The Conradian 'Shadow-line' in Selected Works by Stanisław Lem

Daniel Vogel

Abstrakt
 Joseph Conrad wrote The Shadow-Line. A Confession at the end of 1916, when Europe was in the middle of the Great War. As he mentions in the “Author’s Note” (written in 1920), the purpose of the work was to present certain events connected with the passage from youth to maturity. However, in the course of time the expression “shadow line” gained more universal meaning, and now the phrase “to cross the shadow-line” refers not only to crossing the border between youth and maturity, but to passing from one period of life into another. The literary output of Joseph Conrad, had considerable influence not only on his contemporaries or immediate followers, but on the modern artists as well. One of them was Stanisław Lem—philosopher, essayist, author of excellent Science-Fiction novels and short stories, peopled with such characters as Ijon Tichy, Professor Tarantoga or the unforgettable Pirx the pilot. Although in his works Lem, save a few exceptions, does not make direct references to Joseph Conrad and his fiction, Conradian motifs can be traced in most of his novels. One of them is the motif of crossing the shadow-line, noticeable in such works as Return from the Stars, The Invincible, Tales of Pirx the Pilot. The article shows how the author of Solaris used the motif of Conradian “shadow-line” to present the difficult moments, decisions and dilemmas of his protagonists.
Słowa kluczowe: Joseph Conrad, Stanisław Lem, the shadow line, first command, return from the stars, the invincible, Pirx the pilot, loneliness of the commander, responsibility of the commander, loyalty of crew, marine fiction, space voyage
References

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