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Joseph Conrad

Notes on Life and Letters

I dont know whether I ought to offer an apology for this collection which has more to do with life than with letters. Its appeal is made to orderly minds. This, to be frank about it, is a process of tidying up, which, from the nature of things, cannot be regarded as premature. The fact is that I wanted to do it myself because of a feeling that had nothing to do with the considerations of worthiness or unworthiness of the small (but unbroken) pieces collected within the covers of this volume. Of course it may be said that I might have taken up a broom and used it without saying anything about it. That, certainly, is one way of tidying up. But it would have been too much to have expected me to treat all this matter as removable rubbish. All those things had a place in my life. Whether any of them deserve to have been picked up and ranged on the shelf-this shelf-I cannot say, and, frankly, I have not allowed my mind to dwell on the question. I was afraid of thinking myself into a mood that would hurt my feelings; for those pieces of writing, whatever may be the comment on their display, appertain to the character of the man. And so here they are, dusted, which was but a decent thing to do, but in no way polished, extending from the year 98 to the year 20, a thin array (for such a stretch of time) of really innocent attitudes: Conrad literary, Conrad political, Conrad reminiscent, Conrad controversial. Well, yes! A one-man show-or is it merely the show of one man? The only thing that will not be found amongst those Figures and Things that have passed away, will be Conrad en pantoufles. It is a constitutional inability. Schlafrock und pantoffeln! Not that! Never!..
279 printed pages

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Quotes

    MMhas quoted3 years ago
    I felt so much like a ghost that the discovery that I could remember such material things as the right turn to take and the general direction of the
    MMhas quoted3 years ago
    teachers had been the sailors of the Norfolk shore; coast men, with steady eyes, mighty limbs, and gentle voice; men of very few words, which
    MMhas quoted3 years ago
    been for some time the schoolroom of my trade. On it, I may safely say, I had learned, too, my first words of English. A wild and stormy abode, sometimes,
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