Jim Marlow's attempt to sum up, to speak "the l a s t words about Jim," reveals an i n a b i l i t y to decide whether the experience of Patusan has redeemed that of the Patna. In contrast to "Youth," the f i r s t - p e r s o n narrator's 122 statement i s s c e p t i c a l , and his audience, the s i l e n t reader who receives Marlow's l e t t e r , does not reappear to answer the question "Who knows? He i s gone, inscrutable at heart. . . . " In both "Heart of Darkness" and Lord Jim the techniques that Conrad uses to recapitulate the moral ideas of "Youth" (Marlow's summary and the l i s t e n e r s ' response) create ambiguity and involve the reader i n c o n f l i c t i n g i n t e r p r e t -ations. Common to a l l three narratives, however, i s one of the ess e n t i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the o r a l t r a d i t i o n Conrad i s imitating; that i s , the s t o r y t e l l e r ' s assumption that his 1 s audience shares c e r t a i n values and experiences. J On the deck of the N e l l i e Marlow can appeal to "the fellowship of the c r a f t " and p a t r i o t i c emotions i n order to involve his l i s t e n e r s i n the t a l e . S i m i l a r l y , Marlow's r e f r a i n , "He was one of us," which helps give Lord Jim thematic and st r u c t u r a l coherence, invokes standards of conduct which are accepted without question by the dinner guests and, i n d i r e c t l y , the reader. In both works, therefore, Conrad i s able to test the v a l i d i t y of public attitudes toward e f f i c i e n t labour, patriotism, and professional ethics because Marlow's communication with his l i s t e n e r s depends, to some degree, on these very "norms." In contrast, the narrator's appeal to group s o l i d a r i t y i n "Youth" i s unqualified; as we have seen, Conrad makes c u l t u r a l homogeneity a theme i n the story. Moreover, the revisions at the manuscript stage and before s e r i a l publication show that his desire to explore the " r a c i a l difference" of an English 123 crew governed his selection of material. "Youth" i s one of the writer's most autobiographical works, although G. Jean-Aubrey's description of the story as "precisely i n every d e t a i l the 16 story of the barque Palestine" i s , of course, an overstate-ment. In his pioneering study of Conrad's sources and methods, John D. Gordan points out that the value of i d e n t i f y i n g the h i s t o r i c a l events that have inspired the f i c t i o n l i e s i n an 17 understanding of how the writer used his raw materials. A pertinent example can be found i n the discrepancy between the f i c t i o n a l crew of "Liverpool hard cases" and the men who a c t u a l l y s a i l e d from Falmouth for Bangkok. Najder t e l l s us that " i n f a c t there was not a single Liverpudlian on the Palestine. Five men came from Cornwall, one from Ireland, and the remainder were f o r e i g n e r s — a n Australian, a Negro from the 18 A n t i l l e s , a Dutchman, and a Norwegian." A fascinating case of transformation from f a c t to f i c t i o n i s revealed i n the r e v i s i o n s . At the point i n the manuscript when the ship prepares to leave Newcastle with her cargo, Conrad introduces a modified description of the h i s t o r i c a l crew: They loaded us at l a s t . We shipped a crew. (I don't remember that l o t well) Eight able seamen and two boys. There (was a) were amongst them a big Irishman c a l l e d S u l l i v a n , of course, and an East Coast chap with (xxx) a kind of apostle face, You know big swimming eyes a serene (face) expression and rather long f a i r h a i r . These were i n my watch together with a f a t smoothfaced Dutchman who spoke i n a warbling tone and another man—a l i t t l e lean c h o l e r i c chap with black e y e s — a Welshman. (AMS12a-13a) Notice that, although i n his f i r s t c ancellation Conrad has 124 Marlow admit to a f a u l t y memory of the crew's composition, the completed description i s concrete and detailed. Whether pa r t l y by invention or partly by r e c o l l e c t i o n of shipmates from d i f f e r e n t ships as well as from the Palestine, Conrad creates an impression of national heterogeneity similar to the composition of the actual crew. However, by having t h i s crew leave from Newcastle rather than Falmouth (because the men disband when the