c的笔记本对《Heart Of Darkness With The Congo Diary》的笔记(3)

Heart Of Darkness With The Congo Diary
  • 书名: Heart Of Darkness With The Congo Diary
  • 作者: Joseph Conrad
  • 页数: 166
  • 出版社: Penguin Classics
  • 出版年: 1995
  • I

    He was the only man of us who still "followed the sea". The worst that could be said of him was that he did not represent his class. He was a seaman, but he was a wonderer too, while most seamen lead, if one may so express it, a sedentary life. Their minds are of the stay-at-home order, and their home is always with them -- the ship; and so is their country -- the sea. One ship is very much like another, and the sea is always the same. In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance; for their is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny. For the rest, after his hours of work, a casual stroll or a casual spree on shore suffices to unfold for him the secret of a whole continent, and generally he finds the secret not worth knowing. ... It appears the Company had received news that one of their captains had been killed in a scuffle with the natives. This was my chance, and it made me the more anxious to go. It was only months and months afterwards, when I made the attempt to recover what was left of the body, that I heard the original quarrel arose from a misunderstanding about some hens. Yes, two black hens. Fresleven -- that was the fellow's name, a Dane -- thought himself wronged somehow in the bargain, so he went ashore and started to hammer the chief of the village with a stick. Oh, it didn't surprise me in the least to hear this, and at the same time to be told that Fresleven was the gentlest, quietest creature that ever walked on two legs. No doubt he was; but he had been a couple of years already out there engaged in the noble cause, you know, and he probably felt the need at last of asserting his self-respect in some way. Therefore he whacked the old nigger mercilessly, while a big crowd of his people watched him, thunder-struck, till some man -- I was told the chief's son -- in desperation at hearing the old chap yell, made a tentative jab with a spear at the white man -- and of course it went quite easy between the shoulder-blades. Then the whole population cleared into the forest, expecting all kinds of calamities to happen, while, on the other hand, the steamer Fresleven commanded left also in a bad panic, in charge of the engineer, I believe. Afterwards nobody seemed to trouble much about Fresleven's remains, till I got out and stepped into his shoes. I couldn't let it rest, though; but when an opportunity offered at last to meet my predecessor, the grass growing through his ribs was tall enough to hide his bones. They were all there. The supernatural being had not been touched after he fell. And the village was deserted, the huts gaped black, rotting, all askew within the fallen enclosures. A calamity had come to it, sure enough. The people had vanished. Mad terror had scattered them, men, women, and children, through the bush, and they had never returned. What became of the hens I don't know either. ... ... In a very few hours I arrived in a city that always makes me think of a whited sepulchre. Prejudice no doubt. I had no difficulty in finding the Company's offices. It was the biggest thing in the town, and everybody I met was full of it. They were going to run an over-sea empire, and make no end of coin by trade. ..... .... She glanced at me above the glasses. The swift and indifferent placidity of that look troubled me. Two youths with foolish and cheery countenances were being piloted over, and she threw at them the same quick glance of unconcerned wisdom. She seemed to know all about them and about me, too. An eerie feeling came over me. She seemed uncanny and fateful. Often far away there I thought of these two, guarding the door of Darkness, knitting black wool as for a warm pall, one introducing, introducing continuously to the unknown, the other scrutinizing the cheery and foolish faces with unconcerned old eyes. Ave! Old knitter of black wool. Morituri te salutant. Not many of those she looked at ever saw her again -- not half, by a long way. .... It was a little too early for the doctor, so I proposed a drink, and thereupon he developed a vein of joviality. As we sat over our vermouths he glorified the Company's business, and by-and-by I expressed casually my surprise at him not going out there. He became very cool and collected all at once. 'I am not such a fool as I look, quoth Plato to his disciples,' he said sententiously, emptied his glass with great resolution, and we rose. .... 'I always ask leave, in the interests of science, to measure the crania of those going out there,' he said. 'And when they come back, too?' I asked. 'Oh, I never see them,' he remarked; 'and, moreover, the changes take place inside, you know.' He smiled, as if at some quiet joke. 'So you are going out there. Famous. Interesting, too.' He gave mea searching glance, and made another note. 'Ever any madness in your family?' he asked, in a matter-of-fact tone. I felt very annoyed. 'Is that question in the interests of science, too?' 'it would be,' he said, without taking notice of my irritation, 'interesting for science to watch the mental changes of individuals, on the spot, but...... ....... ... The best way I can explain it to you is by saying that, for a second or two, I felt as though, instead of going to the centre of a continent, I were about to set off for the centre of the earth. ... ... You could see from afar the white of their eyeballs glistening. They shouted, sang; their bodies streamed with perspiration; they had faces like grotesque masks -- these chaps; but they had bone, muscle, a wild vitality, an intense energy of movement, that was as natural and true as the surf along their coast. They wanted no excuse for being there. They were a great comfort to look at. For a time I would feel I belonged still to a world of straightforward facts; but the feeling would not last long. ...

