Visual Entertainment

  • Stephen Donovan


In October 1914, while waiting anxiously for visas that would permit them to leave Vienna, where the outbreak of hostilities had left the family stranded, Conrad and his eldest son stumbled into a very peculiar entertainment. Half a century later, Borys could still remember the incident vividly:

[O]ne day as we wandered through the streets, he suggested we should patronize a shooting gallery which seemed to be attracting a lot of customers. When we got inside, however, we were shocked at finding that this was no ordinary shooting gallery: it appeared to be a sort of War propaganda entertainment. Instead of conventional targets there were cinema screens on which were being shown a film of kilted Scottish infantry charging with fixed bayonets, and the marksmen had to fire at the figures as they ran across the screens. When a hit was made the film stopped and the marksman was invited to choose from the trays of junk displayed. My Father paused and uttered a startled exclamation when he saw what we had walked into, and then gripped my arm and urged me forward saying: ‘We have to go through with it Boy, to retract now would draw too much attention, but take care you don’t hit any of those fellows.’

(Conrad, 1970: 95–6)


Popular Culture Visual Spectacle Life Review Visual Culture Black Mate 
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Copyright information

© Stephen Donovan 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Donovan
    • 1
  1. 1.Blekinge Institute of TechnologyKarlskronaSweden

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