8); "indeterminate" in that its key terms are often ambiguous and subject to change (for example, in response to new findings in biology); and "janiform
" in that it embraces a view of nature as both a model for society and a threat whose laws and processes are to be resisted (p.
However, to do justice to the subtlety of her exploration into Conrad's use of ambiguity, Cedric Watts's term of "Janiform
" encapsulates this presence of conflict, antagonism, or opposite meanings which Kronauer's term of the Zwiegesichtige implies (Deceptive Text, especially 9-39).
That's one of the great Janiform
features of Conrad.
As the title suggests, then, this may be a book in which Heart of Darkness is read in light of different "contexts." And yet, as we follow the course of Watts's argument, we belatedly decode that a mirroring inversion characteristic of janiform interpretation actually ensues and that different contexts--from antiquity to modernity--are actually illuminated by Conrad's text.
Sometimes, he even stretches his janiform approach to ventriloquize Conrad's own possible thoughts on questions of artistic creation, speaking mimetically, that is, in Conrad's own name.
On the other, more personal side, they testify to Watts's affective resonances with what he calls "Conrad's janiform temperament" (47-8), a protean temperament he uses to illuminate the text from the outside-in.
Thus Greek ceramicists and vase painters used to give voice to their belief in the equality of Blacks and Whites in creating janiform
kantharoi, two-headed drinking-jugs, representing a white and a black head.
Hawkins refers to this paradox as the "janiform
quality" of Social Darwinism, allowing it to serve simultaneously as a foundation for understanding ethnic stratification as a naturally occurring phenomenon, and as the framework for policies designed to enhance the status of one race or to restrict the development of another.
Typically, however, Conrad's fiction eschews this distinction, blurring the boundaries between subjectivity and objectivity in Janiform
narratives that simultaneously allow for and make problematic the transmission and understanding of experience.
These chapters briefly review the Social Darwinism Hawkins says he finds in a variety of mostly nineteenth-century thinkers and seek to show the "janiform
quality of Social Darwinism discourse" - that nature is sometimes viewed as model and sometimes as threat (p.