    2016-02-15 05:44:47 1人推荐 回应
  • II

    。。 Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the water-way ran on, deserted, into the gloom of over-shadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off for ever from everything you had known once -- somewhere -- far away -- in another existence perhaps. There were sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect. ... ... ... The reaches opened before us and closed behind, as if the forest had stepped leisurely across the water to bar the way for our return. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness. It was very quiet there. At night sometimes the roll of drums behind the curtain of trees would run up the river and remain sustained faintly, as if hovering in the air high over our heads, till the first break of day. Whether it meant war, peace, or prayer we could not tell. The dawns were heralded by the descent of a chill stillness; the wood-cutters slept, their fires burned low; the snapping of a twig would make you start. We were wanderers on prehistoric earth, on an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet. We could have fancied ourselves the first of men taking possession of an accursed inheritance, to be subdued at the cost of profound anguish and of excessive toil. But suddenly, as we struggled round a bend, there would be a glimpse of rush walls, of peaked grass-roofs, a burst of yells, a whirl of black limbs, a mass of hands clapping, of feet stamping, of bodies swaying, of eyes rolling, under the droop of heavy and motionless foliage. The steamer toiled along slowly on the edge of a black and incomprehensible frenzy. The prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us -- who could tell? We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings; we glided past like phantoms, wondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would be before an enthusiastic outbreak in a mad-house. We could not understand because we were too in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign -- and no memories. The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there -- there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. it was unearthly, and the men were -- No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it -- this suspicion of their not being inhuman. It would come slowly to one. They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity -- like yours -- the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; but if you were man enough you would admit to yourself that the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you -- you so remote from the night of first ages -- could comprehend. And why not? The mind of man is capable of anything -- because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage -- who can tell? -- but truth -- truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder -- the man knows, and can look on without a wink. But he must at least be as much of a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his own true stuff -- with his own inborn strength. Principles won't do. Acquisitions, clothes, pretty rags -- rags that would fly off at the first good shake. No; you want a deliberate belief. ...

    2016-02-19 05:07:18 回应

    Verlyn Klinkenborg ... .. In some works of literature, your memory is anchored to the character of the author's words themselves, to their precise rhythms and texture, so that the images don't come to mind without the phrases that created them. But in Heart of Darkness, the impression Conrad creates seems to be slipped the mold of his sentences and to have grown more enveloping, more ominous than perhaps even he imagined it. It is a book of extraordinary intensity, so much so that, returning to it after a time, you're surprised to discover that what it most resembles is a nightmare -- a momentary nocturnal vision that transforms the ordinary light of day. ... It can also hard to remember what era Heart of Darkness belongs to. The events on which the book was based occurred in 1890, and the book itself was written in a little over a month in December 1898 and January 1899... Queen Victoria was still alive... Yet one hardly thinks of Heart of Darkness as a Victorian novel, and in spirit it is still less a fin-de-siecle work. It belongs wholly to a different era.... ... the modernity of Heart of Darkness lies in its pervasive cultural irony. It is generally a tolerant, if bleak, irony, for Conrad is perfectly willing to suffer fools. Yet it serves to displace Marlow and Kurtz -- and the reader, if he fully enters the spirit of the tale -- from the cultures that made them. That quality of displacement begins early and only grows as the novel progresses. Heart of darkness opens in a voice that is not Marlow's. It belongs to a unnamed man whom I'll call the Auditor. .... still this reach of the Thames inevitably reminds the Auditor of England's naval glory, of Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer. These are patriotic memories, and they elicit from him a prose that is immensely soothing, .. But when Marlow begins to speak... it's clear that his thoughts have been at work elsewhere, that he has seen a different landscape underlying the one visible to everyone else ... ... ..Reading these words, you can almost imagine Faust pointing at his devil's ransom and saying that he had collected it himself at a very great personal risk, the risk being loss of his soul. But Conrad's version of this familiar story is a chilling and peculiarly modern one: the difference is that we -- through Marlow -- end up bearing the memory of Kurtz as well, assuming responsibility for his crimes. Heart of Darkness is not a parable about the loss of one man's soul to a wilderness of evil. It's a story about what it means to share implicitly the penalty of that loss, a story about the impossibility of innocence. There is no question that Marlow admires Kurtz, as much as he despises him. Compared with the Station Manager, with the so-called Pilgrims who accompany Marlow upstream, or with the members of the Eldorado Exploring Expedition who have come 'to tear treasure out of the bowels of the land', Kurtz is free from sanctimony, devoid of hypocrisy. It's his candor that is horrifying. Amid what Marlow calls "the great demoralisation of the land', Kurtz's demoralisation is at least carried out in earnest. ...

    2016-03-01 22:40:15 回应