Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November's books

#3, Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (1899)

This novel literally did change my way of thinking about time, space, the narrative, the possibilities of how a story could be told--not so much about the content (but yes, there too) but about the way in which a storyteller unwinds her tale for an audience... which I will be doing today, by the way, so I hope the Ghost of Joseph Conrad is with me as I manifest my tale to the ears of my audience...

Literally, a story within a story within a story... a Chinese puzzle box, a magic trick, a dream narrative, a myth, a very modern telling of a man's relationship with another man... and the unknowable gap that lies between us, making it possible to know and impossible to understand another human being completely... and maybe even ourselves.

I read this novel for a course in the Modern Novel that I took as a sophomore and that I ahd no business being in. Grad students and seniors were with me, and I was in over my head... except for the teacher who made literature--including Conrad, Woolf, Hemingway, Forster, and others--both beautiful and comprehensible. Delightful, magical, and what all good literature should be, a gateway to something beyond us that is still knowable. What a lovely memory!

1 comment:

  1. I read Heart of Darkness and was surprised at just HOW close it was to Apocalypse Now.

    I'll have to read Lord Jim. It must be laying about somewhere in the 1800 books in my house.


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