“He had ripped up my trousers with his pocket-knife”: Same-Sex Bonding: Normally Single Writers who Use Fictional Collaborations within the Discourse
In this Chapter I propose to introduce three authors for consideration: James, Conan Doyle and Conrad. I will look at ‘The Turn of the Screw’ to try to exemplify how James refuses to convey to the reader the sexual nature of the misdemeanour that young Miles, the boy character in the story, has committed. I then examine The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to see how homosociality and collaboration figure in the work of the normally single writer, Conan Doyle. I move on to Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim and The Secret Sharer to examine ways in which it may be possible also to read single-authored books as structured to include bonding as integral to the theme of the work.
The social setting of James's short novel ‘The Turn of the Screw’ (1898) and the idea of a link in a "smart set", a professional group involved in the telling of a tale, between who is telling and who is listening, and their implications for the reader/text relationship is significant to my argument here. Collaboration as an aspect of literary activity between an outer, unnamed narrator, his "outside spectator, observer", and an inner, auto-narrator of the story, as well as, in turn, between them and the reader, features in James's work. In the setting of James's tale, in an atmosphere of the domestic and the idle rich, there is a feminine presence in the person of the governess.
The guests who assemble at an aristocratic residence sit down at the fire after dinner on Christmas Eve to listen to a narrator, Douglas, who reads an account of a tale from a document which is dependent for its information on a letter obtained by him and written by a young woman governess who details in it the events of the affair. In a manuscript involved in the telling of a tale, there is continued collaboration between the author and the inner narrator, and between the narrators and the reader, to try to discover the nature of unspeakable evil associated with the children. A lonely governess anticipates delight with the vision of a man seen “high up” at the top of a tower, rather like Haggard's unassailable beauties are placed, to heighten their effect, on the tops of plinths. The tower “loomed through the dusk” in the Gothic tradition, as it were. It is a heterosexual scene in James's story which does not fail to evoke a Freudian reading in which imagery of the tumescent penis surfaces to signal erotically charged textual material, for a "tall" projectile-like edifice “high up” with a "very erect" man atop it, whose stare is "straight", is a starved girl's Gothic dream. This aspect has Gothic overtones as the common metaphor of a tower or turret signals the sexually attractive villain penetrating the female body.
The unknown figure, possibly a relative of the family in which she is employed, seen hatless and thus, by the social customs of the time, familiarly, in a passage in which all is "erect", "hard", and concentrating on an unknown person's stare with which he "markedly fixed" , adduces a feeling of sexually symbolic resonance.
The accretion of images relating to tumescence is the result of disallows the overt expression of sexuality, yet continues to create it as a possibility. Unmistakably, the girl's sexuality is being expressed through the locus of mystification and occult dealing. It is a "queer affair enough" and what cannot be but her desire and passion for Peter Quint is allowed only as a theoretical possibility because of the nameless and unknown evil he is supposed to have committed— . The collaborative activity in the text involves the reader and the characters in an exploration of the deep mystery of the tale to be unravelled by a detective-like collaborative process between narrator, characters and reader.
Unspeakability is a feature of the James narrative just as it is in Heart of Darkness. Since sexuality is unspeakable, the literary form itself is invested with a full charge of energy, while it would normally be expressed through the locus of sexual reference. Not even the governess is invested with the ability to recognise the sexual nature of the crime that has occurred. The form operates as the vehicle through which a literary methodology is delivered that denies all knowledge of sexuality. The secret that James concocts cannot be openly expressed, revealed or elaborated and goes some way toward explaining why the focus upon sexuality is unchallengeable or even capable of elucidation; it is a well-constructed denial of a sexual construction. Its unspeakability involves a lexis of sexuality which cannot be expressed, for there is no metatextual framework for its formulation. It relies on hints that are withdrawn and on a subtext that implies sexuality yet denies it.
Intimations of the relationship between Peter Quint and Miles are given that suggest a somewhat deeper friendship than was conventional: “It was Quint’s own fancy. To play with him, I mean – to spoil him... Quint was much too free.” The governess suggests that not only Quint but other members of the staff were involved, but that no scandal had broken:
I forebore, for the moment, to analyse this description further than by the reflection that a part of it applied to several of the members of the household, of the half-dozen maids and men who were still of our small colony. But there was everything, for our apprehension, in the lucky fact that no discomfortable legend, no perturbation of scullions, had ever, within anyone’s memory, attached to the kind old place.
There was “no perturbation of scullions”, however, Miles is rusticated. The letter received from Miles’s school indicated that “They go into no particulars. They simply express their regret that it should be impossible to keep him.” “That can have only one meaning,” the governess deduces, but she does not declare what it is. She goes on to say that it means “That he’s an injury to the others.” Pressing Mrs Grose for more information on Miles’s character, the governess puts to her the supposition “You like them with the spirit to be naughty?” And so, continuing to question her, she confirms:
“So do I!” I eagerly brought out. “But not to the degree to contaminate-”
“To contaminate?” -my big word left her at a loss. I explained it. “To corrupt.”
Subsequently, the governess and Mrs Grose resolve to do nothing to answer the unrevealed accusation made against Miles in the letter: ‘“What will you say, then?”...”In answer to the letter?” I had made up my mind. “Nothing.”’ Acquiescence in or disbelief in the possibility of the crime by the governess and Mrs Grose draws the reader to the conclusion that all is not what it seems in this story. The hint at contamination and corruption is made yet never substantiated throughout the novella. The enormity of Miles’s misdemeanour is phrased in the loosest of terms, and is not confirmed in statements of fact, nor acted upon to refute it, yet is inescapably of a sexual nature. It is clear that there exists an agenda for the consideration of sexual contact between Quint and Miles. James wants us to consider male sex paedophilia, but does not provide a framework for its expression. The unnamed accused becomes for the reader an end-of-century child abuser / paedophile who, like Dracula, could not fail to arouse distaste, fear and disapprobation.
