Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My furniture is augmented

by one piece. The first chest I've owned as an independent person. It's solid wood too, and may be tough enough to survive an 8.0 earthquake intact. Not that it will need to, but I like tough rather than tender in furniture.
And the price! <200!
I've been reading Mardi, and a Voyage Thither, by Herman Melville. I read Conrad's Heart of Darkness last week. Mardi is extremely important in Melville's development. It is not read much by undergraduates, but there is much in it that is experimental. There are the short chapters, and the modular way in which they're constructed. There are the rhythms and associational patterns he uses. So far, Mardi has not been a waste of time. It is a novel that wishes to be a sea narrative and then to encompass more forms and dialogues than are "native" to the sea narrative.
Heart of Darkness was fascinating and terrifying. Last week was the first time I've ever read it. Conrad's novel (or more properly novella or novelette) is not about Africa specifically, but about the experience of the imperialists in Africa. I am sure that there are plenty of people who are mightily offended by the language in it, but Conrad must employ such language to be true to his message. And that message is certainly, "the horror, the horror."
The film "Apocalypse Now" is loosely based on Heart of Darkness, I've heard, but about the only similarities between the two are the direction of the narrative, the fact that it takes place on a river, and that the lost man in both is named Kurtz. Beyond that, there is little these two expressions have in common. Captain Willard, the character in the film, has earned his rank, he is a man whose career is established. Captain Marlowe is a character whose position comes to him through privilege and the agitations of a woman, his aunt. Whatever reputation he has is rumor and bluster. Marlowe is much like GW Bush-- only slightly more capable.

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