Direct Speech in Conrad’s A Personal Record


Toker, Leona. “Direct Speech in Conrad’s A Personal Record.” The Conradian 47, no. 2 (2022): 67-81.


In order to maintain the factographic pact with the reader, in non-fiction narratives the authors tend to refrain from relying on the “perfect-memory convention.” In particular, memoirs (prominently including Conrad’s narratives) tend to avoid detailed prolonged dialogues, and direct speech in them usually takes the form of memorable phrases or statements (sound bites) that are supposed to have engraved themselves in the author’s memory. In Conrad’s autobiographical works this tendency is complicated by the fact that some of the sound-bites are translations from other languages (hence with a touch of fictionalization, enhanced by an occasional withholding of names and other verification landmarks). Yet the more extensive use of direct speech in Conrad's A Personal Record may be associated with specific artistic goals or else with the author's keen awareness of touches of fictionalization.