Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Marlow describes his memories of this time in Heart of Darkness in terms of sound and voice: as something "impalpable, like a dying vibration of an immense jabber, silly, atrocious, sordid, savage, or...

Marlow describes his memories of this time in Heart of Darkness in terms of sound and voice: as something "impalpable, like a dying vibration of an immense jabber, silly, atrocious, sordid, savage, or simply mean, without any kind of sense." Discuss possible interpretations of this description.

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This is a really interesting question—this particular quotation from the story has been much discussed and held up as an example of a particularly "Conradian" style of writing. The critic F.R. Leavis, for example, suggests that words like "impalpable," which ultimately mean nothing, are used by Conrad to emphasize Marlow 's sheer inability to clearly describe what went on in the Congo—he simply cannot understand it. He grasps for long words to try and make sense...

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