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Conrad does it again - passion and lust in former Dutch colonial Indonesia
on October 10, 2017
Joseph Conrad's earliest works (Almayer's Folly ,1895; Outcast of the Islands, 1896) dovetailed each other in characters and settings for the plots about Dutch and British expats as lingering legacies of "white man's burden" in former colonial Dutch Indonesia's Borneo and Makassar Is. where intermarriage and lustful intercourse dominant the scandals of Almayer and Willems. The British presence of Capt. Tom Langerd, an island-hopping and river entrepreneur, appears in these two classic Conrad works and in a third published in the 1920s title The Rescue forming in great part an auobiograhical triology of Conrad's fictional themes of human imperfections and dramatic encounters with White Men and colonial cultures and sexuality.The Outcast, the second of Conrad's novellas, captures the twilight of former Dutch colonial Indonesian empire in its personal clashes of morals and ambitions found in Conrad's later works, such as The Heart of Darkness in an African setting. More land clashes than seafaring battles and tragedies, the Outcast better than Al-Mayer's Folly predates Conrad's later successes. Some editing of the Outcast might move the drama a little faster to assist the reader in the endless, it seems, dialogues in which Conrad develops his plots and subplots faces European masters off against Indonesian victims though the victims become masters and the masters victims in Conradian plot paradoxes. With some of the history of the Dutch ventures in southeast asia and the role of Indonesian peoples in the 19th and 20th century in mind, a reader will be delighted to wade through the post-colonial mire and swamps with Conrad's eye for irony and satire as a partner.