Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Impressionistic Literature. Principles of Impressionism. Use of thick, short strokes of bright color - No fine detail needed Color is not mixed Little to no use of true black Plein -Air Painting and Natural Light. Impressionism in literature.
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Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Use of thick, short strokes of bright color - No fine detail needed
Color is not mixed
Little to no use of true black
Plein-Air Painting and Natural Light
Writing that seeks to capture fleeting impressions of characters, settings, and events, depicted subjectively as they appear through the filter of the writer’s moods and personal perceptions.
Impressionism is at its core a response to scientific positivism. It saw realism, a child of science, as flawed in its oversimplification of reality.
…Impressionists, whether in the literary or visual arts, sought to represent the interaction between human consciousness and the objects of that consciousness.
The assortments of commas in impressionist literature has been linked to the short brush-strokes of the impressionist painter.
Intentionally Limited Point of View
In Media Res
The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky - seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness-
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
But there was the fact facing me--the fact dazzling, to be seen, like the foam on the depths of the sea, like a ripple on an unfathomable enigma, a mystery greater--when I thought of it-- than the curious, inexplicable note of desperate grief in this savage clamour that had swept by us on the river-bank, behind the blind whiteness of the fog.-
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Impressionism differs from realism greatly with the fact that culture's effect on the individual is only one of the many parts that create the experience. Realism puts priority on the culture and the individual is a small part of culture.
Landscape is nothing but an impression, and an instantaneous one, hence this label that was given us, by the way because of me. I had sent a thing done in Le Havre, from my window, sun in the mist and a few masts of boats sticking up in the foreground....They asked me for a title for the catalogue, it couldn't really be taken for a view of Le Havre, and I said: 'Put Impression.'-
Claude Monet - On Impression, Sunrise
People of all ages and from all social classes have come together: the bourgeois man with his cigar and sideburns, Bavarian infantrymen, men in top hats, bowlers or bare-headed, a nurse with a child, old women wearing bonnets, young ones with cheeky hats, children in their Sunday best... there is no trace of exuberance, scarcely a smile to be seen, no laughter. Rays of light filter through the foliage and appear - typically impressionistic - as patches on the people and the ground.
Ines Janet Engelmann, Impressionism: 50 Paintings You Should Know.
Sisley - Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne
Modern, newly constructed bridges were often the focal point for compositions by Sisley and other Impressionists. The motif of the cast-iron and suspension bridge here provides a sweeping diagonal thrust across this riverbank scene along the Seine painted in summer 1872.
Georges Seurat –
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte
Soft light, as only Impressionism could create, flows through the trees, surrounds the two couples, the naked woman and the one undressing to bathe, the dark male figures. What is portrayed is an extraordinarily French, extraordinarily lingering situation, full of innocence, supreme ease, unobtrusive enjoyment of life, and carefree seriousness.
Conrad is trying to capture a reality that is very different from realism.
Conrad uses Achronology/an intentionally limited point of view/In Medias Res/Primitive Perception
Conrad’s use of darkness, black, or night –the absence of light
Fog as distortion, obscuring clear view therefore forcing the reader to interpret. “What is behind the fog?”
Peters, John G. Conrad & Impressionism. Port Chester, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2001. p 27.