Describes a band of frustrated revolutionary exiles in Geneva. This book is a study of individuals under pressure, and it remains a telling account of the fugitive life - especially in its portrait of Razumov, heir to the long line of Russian anti-heroes in Gogol, Dostoyevsky and Turgenev.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, Conrad wrote three political novels that have had constant influence on the way we look at contemporary history. The third of these, Under Western Eyes, is the eternally pertinent story of Russian radicals exiled in Geneva, those who spy on them, and the iron links that chain them to each other and to their motherland.
Introduction by Cedric Watts
(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Under Western Eyes|
|Release Date: 10-27-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Under Western Eyes
To begin with I wish to disclaim the possession of those high gifts of imagination and expression which would have enabled my pen to create for the reader the personality of the man who called himself, after the Russian custom, Cyril son of Isidor—Kirylo Sidorovitch—Razumov.
If I have ever had these gifts in any sort of living form they have been smothered out of existence a long time ago under a wilderness of words. Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality. I have been for many years a teacher of languages. It is an occupation which at length becomes fatal to whatever share of imagination, observation, and insight an ordinary person may be heir to. To a teacher of languages there comes a time when the world is but a place of many words and man appears a mere talking animal not much more wonderful than a parrot.
This being so, I could not have observed Mr. Razumov or guessed at his reality by the force of insight, much less have imagined him as he was. Even to invent the mere bald facts of his life would have been utterly beyond my powers. But I think that without this declaration the readers of these pages will be able to detect in the story the marks of documentary evidence. And that is perfectly correct. It is based on a document; all I have brought to it is my knowledge of the Russian language, which is sufficient for what is attempted here. The document, of course, is something in the nature of a journal, a diary, yet not exactly that in its actual form. For instance, most of it was not written up from day to day, though all the entries are dated. Some of these entries cover months of time and extend over dozens of pages. All the earlier part is a retrospect, in a narrat...