Abstract

Abstract:

Conrad wrote a letter to his friend R. B. Cunninghame Graham on 20 December 1897, its centerpiece the image of a knitting machine. Conrad teased Graham for his romantic optimism and socialist utopianism, telling him that human beings exist in a cosmos sublimely indifferent to their fate, set up for some inscrutable purpose that has nothing in the least to do with them. He explains the universe as a cosmic knitting machine, seemingly an image of blind and prosaic repetition, both industrial and bathetic, a brilliantly improvised deflation of Cunninghame Graham's romantic panache that also forecloses tragic grandiloquence just as it issues a comic protest against its own absurdity. But there is much more to the choice of the knitting machine. In a later letter to Cunninghame Graham on 14 January 1898, Conrad returned to the image but this time imagining it differently. This discussion explains why.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 333-345
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-16
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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