By John G. Peters
John Peters investigates the impression of Impressionism on Conrad and hyperlinks this to his literary innovations in addition to his philosophical and political opinions. Impressionism, Peters argues, enabled Conrad to surround either floor and intensity not just in visually perceived phenomena but in addition in his narratives and items of awareness, be they actual items, human topics, occasions or rules. Conrad and Impressionism investigates the resources and implications of Conrad's impressionism which will argue for a constant hyperlink between his literary strategy, philosophical presuppositions and socio-political perspectives.
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A]ll these gods must, after a short period of fellowship, abandon him – even on the very threshold of the temple – to the stammerings of his conscience and to the outspoken consciousness of the difficulties of his work. (NN xiv–xv) Conrad further clarifies his views on literary movements in a letter written to Barrett Clark many years later: ‘‘I am no slave to prejudices and formulas, and I shall never be. ’’⁷⁶ Clearly, Conrad felt that artists cannot enslave themselves to a particular school of thought, but as discussed earlier this is precisely the impressionists’ position.
One remembers points that one has forgotten and one explains them all the more minutely since one recognises that one has forgotten to mention them in their proper places and that one may have given, by omitting them, a false impression. I console myself with thinking that this is a real story and that, after all, real stories are probably told best in the way a person telling a story would tell them. ⁵⁹ This passage explains why Dowell narrates achronologically: both to represent the manner in which a storyteller sometimes introduces details out of sequence and to make the story real for the reader.
Throughout the novel, Conrad consistently depicts time as an object of consciousness filtering through individual human minds and representing the individuality of human experience of phenomena. Even more surprising, although Guerard suggests that ‘‘the slighter Chance . . anticipates the full Faulknerian extension of the impressionistic method,’’⁹⁷ he also sees a strongly realistic aspect of the novel: The Conrad who conceived the various evocative narrating voices of the early novels fell, at the end, into one of the worst of the realistic traps: to employ narrators or observers who by definition or by profession are unequipped to tell their stories effectively.