ship puts back into port to be stripped and caulked) Conrad i s able to introduce the "Liverpool hard cases" at the c r u c i a l point when the Judea s a i l s from Falmouth on her l a s t , doomed attempt to reach Bangkok. Conrad's revisions to the manuscript include a cancelled reference to a member of t h i s l a s t crew to board ship, who i s not from Liverpool. He i s "an old s a i l o r c a l l e d Jennings the only man i n Falmouth who had the courage to ship with us" (AMS38a). Conrad must have decided that to include a native of the region would diminish the force of his statement that "the story of the ship was known, by t h i s [the departure of the Judea's rats] a l l up the Channel from (the Lizards) Land's End to the Forelands, and we could get no crew on the south coast." Moreover, by drawing the old s a i l o r to the reader's attention, as he does i n the f i r s t d raft when he t e l l s us that Jennings owns a monkey, "an ugly old l i t t l e brute l i k e d by none but i t s owner," the writer obscures the most important fa c t i n Marlow's account; that i s , that a new crew had to be sent " a l l complete" from Liverpool. Conrad's desire to foreground t h i s information 125 probably led to the cancellation, and to a more substantial r e v i s i o n before the s e r i a l publication. At the typescript stage he decided to omit his detailed description of the men who s a i l from Newcastle, i n the passage quoted above. In both the Blackwood's version and the book e d i t i o n , therefore, the text reads: "They loaded us at l a s t . We shipped a crew. Eight able seamen and two boys. We hauled o f f one evening to the buoys at the dock-gates" (7). The elimination of descriptive d e t a i l from Marlow's reference achieves the same r h e t o r i c a l e f f e c t as the decision to exclude Jennings and his monkey; i t foregrounds the crew from Liverpool, with i t s impressive d i s c i p l i n e and s p i r i t . When the reader r e c a l l s the events of the story, he i s able to v i s u a l i z e only one group of men—the black-faced, bandaged "scarecrows" who trim the yards of the wreck. And, as we have seen, part of Conrad's narrative strategy involves emphasizing the heroic aspect of t h i s crew's performance. "Youth" car r i e s on the affirmative view of s o l i d a r i t y through collaborative labour expressed i n the l a s t few pages °f The Nigger of the Narcissus without documenting the lapses and exceptions that give the novel i t s moral realism. Because the romantic egocentricity of young Marlow i s repeatedly and passionately invoked by the middle-aged narrator, c r i t i c s have tended to either minimize the theme of s o l i d a r i t y or overlook 19 i t e n t i r e l y . Yet, as we have seen i n the coda, Marlow suggests that the idealism of youth i s f u l l y r e a l i z e d only 126 through the conditions of l i f e at sea. One of these conditions, communal labour i n the service of the ship, i s dramatized frequently i n the story: "Everyone took his turn, captain included. There was equality, and i f not exactly f r a t e r n i t y , then a deal of good f e e l i n g . Sometimes a man, as he dashed a bucketful of water down the hatchway, would y e l l out, 'Hurrah for Bankok!' and the rest laughed." (21) Even Mrs. Beard, by preparing the " o u t f i t s " for the captain and his second mate, contributes i n an i n d i r e c t way to the s a i l i n g of the Judea. Relating the episodes i n which the men's endurance i s tested to the f u l l e s t , Conrad s h i f t s the narrative perspective to the f i r s t - p e r s o n p l u r a l , r e c a l l i n g the technique he had used to make the crew the hero of The Nigger of the Narcissus: "There was for us no sky, there were for us no stars, no sun, no universe—nothing but angry clouds and an i n f u r i a t e d sea. We pumped watch and watch, for dear l i f e ; and i t seemed to l a s t for months, for years, for a l l eternity, as though we had been dead and gone to a h e l l for s a i l o r s . We forgot the day of the week, the name of the month, what year i t was, and whether we had ever been ashore . . . we turned, we turned incessantly, with the water to our waists, to our necks, over our heads. It was a l l one. We had forgotten how i t f e l t to be dry. And there was somewhere i n me the thought: By