A central theme of the novel is the tragic nature of Axel Heyst's philosophical detachment from human life, and Conrad's own vision of the need for some kind of involvement in the human community. Although Conrad was in many ways a skeptic about human ideals, like Axel Heyst's father, the philosopher who published a number of books expressing a philosophy similar to Schopenhauer's intellectual pessimism, Conrad the artist and thinker recognized the importance of involvement and commitment to the human community. Hence the novel may be viewed from one perspective as the tragic consequence of Heyst's inadequate involvement with humanity.
Ironically, however, it is not until Heyst becomes involved first with Morrison and then with Lena that the fatal momentum of the final events in his life begins.
Thus another theme of the novel is the grim recognition that involvement with humanity, even relatively innocent people like Morrison and...
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Joseph Conrad Biographies (7)
1,842 words, approx. 7 pages
The Polish-born English novelist Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was concerned with men under stress, deprived of the ordinary supports of civilized life and forced to confront the mystery of human individu...
6,281 words, approx. 21 pages
Writing in his The Great Tradition, the respected critic F. R. Leavis noted that Joseph Conrad "is among the greatest novelists in the language--in any language." Indeed, language is at the very heart...
2,101 words, approx. 8 pages
Joseph Conrad 's reputation as a literary figure of major proportions rests entirely on his fiction. In relation to this large canon his dramatic works are incidental, derivative, and slight in volume...
19,212 words, approx. 65 pages
Joseph Conrad is now widely accepted as one of the modernist masters of serious narrative fiction. Historically placed, he is a major figure in the transition from Victorian fiction to the more perpl...
3,377 words, approx. 12 pages
Joseph Conrad's reputation as a major modern writer rests almost exclusively on his novels and short fiction. But even if his five volumes of occasional writings only infrequently achieve the high dis...
12,447 words, approx. 42 pages
The short fiction of Joseph Conrad is central to his literary achievement. Conrad wrote forty-three works of fiction, of which thirty-one are short, ranging from stories of a few pages to novellas of ...
19,918 words, approx. 67 pages
Biography EssayJoseph Conrad is now widely accepted as one of the modernist masters of serious narrative fiction. Historically placed, he is a major figure in the transition from Victorian fiction to ...