Lord Jim

约瑟夫·康拉德 Joseph Conrad
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吉姆老爷(Lord Jim)简介:

The novel is in two main parts, firstly Jim's lapse aboard the Patna and his consequent fall, and secondly an adventure story about Jim's rise and the tale's denouement amongst the people of Patusan - set in the Indonesian archipelago. The main themes surround young Jim's potential ("...he was one of us", says Marlow, the narrator) thus sharpening the drama and tragedy of his fall, his subsequent struggle to redeem himself, and Conrad's further hints that personal character flaws will almost certainly emerge given an appropriate catalyst.[3] Conrad, speaking through his character Stein, called Jim a romantic figure, and indeed Lord Jim is arguably Conrad's most romantic novel.[4]

In addition to the lyricism and beauty of Conrad's descriptive writing, the novel is remarkable for its sophisticated structure. The bulk of the novel is told in the form of a story recited by the character Marlow to a group of listeners, and the conclusion is presented in the form of a letter from Marlow. Within Marlow's narration, other characters also tell their own stories in nested dialogue. Thus, events in the novel are described from several view points, and often out of chronological order.

The reader is left to form an impression of Jim's interior psychological state from these multiple external points of view. Some critics (using deconstruction) contend that this is impossible and that Jim must forever remain an enigma,[5] whereas others argue that there is an absolute reality the reader can perceive and that Jim's actions may be ethically judged.[6] In any event, mere facts are inadequate to explain the human condition. As Marlow remarks of the trial: "They wanted facts. Facts! They demanded facts from him, as if facts could explain anything!" Ultimately, Jim remains mysterious, as seen through a mist: "that mist in which he loomed interesting if not very big, with floating outlines - a straggler yearning inconsolably for his humble place in the ranks... It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun." It is only through Marlow's recitation that Jim lives for us - the relationship between the two men incites Marlow to "tell you the story, to try to hand over to you, as it were, its very existence, its reality - the truth disclosed in a moment of illusion."

Marlow is also the narrator of three of Conrad's other works: Heart of Darkness, Youth and Chance.



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