Friday, 2 March 2007

Joseph Conrad

I'm slowly working my way through "Chance" by Joseph Conrad (downloaded from the Gutenberg Project). Conrad can be a bit heavy going at times. After a promising start with an entertaining depiction of a newly qualified First Mate getting a commission, Conrad then gives us Marlow - the narrator of "Lord Jim" and "Heart of Darkness" - telling at great length about a rather unengaging domestic drama. He does have this to say, however, on the subject of Blogging:

"[...]She did not answer me for a time, and as I waited I thought that there's nothing like a confession to make one look mad; and that of all confessions a written one is the most detrimental all round. Never confess! Never, never! An untimely joke is a source of bitter regret always. Sometimes it may ruin a man; not because it is a joke, but because it is untimely. And a confession of whatever sort is always untimely. The only thing which makes it supportable for a while is curiosity. You smile? Ah, but it is so, or else people would be sent to the rightabout at the second sentence. How many sympathetic souls can you reckon on in the world? One in ten, one in a hundred--in a thousand--in ten thousand? Ah! What a sell these confessions are! What a horrible sell! You seek sympathy, and all you get is the most evanescent sense of relief--if you get that much. For a confession, whatever it may be, stirs the secret depths of the hearer's character. Often depths that he himself is but dimly aware of. And so the righteous triumph secretly, the lucky are amused, the strong are disgusted, the weak either upset or irritated with you according to the measure of their sincerity with themselves. And all of them in their hearts brand you for either mad or impudent . . . "