Conrad’s influence on Graham Greene

  As a great novelist, the British writer Conrad (Joseph Theodore Korzeniowski, 1857-1924) had a huge influence. Conrad had a huge influence on contemporary and subsequent writers, native British as well as many other countries. British writer Graham Green (1904-1991) is one of the writers influenced by Conrad, and he inherited Conrad’s literary legacy. Green has always regarded Conrad as his idol, “Graham Green is one of the most obvious heirs to Conrad’s legacy. Like Conrad, he traveled to many remote places and witnessed the guilt of colonialism. The moral desperation of officials seeking a lost religious or political ‘idea’.” Green picked Conrad’s biographer Norman Sherry as his biographer.


  Conrad’s influence on Green is multifaceted, and many of his novels are influenced by Conrad. Green’s Brighton Candy (1938) was modeled after Conrad’s The Spy, and Greenland was borrowed from Conrad’s London. In addition, “Spy” (1939), “The Human Factor” (1978), and “The Ministry of Terror” (1943) all continued in the tradition of Conrad’s “Spy” (1907). Conrad has been to South America, Africa, Southeast Asia and other places. Like Conrad, Green also traveled to Africa, Southeast Asia, and North and South America. These two writers not only traveled to the same places, but also described similar content, even the titles seem to be the same. For example, Conrad has a novel called The End of the Tether (1902), and Green has a novel called The End of the Affair (1951). In “This Is the Battlefield” (1931), the protagonist’s name is simply Conrad Drover. Like Conrad, he is also a sailor, a crew member on a merchant ship. Green’s novels “The Human Factor”, “Secret”, “The Name of Action” (1930) and so on seem to intend to imitate Conrad’s life experience, and continue to show Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, “Lord Jim” Secret Agents, “In the Eyes of Westerners” and other works. Some researchers have pointed out that Green’s “Twilight Rumors” (1931) is a copy of Conrad’s “Golden Arrow”; “The Comedian” (1961) is an imitation of “Nostromo”; (1961) combined the plot of “Victory” with the geographical setting of “Heart of Darkness”. Conrad’s influence was so great that Green himself found it a disaster, and he swore from 1932 to no longer read Conrad’s novels until 1959.
  Coincidentally, both writers are interested in Africa. Throughout the history of British literature, British writers have always had a strong interest in Africa. Since the 20th century, writers from Conrad in the colonial period to Graham Greene, Doris Lessing, and Naipaul in the post-colonial period have paid more attention to the mental journey of white people in Africa. In 1935, Green traveled through Liberia and wrote his earliest travel note “Travel Without a Map” after returning to China. Green’s trip to Africa was influenced by Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. “In Journey Without a Map, Greene refers to Heart of Darkness three times. Heart of Darkness clearly inspired Greene’s travels in Africa and influenced Greene’s ambivalent attitudes toward civilization and his quest for primordial memory ” “Travel Without a Map” and “Heart of Darkness” not only reproduce the exotic atmosphere of Africa, but also explore the inner self.
  Both writers have a soft spot for Africa. “Africa is the closest continent to Europe, but in the eyes of Europeans, it is the farthest place different from itself, completely the opposite of Europe.” “For Green and Conrad, Africa is full of epic myths. Undoubtedly, they have changed their whole lives.” They have all gone deep into the heart of Africa – the Congo River. The Congo River is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile River. Its drainage area is vast, and it has the world’s second largest rainforest after the Amazon rainforest. It is rich in biological water energy resources. Counting its tributaries, it flows through central and western Africa of the six countries. Among them, the area that flows through the Congo is the longest. The mouth of the Congo River was first “discovered” in 1482 by the Portuguese navigator Diogo Cao. American explorer Henry Morton Stanley was the first Westerner to walk the entire length of the river. His book “Through the Dark Continent” sold well in Europe and America, and successfully set off a wave of “Congo Expedition Craze” in Europe. From 1879 to 1884, Stanley, under the patronage of King Leopold II of Belgium, began to conduct expeditions throughout the Congo River Basin. After the Berlin Conference in 1884, the Congo Valley became the personal fiefdom of Leopold II. Based on their travels on the Congo River, the two writers wrote the novels “Heart of Darkness” and “A Case of Virus by Itself”.
  In 1890 Conrad traveled to the Congo. Conrad called the trip disastrous. Shortly after returning to England from the Congo, Conrad was depressed, suffering from malaria, neuralgia, and gout. “During this trip, he noticed evidence of brutality, exploitation, inefficiency, and hypocrisy that convinced him fully of the difference between imperialist rhetoric and brutal reality.” A novel “Heart of Darkness”. The novel unfolds with the narration of Marlowe, the character in the book. Sitting on the deck, Marlow recalled to the sailors a legendary experience of going to the Congo River Basin to find the white trade station chief Kurtz. The novel shows the evolution of the white colonists from idealists who vowed to bring “civilization and progress” to Africa to greedy and corrupt colonists. After the publication of “Heart of Darkness”, it caused an upsurge of Europeans to explore Africa.

