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Okay, so, I’m checking out Henry Miller who I never read, but had seen pictures of him with naked women and stuff, and I was fine with that, but would like to know how he wrote. I did see the movie, but never got around to reading the book Tropic of This or That, or if I did, I don’t remember cause I sometimes forget what I have read. The guy is a whirl wind of sentence making, by the way, getting down to the nitty gritty parts of every single sole or soulless cell on the planet that has ever had the nerve to breath the same air as he, and he’s not too pleased with himself either. Basically everything stinks and god too. I love it. Anyway, I’m checking out his second book ‘Black Spring’. In there- is a line-

‘… like Kurtz, you sail up the river and go mad…”

What??? What??? That’s Apocalypse Now. Everybody knows who Kurtz is. But that’s impossible. I’m missing some key aspect of fictional knowledge. I know it right away (not surprised). ‘Black Spring’ was written in the 1936’s, so, who the hell is Kurtz?

Kurtz (Heart of Darkness) 1899!!! By Joseph Conrad. Yes!- that’s the character and the name of the book. In it, well, “…over the course of his stay in Africa, Kurtz becomes corrupted. He induces the natives to worship him, setting up rituals and venerations worthy of a tyrant. By the time Marlow, the protagonist, sees Kurtz, he is ill with “jungle fever” and almost dead. Marlow seizes Kurtz and endeavors to take him back down the river in his steamboat. Kurtz dies on the boat with the last words, “The horror! The horror!””

Oooooohhhhh. I get it, and yes, Apocalypse Now was based on this book ‘Heart of Darkness’ from 1899. I thought it was just about Vietnam. Which it is, but you know what I mean.

Apparently a lot of people loved this book and it has made its way into the collective conscious of fictional knowledge or whatever it is really called.

So much to read. Ever read ‘Heart of Darkness? Wanna trade for some dirty pictures of Miller? (Google)

 

Joseph Conrad was a widely influential writer. He is considered part of the modernist literary style. This was a movement driven by the desire to overturn traditional expression and bring it up to the present.

If you can’t picture this in literature, and it is understandable, as few of us read many novels from the 1800’s (maybe two or three books) then think of it in a graphic sense, and look at the painters of the time. Start with just before the Impressionists and work your way forward. Big change. Right?

Anyway, Joseph Conrad’s narrative style and anti-heroic characters supposedly influenced such writers D. H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Italo Calvino, Hunter S. Thompson, and Salman Rushdie. Many more, but I only listed the ones I’ve read.

So, L- What else you got?

I’m glad you asked.

After talking about this, someone pointed me to ‘The Time of the Assassins: A Study of Rimbaud’ by Miller. My friend said, “I’ve always admired its opening sharp-eyed description of what a prickly, unstable son of a bitch poor Artie (Rimbaud) could be. That was a smooth move to scrape off the devotees.”

Now it’s time to read and learn about this kid, Rimbaud, how he overturned the world at 17, and of course, more Miller and Conrad.

I always read what smart people suggest. The list keeps getting longer.

 

Note: Heart of Darkness-1899, is available for free as an ebook.

 

LD-NYC-2014

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2 Comments

  1. A whirl wind of sentence making indeed. This made me chuckle and it made me think. It’s a combination I like very much.

    • Haha! Excellent. You have to have a sense of humor about these things. I like it too, and Miller does it so well. Thanks so much, Simon.


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