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Lecture 12

ENG328Y1 Lecture Notes - Sparagmos, Assistant Commissioner
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3 Pages
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Fall 2016

Department
English
Course Code
ENG328Y1
Professor
Greig Henderson
Lecture
12

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The Secret Agent
Quasi-endorsement of the professor's position
Vision given more legitimacy than other visions
Gnostic contempt for flesh and materiality
Gnosticism -spark of divinity inside all of us is given expression
Not that evil is the absence of good, evil is a positive substantive
source in the universe
The world is but the excrement of God
MANICHEI
The real world is a product of an incompetent creator - DEMIURGE
City is a monstrosity of greasy slime
Assistant commissioner's descent into the street is described as a slimy
aquarium
Strange reversal of personification
Secret agents caught
Sick humour
Comes from abstractions of the descriptions of Verloc's death
Reduction of human beings
As soon as Mrs. Verloc murders Verloc, she becomes the widow of Mr.
Verloc
Ironic mythical allusions
Withholding vital information
Death of Stevie isn't revealed until Ch.9, although it's in Ch. 3-4
Under the present circumstances, this is criminal
Professor is the only revolutionary anarchist in the story
The rest of them are endorsers of the status quo even if they don't
know it
Novel is really about conservatism
Anarchism is not the subject
Vladimir is on the extreme right, provides motive for bombing
Professor, on extreme left, provides explosives
Could be extreme right, he's just extreme.
§
Vladimir's motives are reactionary
His view is that England is too liberal
But he is pathetically afraid of the police
The other anarchists have violent views, but live passive lives
"The only thing violent about them is their language"
"Lombroso is an ass"
Established classical school that says Criminality was inherited
Someone born criminal could be recognised by physical traits (hanging
earlobes, etc.)
Stevie is scared of all this rhetoric
Conrad just deflates him immediately
“The famous terrorist had never in his life raised personally as
much as his little finger against the social edifice.”
All of Heat's status comes from the fact that he gets this information from
Verloc
System depends upon these people who lean on it
But they're not challenging the social structure, they're being absorbed
by it
Style is always the shape of substance and not separate from substance
Writers have engrossments and obsessions so must have defences for
them
For Conrad, he uses the talking cure
Style affects readership as well
The Secret Agent doesn’t seem to be typically Conradian
We don’t have a hero dealing with his unrealisable ego or battling
nature
Nor do we have a hero dealing with his unacknowledged shadow self
Universal indolence prevails
Form
Dramatized audiences
Stories within stories - typical narrative strategy
Omnipotent narrator
Prone to intrusive commentary in his own voice
§
We miss the dense atmospheric writing that blurs the internal and
external landscape
Visual clarity in a disgusting world
Sparagmos - tearing apart of the body, sacrificially
Omophagia - eating of the body, raw
Professor seems miserable and shabby but has an explosive personality
Police have the minds of criminals
Professor proves that there are no rules to the game when you have to deal
with anarchists (more like terrorists)
Point is that dealing with the professor requires sheer, naked heroism
Beyond Heat's capacity
Very universe infected with radical views
Images of water and fish
Verloc out to get whale
Piscatorial terms used to describe Vladimir
Assistant commissioner a queer fish
Winnie pulled back into the sea
Nothing transformative brought to light
Lecture 12 -Conrad
Monday, October 24, 2016
2:11 PM

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Description
Lecture 12 Conrad Monday, October 24, 2016 2:11 PM The Secret Agent Quasiendorsement of the professors position Vision given more legitimacy than other visions Gnostic contempt for flesh and materiality Gnosticism spark of divinity inside all of us is given expression Not that evil is the absence of good, evil is a positive substantive source in the universe The world is but the excrement of God MANICHEI The real world is a product of an incompetent creator DEMIURGE City is a monstrosity of greasy slime Assistant commissioners descent into the street is described as a slimy aquarium Strange reversal of personification Secret agents caught Sick humour Comes from abstractions of the descriptions of Verlocs death Reduction of human beings As soon as Mrs. Verloc murders Verloc, she becomes the widow of Mr. Verloc Ironic mythical allusions Withholding vital information Death of Stevie isnt revealed until Ch.9, although its in Ch. 34 Under the present circumstances, this is criminal Professor is the only revolutionary anarchist in the story The rest of them are endorsers of the status quo even if they dont know it Novel is really about conservatism Anarchism is not the subject Vladimir is on the extreme right, provides motive for bombing Professor, on extreme left, provides explosives Could be extreme right, hes just extreme. Vladimirs motives are reactionary His view is that England is too liberal But he is pathetically afraid of the police The other anarchists have violent views, but live passive lives The only thing violent about them is their language
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