Graham Green

  Before starting to write “A Case that Completed the Virus by Itself”, Graham Green had already been to Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia and other places, and had a preliminary understanding of Africa. However, in order to create this novel and to find the characters in the novel, Green still flew thousands of miles from Europe to Leopoldville (now known as Kinshasa) in the Congo, and then went deep into the interior to a place named Yongda that could not be found on the map. town. Greene held Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” while traveling in the Congo. “This is the first time I have picked up this author since I gave up reading him in 1932. At that time I dared not read Conrad because I felt that his influence on me was so great that it could almost be said to be a disaster. Sexual.” He sailed the Congo River in a dilapidated, airtight steamer, among deformed people who had lost toes and fingers. For two whole months, I have been pursuing in the wild and remote places, in the tropical jungle. Based on this experience, Green wrote “Congo Diary” and another “Journey to West Africa”, which were combined into the collection “Looking for a Character”. Four months after his return from the Congo, Green set out to write a novel, “A Case of Virus of Itself”, set in the background of the Congo River and leprosy hospitals in Africa. Querrey, the protagonist in “A Case Who Sent the Virus by Itself”, was desperate for life, tired of career and women, and drifted along the Congo River to a leprosy hospital. Here, he slowly regained his enthusiasm for life. But at this time, because of the woman, he died at the gunpoint of his admirer.

  The object of Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Green’s “A Case of Self-Exiting Virus” is the Congo River in central Africa. After savoring carefully, it is not difficult for us to find that the two works show great similarities in many aspects. First of all, in terms of the story structure of the novel, the development of the plots of the two works is very similar and adopts a similar narrative mode. They all use the experience of a protagonist traveling in the great river basin to connect the plots of the entire work, and through their narration, the plots are gradually unfolded. Whether it is Marlowe or Querrey, they are all going upstream along the Congo River, showing ignorant and backward Africa along the way. Secondly, on the surface, the two works seem to be very similar to traditional adventure novels, however, their actual connotations have gone far beyond the general sense of adventure stories. Beneath the surface of adventure fiction is a search for the human heart. The adventures carried out by the two protagonists are essentially a kind of spiritual exploration. What they pursue is not wealth or miracles, but a deep understanding of the people living in this land, and the great changes that have taken place in their lives and the spiritual world. The change.

“A case of self-distribution virus”

  But Green did not fully inherit Conrad’s legacy, and Green did not simply imitate Conrad. It can be said that Green’s “A Case of Self-Sending Virus” has made a new interpretation of Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, so that these two seemingly similar works actually contain two kinds of Very different theme. The theme of Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is that it reveals the evils of Western colonialism. The works describe the oppression, plunder, enslavement and massacre of African natives by European colonists. Kurtz, a European colonist, is a greedy ivory predator whose humanity has been wiped out in the massacre of the natives. However, “A Case of Virus Dissemination by Itself” does not involve the direct control of the colonies by Western colonial powers, such as military, political and economic plunder, but highlights the tiredness of Western whites towards Western civilization and the whites’ hatred of indigenous peoples. help.
  Querrey, an Englishman, is tired of Western civilization. He cut himself off from his career and women, and came to Africa alone, just to find a place called “Pandele”, a place of hope and youth. Another white man, Dr. Colin, stayed in Africa to treat the aborigines suffering from leprosy.
  The different descriptions of Africa by the two writers stem from the different life periods of the two writers. Conrad lived in the glorious era of “the sun never sets” of the British Empire, and he was full of contempt for other nations. Although Conrad was born in Poland, he was educated in the mainstream culture of Europe and wrote in English. In a sense he was Europe’s “adopted son” and “employee” of the imperialist cause. Green experienced “World War II” and the Cold War. The war made people doubt Western civilization and weakened Britain’s international status. Against this backdrop, Green’s work is an elegy to Western civilization.

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