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  • Writer's pictureChristopher G. Moore

Translating Conrad’s Life into the age of Globalization

In an article titled the Moral Agent Giles Foden has done a brilliant job on the 150th anniversary of Joseph Conrad’s birth, to revisit the importance of his work, the scope of his vision, and the personal details that in large measure influenced his work. His genius for exploring human nature ends with the conclusion that at the outer rim of the best literature, a writer is confronted with a high wall where people are simply not knowable.

“Conrad is the perennial immigrant. As his friend John Galsworthy put it: "Prisoners in the cells of our own nationality, we never see ourselves; it is reserved for one outside looking through the tell-tale peep-hole to get a proper view of us.”

“In today's era of globalisation and environmentalism, which demand holistic approaches, we can appreciate Conrad's attempt to dramatise the human condition in its widest possible ideation. Only when the other is recognised, geographically and historically, is the true moral value of a given situation revealed. So far as such value is calculable, it always involves differentials between positions rather than measuring up to any external ‘sovereign power enthroned in a fixed standard of conduct’ (Lord Jim)”

Conrad’s visits to Bangkok are recorded in the history of the Oriental Hotel. During Conrad’s time the hotel was more of a rundown guesthouse than the grand world-class hotel of the present day. There is a suite named after him as well. One that no doubt that Conrad would not have been able to afford to have stayed in.

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