"Where All Things Sacred and Profane Are Turned into Copy": Flesh, Fact, and Fiction in Joseph Conrad's" The Secret Agent"
"How fine it would be," Joseph Conrad once wrote Ford Maddox Ford, ". .. if the idea had a substance and words a magic power, if the invisible could be snared into a shape" (qtd. in Baines 223). Snaring the invisible into shape, giving what he called "les valeurs id6ales" their fictional form, inscribing truths that were like "une ombre sinistre et fuyante, dont il est impossible de fixer l'image" (Jean-Aubry 1: 270)-these difficulties com- prise a familiar version of the Conradian problematic of embodiment, a problematic marked, as Tony Tanner noted some time ago, by Conrad's painful awareness of "language's incapacities and obligations-the neces- sity to tell, the impossibility of telling" (33)
Journal of Narrative Theory