Re: RARA-AVIS: Conrad, Hemingway and Faulkner (was: Dan Fortune series)

From: Jacques Debierue (
Date: 06 May 2005

--- In, bsandyman@a... wrote:
<<After reading this thoughtful reply it occurred to me that was meant was that Hemingway wrote about a person effecting the environment, situation, what ever that he was in, while Conrad wrote about the situation effecting the person.>>

Everything affects everything else, so you can't have a clear cut distinction on that criterion. Conrad is intensely personal, but he is ironic. Hemingway lacked irony, he was a sensitive writer grappling with the stuff directly. Conrad is more roundabout, a far more complex writer. He doesn't tell you much directly.
<<Put another way, one might ask what changes from the beginning to the end of stories from these authors. Ex. The Old Man comes back from the ocean with the carcass of a sword fish. Yes it isn't much, and he had to fight hard to get that, but the universe did have to yield just that little bit. By contrast the universe in 'Heart of Darkness' is immutable and it is the people that change. (At least as far as my sketchy memory allows me to comment.)>>

For me, the old man leaves a world just as he found it. The ocean shares the bill as protagonist (Hemingway gives it plenty of room and good scenes).
<<To write about the human condition, is to write about the situation that human's find themselves in, possibly at the expense of the characters. (Seems like this is one of the main appeals of Noir and existentialism. YMMV.) It needs human characters to make the point, but your not really talking about the human.>>

But whatever the ambitions to portray humanity as a whole, the story is about real humans and the conclusions are relative to that experience. Consider also how the "universal message" of a book can be lost in another culture, even though the book can still appeal strongly through its characters. You can enjoy Pirandello's stories without knowing much about Sicilian culture -- but if you do, you may find universality (well, local universality), parables, etc.

Best, and sorry to go on so. Mid afternoon is the witching hour for me.



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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 May 2005 EDT