Conrad's Eastern Vision: A Vain and Floating Appearance by Agnes Swee Kim Yeow

By Agnes Swee Kim Yeow

This booklet strains the dialogic relation among Conrad's jap fiction and different histories and argues that it's accurately within the intersections of paintings and heritage that we find Conrad's irony. The dialogism of Conrad's East resists any finalising that means and its loophole lies in subjective imaginative and prescient. In an immediate reaction to the visible tradition of his instances, Conrad units up his fictional international as a hallucinated mirage while he stresses the veracity of his personal jap imaginative and prescient.

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Nevertheless, as we shall see, Conrad claims a truth which belongs to ‘his own heart’s gospel’ (CL 1: 253) and which makes the reader see a world which is open, fluid, and most of all, romantic. 1 The Collision of Indistinct Ideas the reality of the universe alone remained – a marvellous thing of darkness and glimmers. (TU 9) One of Conrad’s earliest readers was not impressed with the way in which the real Captain William Lingard was represented in Almayer’s Folly. Hans van Marle argues that this reaction demonstrates how Conrad’s ‘Tom Lingard was an easily recognizable figure for old hands in Singapore’.

All things considered, Conrad’s attitude to imperialism may remain problematic and ambivalent to many but, nonetheless, he clearly entertained serious doubts about totalizing colonial claims to absolute ‘knowledge’, ‘truth’, or the ‘real’ facts pertaining to the colonized as the following discussion will show. Among the ‘facts’ which were contested in colonial circles include the phenomena of the real Malay and its racial and political implications. Shamsul Amri Baharuddin notes that for the British administration, the definition of ‘Malay’ was also a practical necessity in matters such as the reservation of customary land.

Here, Conrad appears to imply that facts only matter to the historian and to suggest that history is unknowable, obscure, and ‘secret’ in spite of the facts. And yet, ironically, dull facts do and must surely matter for a novelist who aspires to be ‘a historian, the preserver, the keeper, the expounder, of human experience’ (NLL 17). J. Resink remark thus: Thanks to Conrad’s literary genius, his writings give a number of glimpses into international legal and international economic conditions in Indonesia during the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such as no other writer has been able to provide – this even though we now know that he frequently saw the archipelago through what the Spanish call the ‘front eyes’ (anteojos, spectacles) of those who preceded him.

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