From The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice (Shakespeare, 1603):
Othello (spoken while wooing Desdemona):
I spoke of most disastrous chances:
Of moving accidents by flood and field,
Of hair-breadth scapes I’ th’ imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my [travel’s] history;
Werein of antres vast and deserts idle,
…And of cannibals that each others eat,
The Anthrophagi, and men whose heads
[Do grow] beneath their shoulders…
My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of [sighs];
She swore, in faith ‘twas strange; ‘twas passing strange
‘Twas pitiful, ‘twas wondrous pitifu…
She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I lov’d her that she did pity them.
From Season of Migration to the North (Tayeb Salih, 1966)
I [Mustafa] related to her [Isabella Seymour] fabricated stories about deserts of golden sands and jubles where nonexistent animals called out to one another. I told her that the streets of my country teemed with elephants and lions
and that during siesta time crocodiles crawled through it. Half-credulous, half-disbelieving, she listened to me,
laughing and closing her eyes…Sometimes she would hear me out in silence, a Christian sympathy in her eyes. There
came a moment when I felt that I had been transformed in her eyes into a naked primitive creature, a spear in one
hand and arrows in the other, hunting elephants and lions in the juble. This was fine. Curiosity had changed to gaiety,
and gaiety to sympahty, and when I stir the still pool in its depths the sympathy will be transformed into a desire upon
whose taut strings I shall play as a I wish. (Season of Migration to the North, 1969, p. 38)
(Wai’l Hassan, Tayeb Salih: Ideology and the Craft of Fiction [2003]: p. 98)
Heart of Darkness (1899) by Joseph Conrad and Season of Migration to the North
“Secret sharer” relationship between narrator (Marlow & narrator in SMN) and
“narrated” individual (Kurtz & Mustafa); lines blurred between them?
“Narrated” individual powerful, compelling, cruel, brilliant, active; narrator much less
so, passive
Same narrative frame: address to assembled “gentlemen”
Kurtz and Mustafa: universal geniuses; miscarried attempt(?) at bridging world of
colonizer and colonized
Imposed colonial-era binaries - Europe & Africa; light &dark; civilization & savagery – do
not bear up under scrutiny
“Fascination of the abomination”: narrator catches glimpse, pulls away at last moment
How does SMN depart from Heart of Darkness?
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