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» » Lord Jim: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Essays in Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Lord Jim: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Essays in Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition) e-book


Thomas C. Moser,Joseph Conrad






History & Criticism

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W. W. Norton & Co Inc.; 1st Edition edition (August 1968)





Lord Jim: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Essays in Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition) e-book

by Thomas C. Moser,Joseph Conrad

Dr. Sherry is the author of Conrad's Eastern World. He was born Jozef Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857, in the Polish Ukraine.

After reading Lord Jim, a comparison with Heart of Darkness is unavoidable.

Among the perspectives presented in "Criticism" are those of Hugh Clifford . oceedings{Conrad1996LordJ, title {Lord Jim : authoritative text, backgrounds, sources, criticism}, author {Joseph Conrad and Thomas C. Moser}, year {1996} }. Joseph Conrad, Thomas C. Moser.

Among the perspectives presented in "Criticism" are those of Hugh Clifford, Albert J. Guerard, Ian Watt, Fredric Jameson, J. Hillis Miller, Edward Said, Philip M. Weinstein, Paul B. Armstrong, Marianne DeKoven, and Daphana Erdinast-Vulcan.

Travelling to the heart of the African continent, he discovers how Kurtz has gained his position of power and influence over the local people. Marlow's struggle to fathom his experience involves him in a radical questioning of not only his own nature and values but the nature and values of his society.

Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960. Heart of Darkness: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism. Moser, Thomas C. Joseph Conrad: Achievement and Decline. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957. Contains a wide assortment of background materials and critical works on the novella. Knowles, Owen, and Gene M. Moore. Oxford Reader’s Companion to Conrad.

Published by W. W. Norton, New York (1968). Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born to Polish parents in Berdychiv (now Ukraine).

Get started today for free. m's literary cards 2011-05-20.

Lord Jim has been analysed, reviewed, deconstructed, discussed or explained thousands of times over the last 120 years since publication. I have little little to add to that.

I first read it as assigned reading. Either late high school or early college -I don’t recall which. I found the style tedious. It had been “sold” as an adventure story I was sure to enjoy but I was just glad to be done with it when I finally put away it down. Now, five decades later it is a completely different book. The long descriptive passages paint irresistible pictures in the mind. Jim’s character still hold mysteries but ones I get my head around. On reaching the end instead of putting it down with relief I found myself starring off in to the distance for half an hour. Days later I catch myself wondering about Jim. I can’t say I now know the meaning of the thing, but there is something. . .
Joseph Conrad was one of the best English writers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His take on the self assigned class of privilege abused by the Europeans at that time is spot on. His description of Jim as a person not able to accept his own imperfections and his self imposed banishment draws the reader to inspect their own values. Bring your dictionary because Conrad's use of the English language of that period is amazing for someone that was not fluent in the language until his mid - twenties. Even though I read the novel in high school (six decades ago) it was like reading something new. In my opinion it takes a mature mind to grasp the intricate nature of the story. I read it with a group and we were provoked into hours of discussion. Hooray for another classical writer of the past century. Refreshing enough to make many of the current writers seem like school children. I am now trapped into reading Conrad's other works.
Lord Jim is one of the few books that one finds it necessary to reread at least every decade or so. I suppose most of us are introduced to the classic Marlow-narrated books when one is quite young. And one feels the same sort of deep ambiguity in reading the novella Youth, the longer Heart of Darkness and the even longer Lord Jim. - Also, one has perhaps begun to doubt the greatness of a writer whose THIRD language was English. - Let it be said: It is always reaffirmed. The "unreliable narrator" ambiguity herein is the subject of many a dissertation. I'm not covering it here because there is always - it has always struck me - a deeper ambiguity. With whom does the reader identify? Which character captures his/her imagination? It has become almost a truism that one comes to identify with the older Marlow as one ages rather than be captivated by the subjects of his stories: the younger Marlow in Youth, the mad Kurtz or the idealistic Jim. The catch lies, of course, in the fact that this older narrator is himself captivated by his younger doppelganger, in some form. I suppose one might dub it the transitive property of narration. That is to say, you perhaps identify with Marlow now, but Marlow is fascinated with "X", ergo, you are still fascinated with "X," only removed, like Marlowe, by your own life experience.

Right. Why is Marlowe, why does the reader become so fascinated with Jim? I think primarily because, as Marlow continually intones throughout the book: "I only knew that he was one of us." - Meaning many things, but primarily for the reader, that his soul is a noble tabula rasa embarking on life before experience and defeat have crippled his idealism. It's not as simple as the question of "lost illusions" - for one thing Jim never loses his - It's more the question of whether they are illusions in the first place. As Stein (my personal favourite character herein) says:

"A man that is born falls into a dream like a man that falls into the sea."

The novel is ultimately asking us what, if anything, is real. Marlow says of his last visit to Jim on Patusa:

"It was a strange and melancholy illusion, evolved half-consciously like all our illusions, which I suspect only to be visions of some remote unattainable truth, seen dimly."

The power of Conrad's writing is nowhere more apparent than when in posing this question:

"It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun. It is as if loneliness were a hard and absolute condition of existence; the envelope of flesh and blood on which our eyes are fixed melts before the outstretched hand, and there remains only the capricious, unconsolable, and elusive spirit that no eye can follow, no hand can grasp."

As we stretch out the tendrils of our imagination towards Jim and Marlowe throughout the book, we, like them, are continually dogged by, well, life. Conrad doesn't proffer any answers to the complex issues to which the book gives rise. As Marlow addresses the auditors of his story:

"You may be able to tell better, since the proverb has it that the onlookers see most of the game."

In other words, the reader must find his or her own way on the high narrative seas. But it would be disingenuous of me not to reveal what kept coming back to this reader, as it does to Marlow - Those words of Stein:

"Ah! He was romantic, romantic."
I read this novel because my son was reading it in his English lit class. It is an excellent literary work that is understandable both on the story telling level as well as the thematic level. Jim's story is suspenseful and surprising at times. The soul of his character is profoundly touching. "He is one of us," and we are Jim. How do we face up to our failures and faults when at the beginning of life we are so sure that we are one kind of person only to discover by "accidental" circumstances that we aren't that person at all, no matter how much we want to be. But, in discovering who we really are life gives us another, perhaps many more, chance(s) to become who we want to be. But even then we fall short because, after all we're only human!

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