Sunday, September 11, 2011

Men of honour

I did it. I finished something by Conrad (The Duel).

Colonel D'Hubert himself, hardened to exposure, suffered mainly in his self-respect from the lamentable indecency of his costume. A thoughtless person may think that with a whole host of inanimate bodies bestrewing the path of retreat there could not have been much difficulty in supplying the deficiency. But to loot a pair of breeches from a frozen corpse is not so easy as it may appear to a mere theorist.

Even though I thought it quite funny in spots, there were times I thought this novella dragged. I don't think I'll be trying Nostromo anytime soon, but I believe the curse is finally broken.

This ebook includes a lot of supplementary material, about this story and about duelling. I haven't worked my way through all of it, but I was delighted to discover that the historical duel on which Conrad based his story took place between two French officers, Fournier and Dupont. Being that I live with a Fournier, upon learning this tidbit I can better appreciate the grandiose sense of honour and justice that might lead to the sort of decades-long standoff Conrad described.
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