By Robert Hampson
Conrad's secrets and techniques explores a number of knowledges which might were primary to Conrad and his unique readers. Drawing on examine into alternate, policing, sexual and monetary scandals, altering theories of trauma and modern war-crimes, the ebook presents contexts for Conrad's fictions and produces unique readings of his work.
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Extra info for Conrad's Secrets
This is because the Rajah knew that Almayer was innocent, but also because the Rajah and Almayer, who were formerly enemies, are now reconciled ‘by Almayer’s newlyfound friend, Dain Maroola’ (AF, 49). Dain Maroola had arrived in Sambir shortly after Reshid’s departure on his extended trading voyage. 33 Dain’s arrival is the source of considerable excitement among the other traders in Sambir, ‘Arab, Chinese and Bugis’. 34 He also explains the size of his crew (presumably ‘numerous’ 36 Conrad’s Secrets for defensive purposes) by reference to a desire to collect trepang ‘on the coral reefs’ and to search for birds’ nests ‘on the mainland’ (AF, 57) – both labour-intensive activities.
In his first meeting with the manager, the manager had discussed with Marlow the likely delay: ‘Well, let us say three months before we can make a start. Yes, that ought to do the affair’ (HoD, 75). In retrospect, Marlow observes, ‘it was borne in upon me startlingly with what extreme nicety he had estimated the time requisite for the Introduction 23 “affair”’ (HoD, 75). The ‘affair’, of course, is not just a calculation of the likely delay but rather an estimation of the time needed to ensure that the threat to his own position which the manager feels Kurtz embodies is neutralised by the climate.
We are given a fuller and sadder account of Taminah: ‘She grew thin and could not work’ so that Babalatchi was able to buy her from Bulangi for fifty dollars, but his plans to send her ‘amongst [his] women to grow fat’ – as one might treat some ailing cattle – have failed and she has died (AF, 207). Thus, at the end of the novel, Nina is dispatched into motherhood, while Taminah is sold to a new owner, but pines away and dies. The doubling of Nina and Taminah, in the context of literal and metaphorical references to slavery, articulates anxieties about sexual desire as enslavement – but whether this is enslavement of the man by the woman or the woman by the man is also left unresolved.