Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Chance: Joseph Conrad

 No, Joseph, no. Banging on about how the things that happen to your characters are the result of "chance" is nothing but assertion. You can't prove a thing by strident reiteration. Nor can you prove it by offering a story of your own invention by way of evidence. Your belief in the randomness of the universe is prejudice not philosophy- and no more convincing than Hardy's idea that his people are being mucked about by the President of the Immortals and his gang.  You look at the stars and see icy indifference; I look at the stars and see home. Neither of us have what it takes to establish our case in a court of law.

Preachy lot, you Edwardians. I guess it has a lot to do with coming in at the tail end of the Darwinian controversy. Conventional Christianity has been swept away and you're all a bit anxious and unsettled and loudly talking up your preferred alternative. There's Wells looking to the future (sometimes in hope and sometimes in despair), there's Chesterton and Belloc wanting to bring back medieval Catholicism, there's Kipling and the Empire, there's Shaw with his socialism and his Nietzsche and seltzer- and then there's you with your pagan nihilism. Interesting times. Not sorry they're over. 

Otherwise, I'm enjoying your book. You're a great story-teller, a remarkable craftsman. But I do think a lot of what you'd like us to accept as wisdom is just high-sounding flim-flam- and no more so than when your man Marlow is making generalisations about the sexes and the differences between them.  Also, what a misanthrope you are! I admire you enormously but can't say I like you any more than you like us.
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