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31:2, Book Reviews Epstein, Ottoline Morrell, and Bernard Shaw, for instance. Dates are provided for some individuals but not others—Frank Doubleday (sic) and Hugh Clifford, for example. Some entries suffer from a paucity of useful information: Gide's translation of TAe Nigger deserves mention; the entry on Crane fails to note Conrad's preface to TAe Red Badge of Courage. The sections on Conrad's world (Poland, France, England, Africa, the East) and his languages are marred by superficiality, while the reminiscences in "Conrad Observed" sit oddly in a reference book. The chapters devoted to Conrad's works present a brief account of genesis and writing, contemporary critical reception—summarizing from Norman Sherry's Critical Heritage volume—and an assessment of "current" status. The textual histories rely heavily on Conrad's letters, and Page is wisely wary here of accepting Conrad's version of events. Leavis is invoked too often in the critical evaluations, a habit that leads one to question Page's biases and range. The specialist or serious student of Conrad will find nothing to justify acquiring the book, but the undergraduate pressed for time or not motivated to work diligently may find it handy. How little it succeeds in offering reliable and thoroughly informed "companionship" will be readily glimpsed in comparing it, say, to Keith Sagar's excellent D. H. Lawrence Handbook. J. H. Stape Université de Limoges CONRAD'S MYTHOLOGY Robert Wilson. Conrad's Mythology. Troy, NY: Whitston Publishing, 1987. $22.50 In Conrad's Mythology, Robert Wilson seems to be attempting to enter the august ranks of Conrad critics such as Albert J. Guerard, Thomas Moser, Avrom Fleishman , Norman Sherry, Zdzislaw Nadjer, Frederick R. Karl, and Ian Watt; but this attempt indicates that he might have profited by a solid acquaintance with their works. An overview of his so-called agenda includes a number of his main concepts, as noted here. Wilson examines Conrad's philosophy, his style of writing, the allegories in his works, and the sources of his religious and scientific concepts to find embedded symbolical representations in most of the fiction, allegories which Conrad presumably used to develop his "philosophy of pessimism" (2). He analyzes Conrad's multilevel style of writing as a "tripartite" structure which "combines several layers of (1) narrative or rendering; (2) symbol patterns extended to the point [at which] they constitute a mythology unique to Conrad; and (3) a final meaning derived from the previous two. The name for this tripartite structure," he tells us, "is 'Form'" (5). The sources of Conrad's 240 31:2, Book Reviews philosophy are Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, with borrowings from anthropology, Buddhism, and Hinduism, some of which are taken from the teachings of Emile Bemouf and F. Max Müller. From science, Conrad's major concern was the concept of entropy, but he displays a certain familiarity with the writings of Alfred A. Wallace, who included in his thinking natural evolution and the life processes on earth. According to Wilson, several of Conrad's early works, Almayer's Folly to Lord Jim, illustrate his unfavorable criticism of Christianity in its historical development and in its reaction with other religions of the world. "The Lagoon " and "The Black Mate," for example, attack specific Christian doctrines, especially that of personal morality, with Conrad's attitude being supported by materials drawn from T. H. Huxley, Ernest Renan, and David Hume. In his middle works also, Conrad shows classical Greek religion as related to beliefs of early man, to astronomy, to the destruction of the world, and to his own art. TAe Secret Agent merges Greek concepts with some of those of modem science to present a world moving on scientific precepts and bound to destmction. Conrad also applies hidden allegories to a study of his own in "Amy Foster." Despite Wilson's attribution of Conrad's method of writing to John Milton (11-13), TAe Rover suggests that Flaubert was the dominant influence on his style. His major study of art other than his own, TAe Arrow of Gold, focuses on the distinction William Bossuet drew between the aestheticism of the Greeks and the acquisitiveness of Christianity. In his later years, Wilson continues...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 240-242
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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