Joseph Conrad / writing

Writing in a foreign language, when references fail, no echoes reply.

Joseph Conrad:

29 August 1908, letter to Arthur Symons:
“I have been quarrying my English out of a black night, working like a coal miner in his pit. For fourteen years now I have been living as if in a cave without echoes.”

Good Friday 1899, letter to Edward Garnett:
“I am alone … in a chasm with perpendicular sides of black basalt. Never were sides so perpendicular and smooth, and high. Above, your anxious head against a bit of sky peers down – in vain – in vain. There’s no rope long enough for that rescue.”

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