IdleRich

IdleRich
Yeah could be... don't read much sci-fi but every now and again I dive into one of these epic kinda things, well looking now it's only 500 pages or so but it feels sort of epic even so.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I read 'Exterminate all the brutes' off jenks's list. I didn't really get the point of it being a travelogue until the end when he sort of underlined the point about Africans living in poverty to this day while the plundering West lives in luxury – but all the historical research he did around colonial exterminations of natives and how that was justified by the prevailing scientific theories around extinction was really fascinating. Are there any books around this subject that people would recommend? I've always been shamefully dimly aware of Britain's colonial legacy in the past but I've never really looked into it. It only really occurred to me (bizarre, embarrassing to say) reading this book how outrageous (to understate) it was to travel to countries and just take them because we had the better weapons.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Made me think I should read Heart of Darkness again (and other Conrad stories/novels) because I've never done so from a relatively informed perspective on what was going on in the Congo.

Not that eager, though, because both times I've read it I found it stylistically hard work.
 

woops

is not like other people
I'd say Heart of Darkness was worth it for the style alone myself, but then I like a nice bit of high difficult
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
It's not even difficult is it really its just a bit weird sometimes cos he's polish
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I was thinking of very old times, when the Romans first came here, nineteen hundred years ago—the other day .... Light came out of this river since—you say Knights? Yes; but it is like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker—may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday. Imagine the feelings of a commander of a fine—what d'ye call 'em?—trireme in the Mediterranean, ordered suddenly to the north; run overland across the Gauls in a hurry; put in charge of one of these craft the legionaries—a wonderful lot of handy men they must have been, too—used to build, apparently by the hundred, in a month or two, if we may believe what we read. Imagine him here—the very end of the world, a sea the colour of lead, a sky the colour of smoke, a kind of ship about as rigid as a concertina—and going up this river with stores, or orders, or what you like. Sand-banks, marshes, forests, savages,—precious little to eat fit for a civilized man, nothing but Thames water to drink. No Falernian wine here, no going ashore. Here and there a military camp lost in a wilderness, like a needle in a bundle of hay—cold, fog, tempests, disease, exile, and death—death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush. They must have been dying like flies here. Oh, yes—he did it. Did it very well, too, no doubt, and without thinking much about it either, except afterwards to brag of what he had gone through in his time, perhaps. They were men enough to face the darkness. And perhaps he was cheered by keeping his eye on a chance of promotion to the fleet at Ravenna by and by, if he had good friends in Rome and survived the awful climate. Or think of a decent young citizen in a toga—perhaps too much dice, you know—coming out here in the train of some prefect, or tax-gatherer, or trader even, to mend his fortunes. Land in a swamp, march through the woods, and in some inland post feel the savagery, the utter savagery, had closed round him—all that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men. There's no initiation either into such mysteries. He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is also detestable. And it has a fascination, too, that goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination—you know, imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate.”
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
David Jones takes that on and runs with it. He's always writing from the perspective of legionnaires in Britain
 

woops

is not like other people
I've seen Conrad's English compared to Nabokov's as they are both non-native speakers who nevertheless mastered the language, but always in an artificial, alien, perhaps show-off fashion, which personally I enjoy - a bit like someone who said Beckett's French is a schoolmaster's French, not a French person's.
 

jenks

thread death
I read 'Exterminate all the brutes' off jenks's list. I didn't really get the point of it being a travelogue until the end when he sort of underlined the point about Africans living in poverty to this day while the plundering West lives in luxury – but all the historical research he did around colonial exterminations of natives and how that was justified by the prevailing scientific theories around extinction was really fascinating. Are there any books around this subject that people would recommend? I've always been shamefully dimly aware of Britain's colonial legacy in the past but I've never really looked into it. It only really occurred to me (bizarre, embarrassing to say) reading this book how outrageous (to understate) it was to travel to countries and just take them because we had the better weapons.
Glad you liked it - I re-read it last year and it still totally shocked me.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I've seen Conrad's English compared to Nabokov's as they are both non-native speakers who nevertheless mastered the language, but always in an artificial, alien, perhaps show-off fashion, which personally I enjoy - a bit like someone who said Beckett's French is a schoolmaster's French, not a French person's.
But Nabokov is much kinda neater and preciser while Conrad is more expansive. Nostromo is quite dense. I did like The Secret Agent, that feels more English, I guess cos it's set in England.
 

woops

is not like other people
ain[t read enough conrad to really comment but they both have a kind of classicism i think from reading hearts of darkness
 

jenks

thread death
I find Nabokov less knotty, more approachable. So much of Conrad seems angst ridden. The prose is heavy, laden with twists and turns - I remember reading Lord Jim and feeling like I’d been beaten up by the language. Nabokov is far more lyrical, and he is funny - something Conrad never is (cue someone finding a rib tickler from Joe)
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Anyone read Salammbô by Flaubert? I'd never even heard of it, but Binet says it's one of his ten favourite novels and the one that sold him on Flaubert.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Nabakov is much clearer and more easily readable. Of course Conrad is that much further back in time so there is an extra burden there. Certainly Nabakov is very funny, I can't think of many Conrad zingers off the top of my head, although there was one bit in Nostromo (I think) where he was talking about watching a woman walking away and how it was most "provoking" that stood out as uncharacteristically earthy to me somehow.
 
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