Some Reminiscences - Joseph Conrad - Страница 1 из 168


SOME REMINISCENCES
By Joseph Conrad
A Familiar Preface.
As a general rule we do not want much encouragement to talk about
ourselves; yet this little book is the result of a friendly suggestion,
and even of a little friendly pressure. I defended myself with some
spirit; but, with characteristic tenacity, the friendly voice insisted:
"You know, you really must."
It was not an argument, but I submitted at once. If one must! . . .
You perceive the force of a word. He who wants to persuade should put
his trust, not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power
of sound has always been greater than the power of sense. I don't
say this by way of disparagement. It is better for mankind to be
impressionable than reflective. Nothing humanely great--great, I mean,
as affecting a whole mass of lives--has come from reflection. On the
other hand, you cannot fail to see the power of mere words; such words
as Glory, for instance, or Pity. I won't mention any more. They are not
far to seek. Shouted with perseverance, with ardour, with conviction,
these two by their sound alone have set whole nations in motion and
upheaved the dry, hard ground on which rests our whole social fabric.
There's "virtue" for you if you like! . . . Of course the accent must
be attended to. The right accent. That's very important. The capacious
lung, the thundering or the tender vocal chords. Don't talk to me
of your Archimedes' lever. He was an absent-minded person with a
mathematical imagination. Mathematics command all my respect, but I have


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