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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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同時代を生きる

 



 

Yutaは雑誌Economistで最初に読むのは書評のところです。先週号で気になった本はこちら。正直コンラッドは読みやすい作家ではないのでYet readers today are often deterred by Conrad’s convoluted, prolix styleと書いてあるとほっとします。

 

Restless soul

Joseph Conrad, the first novelist of globalisation

Raised speaking Polish and French, Joseph Conrad didn’t learn English until he was 21. But he became one of the finest of English writers

 

In 1948 F.R. Leavis, a well-known literary critic at Cambridge University, listed him in “The Great Tradition” as being up there with Jane Austen, George Eliot and Henry James. Eight years later Walter Allen, another critic, wrote that “Nostromo” was arguably “the greatest novel in English of this century”. “Heart of Darkness” gained a new audience through “Apocalypse Now”, Francis Ford Coppola’s epic war film of 1979.

 

Yet readers today are often deterred by Conrad’s convoluted, prolix style. This is a pity. Many of his novels and short stories richly reward perseverance. As Maya Jasanoff, professor of British and imperial history at Harvard University, argues in a new book that blends history and literary criticism, Conrad wrote “at the turn of the 20th century” of many of the global forces and perils that afflict the world today.

 

*******

 

Ms Jasanoff says she set out to explore Conrad’s world “with the compass of a historian, the chart of a biographer, and the navigational sextant of a fiction reader”, and these have served her well. Anthony Powell, a novelist, once described Conrad as “an enigmatic figure. The more we read about him, the less we seem to know him.” This biography may not fully reveal the mystery behind the man, but it is a powerful encouragement to read his books.

 

コンラッドを我々と同時代の問題を生きた作家と捉え直して取り上げた本が出たそうで、読み始めました。動画はハーバード大学への入学を希望する高校生向けの講演でしょうか。動画と同じような導入をGuardianへの寄稿でもしていました。

 

How Joseph Conrad foresaw the dark heart ofBrexit Britain

From financial crises to the threat of terrorism, the works of the Polish-British author display remarkable insight into an era, like ours, of elemental change in a globalised world

Maya Jasanoff

Saturday 28 October 2017 12.00 BST

 

Aterrorist bombing in London, a shipping accident in southeast Asia, political unrest in a South American republic and mass violence in central Africa: each of these topics has made headlines in the past few months. But these “news” stories have also been in circulation for more than a century, as plotlines in the novels of Joseph Conrad, one of the greatest and most controversial modern English writers.

 

******

 

Today, more than ever, Conrad demands our attention for his insight into the moral challenges of a globalised world. In an age of Islamist terrorism, it is striking to note that the same author who condemned imperialism in Heart of Darkness (1899) also wrote The Secret Agent (1907), which centres around a conspiracy of foreign terrorists in London. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, it is uncanny to read Conrad in Nostromo (1904) portraying multinational capitalism as a maker and breaker of states. As the digital revolution gathers momentum, one finds Conrad writing movingly, in Lord Jim (1900) and many other works set at sea, about the consequences of technological disruption. As debates about immigration unsettle Europe and the US, one can only marvel afresh at how Conrad produced any of these books in English – his third language, which he learned only as an adult.

 

本自体を読み始めたばかりですが、実際にコンゴに赴いてもいるそうで、New York Timesにも寄稿していました。

 

With Conrad on the Congo River

What counts as progress? I traveled to Africa to see what has,

and hasn’t, changed since the author’s visit over a century ago.

By MAYA JASANOFFAUG. 18, 2017

 

本を読む上で気になるのはコンラッドの同時代性を強調しようとするあまりご都合主義的に取り上げてしまわないかということです。まさにそのように感じだ読者もいるようでNew York Timesの記事に対して現在のコンゴの後進性ばかりを強調していると非難している人もいました。

 

The Complexity of Congo

AUG. 23, 2017

 To the Editor:

 

With Conrad on the Congo River,” by Maya Jasanoff (Sunday Review, Aug. 20), presents the Democratic Republic of Congo as an otherworldly and exotic place, objectifying its subjects in a way that reeks of condescension and colonialist attitudes. Ms. Jasanoff does not quote a single Congolese by name.

 

She claims that in “The Heart of Darkness,” Joseph Conrad “portrayed Africa … as irredeemably backward,” yet her own focus on Congo’s poverty and dysfunction risks repeating the same mistake.

 

Having traveled extensively in Congo since 1992, I can say that this depiction of Congo shows a limited vision of the modern Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Congo is a troubled country that has faced international exploitation because of its wealth of natural resources. Yet it has cities with tall buildings, airports and paved roads. The Congolese people use cellphones and Twitter, and they fight for democracy and oppose oppression from both inside and abroad.

 

この本ばかりではなく久々にコンラッドを読んでみようという気になりました。

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