Réflexions théoriques et études de cas
Edited By Britta Benert
Aucun ouvrage existant n’est vraiment centré sur ce tournant du siècle, moment où la doxa de pureté de la langue et les esprits nationalistes tendent à promouvoir, voire à imposer l’idéal du monolinguisme et où, parallèlement, persiste à travers l’Europe et le monde un nombre important de situations et d’expérimentations diverses à contre-courant du monolinguisme puriste.
Fruit d’un colloque qui s’est tenu dans le cadre du XX
Not the Power to Judge: Conrad on “First Languages”
← 262 | 263 → Not the Power to Judge
Conrad on “First Languages”
In 1899, Joseph Conrad wrote “Heart of Darkness” and introduces the story of a voyage to the Congo with a historicizing view of the Thames: “I was thinking of very old times,” says Marlow, whose account is reported by an anonymous narrator,
when the Romans first came here, nineteen hundred years ago – the other day.… Light came out of this river since – (…) We live in the flicker – may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday. Imagine the feelings of a commander of a fine – what d’ye call ’em? – trireme in the Mediterranean, ordered suddenly to the north (…) Imagine him here – the very end of the world, (…) lost in a wilderness, like a needle in a bundle of hay – cold, fog, tempest, disease, exile, and death (…) Or think of a decent young citizen in a toga (…) He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is also detestable. And it has a fascination, too, that goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination – you know, imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate. (HD: 49-50)
The distinction between colonizing light and colonized darkness that is assumed to appear obvious to Marlow’s listeners does so only from a specific point of view – not only in space,...
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