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Final Thoughts on Lord Jim

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Note: Before getting into the review, I want to mention how disappointed I was by the Barnes & Noble Classics edition.  There was an unnecessarily massive amount of footnotes, and one of the endnotes disclosed a major spoiler, long before I reached that plot twist!  Normally I'd recommend B&N Classics, but this one I cannot.



It's been more than fitting to have read Lord Jim during my last quarter of college.  I would say, in fact, that this 'bildungsroman'by Joseph Conrad is a timely read for those of us who can sympathize with Jim - a Romantic holding his ideals in one hand and finding his place in the world with the other.  Is it best read as a warning, a fairytale, or a historical fantasy?  Hopefully, by the end of this post, I will have figured it out.  One thing is certain: Lord Jim is not your typical trainwreck.  It's a longer, more tedious disaster, realistic in its portrayal of events whose consequences are as realistically ambiguous.

Once again, we…

Romanticism in Lord Jim

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Despite a bit of a guilty feeling - not having finished The Brothers Karamazov yet - I was really in the mood to read Lord Jim.  This is my second or third attempt.  Previously I could hardly get past three pages; now I'm nearly a third of the way through and have definitely put BK on hold.


That's not to the detriment of BK, but to the genuinely captivating prose in Lord Jim.  Once I finally get into a Conrad story, I become intrigued and entranced.  It doesn't matter if I don't always understand what is going on.  This novel, probably Conrad's best-known after Heart of Darkness, is almost quite as surreal, reading like stream-of-consciousness, albeit very structured and subtle.  Part of this comes from a familiar voice: the narrator Marlow.  Ever loquacious, he recounts his perspective of the controversial seaman "Jim," his trial, and his personality.

There is much to talk about, even so early on.  What particularly stands out are the echoes of Romanticis…