Nancy Gish wrote:
> The carnage of the Congo was not inward.  But Kurtz's words either were
> or were understood to be by Marlow.  I am doubtful that they are written as
> Kurz's realization of the devastation of a continent rather than his
> recognition of his own soul--though that devastation is depicted by Marlow
> on his journey.
> Nancy

There are a number of readers embodied in any text. (The text I am
thinking about, to begin with, is the text produced by Kurtz.) Kurtz is
dead (in Marlow's narrative), so we only have Marlow's construal of
whether the horror was inner or "outer" -- new coinage :-) -- for Kurtz.
(It's been many decades since I read either the novella or any critiques
of it, so I can't be too confident in my readings here.) But anyhow,
besides Kurtz we have Marlow, we have his auditors, we have "Conrad,"
and we have whatever ideal reader the text seems to imply. (That's
probably not exhaustive.) And of course in the present context we have
Eliot, Tiresias, and Pound at the very least. (And we have to make
assumptions, in the case of each of these readers, how much was known to
them about the actual horrors in the Congo. It is only in the last few
years that anything like comprehensive histories has been published,
most importantly Adam Hochschild, _King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of
Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa_ (1998). In 1920 there
would still have been only sanitized accounts available and the true
objective "horrror" would not have been part of either Conrad's or
Eliot's awareness, and certainly not part of the awareness of the
general reader of poetry in 1922. (I forgot that reader in my list

Eliot as a reader is important because he presumably saw a certain
congruence between the Conrad passage and the substituted passage. Rick
Parker writes:

The horror of Kurtz was what he was doing to others.  The horror of
Deiphobe was what she had done to herself.  Either might be the lesson
of TWL.  I guess I lean toward the narrator of TWL being more Deiphobe
than Kurtz.***

That was the horror OF Kurtz (ameliorated, as I say, by the limited
knowledge available in england in 1920), but presumably (as you I
believe argue) it was not the horror FOR Kurtz, or at least we can't
take it for granted that it was (or that Eliot / Conrad / the 1922
reader saw it that way).

I worked out in my head (but never in detail or on paper) some years ago
a theory of "the double plot" in the classical bourgeois novel, mostly
in respect to the novels of Austen, Tolstoy, and James, and most
particularly in respect to _Mansfield Park_ and _The Sacred Fount_, and
I think it applies to Conrad and, perhaps, to The Wasteland. It is
simplest to see in Austen's five-finger exercise of anovel, _Pride &
Prejudice_. The first plot, the "inner" one, is what happens to (and
between and within) the characters. The second plot is what happens
between narrator and reader -- and _the two plots are homologous_.

It operates fairly mechanically in _P&P_. The key is to note that the
main clause of the first sentence has as a subject _not_  the
needs/purposes of wealthy bachelors but _everyone_ who has ever lived or
ever will live -- it is about the _reader_ -- and informs that reader of
what he/she is thinking: "It is a truth universally acknowledged...." If
it is universally acknowledged, then you the reader must acknowledge it.
Now if, as is _almost- but not quite universally acknowledged, that
first sentence is "ironic," then it accuses the reader of not
acknowledging what turns out, at the end, to be true. Darcy discovers
that he is not Darcy until he makes the proper choice of wife. More
broadly, he discovers that he has never known himself before this
realization: that is, he can be himself only by gaining Elizabeth as a

The inner plot of the novel is, then, E's & D's discoveries of what it
means to be Elizabeth or to be Darcy, and central to that, of course, is
that both discover (though they of course are not privy to the
proposition) that the dependent noun clause of the opening sentence is a
true universal proposition: Namely, that to be oneself one must choose
to be oneself. (This of course is also the plot of _Paradise Lost_, and
one can say of PL something like what Whitehead said of Plato. The
history of western philosophy he said was a series of footnotes to
Plato. The history of bourgeois literature is a series of footnotes to
Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.)

So what _is_ the "outer plot" of _Heart of Darkness_, the story of the
relationship between narrator and reader? And how had Eliot participated
in that outer plot? And of course _HoD_ is a pet-milk can novel, with
Marlow and his auditors homologous to (?) Kurtz and his beloved (?) and
Conrad & his ideal reader homologous to the Marlow plot which has to be
homologous to the Kurtz plot......

And is this at all relevant to TWL, since after all Eliot did accept P's
rejection of the Conrad epigraph?

I think there has been previous discussion of how much part of a poem an
epigraph is. Does it point inward to the text or does it link the text
to some external context????

I leave town in a couple hours so I won't know for a week how this post