Wartime fiction

  • Daniel R. Schwarz


The First World War had a profound effect on Conrad. It particularly troubled him that his beloved sea had become a battleground on which man fought with deadly weapons:

Mines: Submarines. The last word in sea-warfare: Progress— impressively disclosed by this war. … Mankind has been demoralised since by its own mastery of mechanical appliances. Its spirit is apparently so weak now, and its flesh has grown so strong, that it will face any deadly horror of destruction and cannot resist the temptation to use any stealthy, murderous contrivance. It has become the intoxicated slave of its own detestable ingenuity. (NLL, pp. 162–3)


Secret Sharer Moral Intensity Personal Record Black Mate Maritime Community 
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  1. 3.
    Robert Langbaum, The Modern Spirit: Essays on the Continuity of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 171. I am especially indebted to the essay entitled ‘The Mysteries of Identity: A Theme in Modern Literature’ (pp. 164–84).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Baines, Conrad: A Critical Biography (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960), p. 58.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    See Ian Watt, ‘Story and Idea in Conrad’s The Shadow-Line’, Critical Quarterly, vol. 2 (Summer 1960), p. 141. The entire article, pp. 133–48, is an invaluable study.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 8.
    See Guerard, Conrad the Novelist (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958), p. 30.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Daniel R. Schwarz 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel R. Schwarz
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityUSA

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