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127 implication as Conrad ever created. In the handling of this rich and at times confusing narrative, Mrs. Hay improves occasionally upon the work of Guerard and Moser, who were equally aware of its difficulty. In her discussion of UNDER WESTERN EYES, Mrs. Hay's strengths converge. The political subject, particularly Conrad's opinions about socialism and democracy, revolution and Russia, is close both geographically and emotionally to the Polish inheritance. The analysis of Razumov's response to the betrayal, on the other hand, displays unusual tact in the judgment of complex moral issues. Of course, Razumov's career, like Nostromo's, is not exhausted by its political meaning. What Conrad signifies by Razumov's words, "I am independent—and therefore perdition is my lot" is surely more than "excommunication from the world" (p. 310) as Mrs. Hay interprets it. The punishment is fitting; that we can see. But to be independent is not only to be isolated. Mrs. Hay remarks that Conrad doubted religious conceptions of expiation and that Razumov's punishment is therefore "the physical embodiment of a mental state already In existence." (p. 310) To be "independent," if a mental state and a continuing one is also a condemned state. The tragic lot is the outcome of a terrible independence, which can only mean, as Mrs. Hay's own words could have suggested to her, man's final responsibility for his actions. No "expiation"—this Is Conrad's view as Mrs. Hay sees—modifies that responsibility. The fact is too, however, that the fulfillment of his lot unites Razumov with his fellow Russians. Conrad knows what price is paid for a common humanity. Mrs. Hay's conclusions lead to others; that is the virtue of her book. The chapter on HEART OF DARKNESS, for example, elucidates, or at least names, the question whether the jungle is "evil in the sense of intrinsically alien to man's social instincts, as both Guerard and Moser [with whose work Mrs. Hay has obviously worked closely] imply, or whether primitive life represents the 'existential' truth of human relationships which has had to be suppressed by violent 'elvi 1 izers. '" (p. 148) Mrs. Hay thinks that Conrad supposed no easy contrary between civilization and the jungle; Marlow, she notes, regards the "savage" as humane in his own society as the white man in his. She corrects both directly and indirectly some misplaced emphases and some misinterpretations. The material assembled as the "political novel" is substantial, and Mrs, Hay is nearly always cogent on the moral perplexities in which the political dilemmas are created. If the political novels are other things as well, this book is seldom the less for that fact. University of California, Davis T, A, Hanzo 2. Spokesman for the Avant-garde (1890-1915) Glenn S. Burne. REMY DE GOURMOUNT: HIS IDEAS AND INFLUENCE IN ENGLAND AND AMERICA. Carbondale: Southern Illinois U P, 1963. $4.50. Professor Glenn S. Burne's little (194 pp) book on Remy de Gourmont (1858-1915) is a fine introduction to this much neglected but very important writer. Gourmont wrote a great deal and in a great variety of forms: novels, stories, poetry, plays, critical and philosophical essays, miscellaneous journalism, translations from Spanish, Italian, Latin, and English. V/hile some nineteen 128 or twenty of Gourmont's works have been translated into English, many by Pound and Aldington, nearly all are out of print and, in any event, little known. Perhaps the essays collected in English translation as DECADENCE AND OTHER ESSAYS ON THE CULTURE OF IDEAS (1921) are best-known to English-speaking readers. But it is regrettable that some of his creative work is not better known: FLEURS DE JADIS (poetry, 1893), HIEROGLYPHES (poetry, 1894), HISTOIRES MAGIQUES (stories, 1894), and PROSE MOROSES (stories, 1894), ORAISONS MAUVAISES (poetry, 1900), COULEURS (stories, 1908). Similarly, much more of his critical and philosophical work should be available in English: LE PROBLEME DU STYLE (1902), some of the PROMENADES LITTERAIRES and PROMENADES PHILOSOPHIQUES series, LIVRES DES MASQUES (1896 and I898), and so. on. Gourment, as editor of the MERCURE DE FRANCE from I89I to 1915, had associations with or commented on most of the major literary movements and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 127-128
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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