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By Daniel R. Schwarz (auth.)

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PR, p. xv) 35 36 Conrad: Almayer's Folly to Under rt'estern Eyes Prior to writing The Nigger of the 'Narcissus', Conrad sought an appropriate plot structure and point of view with which to organise his subject matter. Agonising about his inability to make progress on 'The Rescuer', he wrote to Garnett: 'Now I've got all my people together I don't know what to do with them. The progressive episodes of the story will not emerge from the chaos of my sensations. I feel nothing clearly' (I9 June I896; LL, vol.

126) When Aissa feels her isolation, Conrad characteristically defines it in terms of his own loneliness which he generalizes into mankind's common plight: Her hands slipped off Lingard's shoulders and her arms fell by her side, listless, discouraged, as if to her-to her, the savage, violent, and ignorant creature-had been revealed clearly in that moment the tremendous fact of our isolation, of that loneliness impenetrable and transparent, elusive and everlasting; of the indestructible loneliness that surrounds, envelops, clothes every human soul from the cradle to the grave, and, perhaps, beyond.

54). Within the mutinous night, when the men are milling and grumbling, the plot itself seems to hover on the brink of collapse. At this point the plot becomes more diffuse and less concentrated, and one feels that the scene is given more space than is required. Allistoun's struggle to master the men mirrors Conrad's effort to master his materials. Like the artist, Allistoun uses his intelligence, his energy, and the force of his will to create order within the separate world of the ship: 'He seemed with his eyes to hold the ship up in a superhuman concentration of effort ...

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