Joseph Conrad: A Credo of Visualisation

" Begin at the beginning", said the King gravely, and go on till you come to the end, then stop." ( Lewis Caroll ,Alice in Wonderland) A simple Alice -in -Wonderland statement that connotes and bodies forth the pre-Cinematic era of daguerro type montage- " a kind of alternate to the theatre with various sorts of static, stagey, lengthy tableaus". A leap into the realm of Victorian and early modernist fiction gives a similar 'oeuvre' of beginning, middle and end. The movement away from this scenographic syndrome was painfully slow and needed aThomas Hardy or a Joseph Conrad to give it a cinematic perspective. Joseph Conrad, the writer, was interested in only what he called, the "truth of life". Perhaps, no writer has prepared himself to tell the truth more thoroughly, more conscientiously , than Conrad. It is worth emphasizing that Conrad aimed for nothing less than an imaginative and artistic vision of life. Other views of it-political ,sociological, religious- he repudiated. It was in this obssessive telling of the 'truth', that Conrad's narrative falls back constantly upon the cinematic mode of visually concretized details.

Part of the Dream Weave Walk 1999-2007

Joseph Conrad: A Credo of Visualisation; Part-2

In order to concretize visuals with microscopic accuracy and to present the 'whole' truth, Conrad attempted energetically to shun the temptation to use the God-like authorial privelege where the author presides over his self-created world of fiction. To resolve the problem of the author as an omniscient observor Conrad invented surrogates for himself.

The 'Heart of Darkness', undoubtedly, begins with the god-like eye of the 'outside narrator' ,who takes the reader abroad the 'Nellie', a cruising yawl,which swung to her anchor without a flutter of sails and was at rest". The sea-search of the Thames stretched before ...

... us like the beginning of an interminable waterway. In the offing, the sea and the sky were welded together, without a joint and in the luminious space, the tamed sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of cannas sharply peaked with gleams of varnished spirits. A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend and further back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest and the greatest town on earth...

Part of the Dream Weave Walk 1999-2007

Joseph Conrad: A Credo of Visualisation; Part-3

... The Director of Companies was our Captain and our host..
... On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so nautical. He resembled a pilot which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified...
...The lawyer- the best of old fellows had because of his many years and many virtues, the only cushion on the deck, and was lying on the only rug...
... The Accountant had brought out already a box of dominoes and was toying with them architecturally. Marlow sat cross-legged right aft, leaning against the Mizzen mast. He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion , a straight back, an ascetic aspect and with his arms dropped resembled an idol...(p.5 &p 6)
" Mind", he began again, lifting one arm from from the elbow, the palm of the hand outwards so that with his legs folded before him, he had the pose of a Buddha preaching in European clothes.(p.9&p10) Here , the god-like narrator oversees the scenic details of the Nellie, swaying on the Thames and with a chess-player's accuracy, places the characters on board the Nellie, with thumb-nail sketches tagged on , describing not only, the 'virtual' present but also dipping into the characters' backgrounds and future possibilities.

Part of the Dream Weave Walk 1999-2007