Merleau-Ponty’s Doubt: The Wild of Nothing
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Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness’ was published serially in Blackwood‘s’ Magazine in 1899. At that time Paul Cézanne, in his last years at Aix-en-Provence, was beginning Les Grandes Baigneuses, with its anxious nudes playing on the border of earth and blue air — figures we will see again, in fact, in the young Picasso. Unlike Picasso, Cézanne rarely painted from a model. He mistrusted women, as did Conrad’s protagonist, Marlowe, who thought they were “out of touch with truth,” living in a world of their own “too beautiful altogether,” which, like the shallow spectacle in the Impressionist’s eye, “would go to pieces before the first sunset” (C, 27).
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- 1.Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, A Casebook in Contemporary Criticism (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989), hereafter cited as C.Google Scholar
- 2.Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Cézanne’s Doubt,” in Sense and Non-Sense, translated by Hubert L. Dreyfus and Patricia A. Dreyfus (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964), hereafter cited as SNS.Google Scholar