By Benita Parry
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Extra info for Conrad and Imperialism: Ideological Boundaries and Visionary Frontiers
Since the passage is placed at the start ofthe finished novel, it has the status of a thesis whose axioms are to be spectacularly invalidated by the fiction's action, far The Rescue is the biography of one such obscure adventurer who is formally introduced as the incarnation of those very qualities eulogised by the narrator and who by his deeds refutes the legend. In Lingard, the lone and uprooted Englishman who pits his courage and ingenuity against Dutch power far a share in the spoils ofthe Malayan archipelago, the fiction offers a plebian counterpart to the aristocratic Rajah Brooke, a historical figure much admired by Conrad.
Instead, what commands attention is the eloquent case made by the impersonal narrative voice for the independent and intrepid buccaneers of colonialism's halcyon age: Almost in our own day we have seen one of them - a true adventurer in his devotion to his impulse - a man ofhigh mind and of pure heart, lay the foundations of a flourishing state on the ideas of pity and justice. He recognised chivalrously the claims ofthe conquered; he was a disinterested adventurer, and the reward ofhis noble instincts is in the veneration with which astrange and faithful race cherish his memory.
I t had known and served all the men of whom the nation is proud, from Sir Francis Drake to Sir John Franklin, knights all, titled and untitled - the great knights-errant ofthe sea. It had horne all the ships whose names are like jewels Heart of Darkness 25 flashing in the night of time, from the Golden Hind returning with her round flanks full of treasure . . to the Erebus and Terror, bound on other conquests - and that never returned. It had known the ships and the men ... Hunters for gold or pursuers offame, they had all gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire.