Conrad’s Narrative Voice
Werner Senn, University of Berne
Werner Senn’s Conrad’s Narrative Voice draws on the methodology of linguistic stylistics and the analysis of narrative discourse to discuss Joseph Conrad’s perception of the role and the limitations of language. Tracing recurrent linguistic patterns allows Senn to demonstrate that Conrad’s view of the radical indeterminacy of the world is conveyed on the most basic levels of the author’s (often criticised) verbal style but permeates his work at all levels of the narrative. Detailed stylistic analysis also reveals the importance, to Conrad, of the spoken word, of oral communication. Senn argues that the narrators’ compulsive efforts to make their readers see and understand reflect Conrad’s ethics of human solidarity in a world he depicts as hostile, enigmatic and often senseless.