The Freudian nature of the tale was drawn attention to by Edmund Wilson in ‘The Ambiguity of Henry James’ in which he noted that The Turn of the Screw is "a study of Freudian hysteria and morbid hallucinations" resulting from "deep sexual repression and frustration". For Wilson the innocence of the children is evident, and it is the governess taken up with her neurotic hallucinations who is the cause of the death of the child. The ghosts, "are not real ghosts at all but merely the governess's hallucinations", he argues. There is little evidence, however, to support the view that either Peter Quint or Miss Jessel is a hallucination or that they are apparitions. Indeed, the ghosts are so clearly seen that the housekeeper is able to recognise them immediately from the accurate descriptions given by the governess.
It is left to the reader in collaboration with the narrators to decide whether the character of Douglas who introduces the tale as a narrator is perhaps a re-incarnation of little Miles, or is just a friend of his sister's governess, the governess in the novella. "The story won't tell" insists Douglas, "not in any literal vulgar way", as he introduces it on the basis of his documentary evidence, underlining the difficulty of collaborating in the telling of the tale. The function of Douglas as both narrator and recipient of the manuscript record, and their recounting of it in an atmosphere of luxury amongst the professional classes, is a collaborative narrative structure devised by James to provide a vehicle for the tragic story of the two little children. It has implications for the reader/text relationship in that it is open to the reader to ascertain who the figure in the tower is and the reason why Miles has been expelled from school. The question of who is telling and who is listening to a story of entrapment in a highly charged emotional environment accentuated by the presence of vulnerable children is all important.
It is pertinent, too, that it was from Edward Benson, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and father of A. C. Benson and
ofE. F. Benson, who were both friends of the author, that James obtained the source of the strange tale of young, arguably innocent, children
...left to the care of servants in an old country house, through the death, presumably, of parents. The servants, wicked and depraved, corrupt and deprave the children; the children are bad, full of evil, to a sinister degree.
The tale derives from the tradition of a story in which a supernatural event, an apparition, or a ghost plays an important part in the plot in a ghostly collaboration in which the appearance of “Griffin’s ghost or whatever it was” is mooted. James may have been influenced in its preparation as a consequence of his membership of the Society for Psychical Research. A report of a general meeting of the Society on 31October1890 records that "the paper by Professor William James ... on ‘
'Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance'' was read by his brother, Henry James", indicating James’s interest in the unconscious as a late-Victorian preoccupation with the psyche and the afterlife. James’s interest in the paranormal has a direct connection with this short story, and the psychical and the spiritualist movements were well regarded by both James and Haggard.
There is a doubling of roles in this short novel in which the character Flora represents "field" or "freshness", and Miles is "the soldier" who dies on "the battlefield", and in the case of the short story ‘Owen Wingrave’ (1893) there is a concluding sentence which reads, "He looked like a young soldier on a battlefield." There is an interesting duality between Peter Quint and the Master, for the plot disguises the fact in a well-known unexpressed authorial statement about whether he is the eminence or not. The collaborative activity within the text is to distinguish whether the
master is, in fact, the person who appears to the governess as a result of her suppressed and neurotic desires:
The story does not reveal whether Peter Quint is really the man whom she sees, but it is left to a collaborative act by the reader co-operating with the author’s narrators to discern who causes the moral and spiritual transgressions in the story. His identity must remain a secret at all costs for the mystery to prevail and prevent any discussion thereby of the sexual nature of the tale. Just as the beast Hyde raised questions in late-Victorian times of the unrepressed animal nature in mankind, so too, the governess’ fantasy "beast" with "the cry of a creature" is also a feature of James's imagination. He stirs the susceptibilities of a Victorian audience conditioned by Darwinism, as they strive to provide a name to the horrors which he carefully fails to specify. If man had evolved from primates, and that it was possible to demonstrate that there could be a corresponding regression to animal forms, then what future was there for woman, it might be asked. The evolutionary, backsliding character of Dracula was foremost in the Victorian consciousness, and was inspired by men who behaved like animals, as Jack the Ripper attacked only by night.
The bondings which are figured in the texts between the teller of the tale and the listener which are, of course, female ones, and the reception of these stories in places such as officers’ messes, gentlemen’s clubs, libraries and tea-rooms where an all-male environment predominated was the focus for the collaborative narrative structures which these authors devised and developed to explain and transfix sexuality and dual identity.
The twenty-four chapters of ‘The Turn of the Screw’ in Collier's Weekly were first produced by James for publication in serialised form whereby each episode would require a certain amount of co-operation from the reader in the timing of the purchase and consumption of the stories as they were sent out. It is possible that the reader, in fact, if she/he were the kind who savoured reading, might wish to accumulate all the articles until they were ready to be read as one story, or, what is more probable, would read the chapters as soon as they were purchased — the adventures being so gripping. If the novel’s production to the reader depended on parent, post office or book shop or on complicity, collusion and interaction between the author, editor and publisher then its anticipation would have been as pleasurable as its arrival. The distinctive aspect of this commercial activity was that there had to be an unwritten collaboration between the editors, publishers, distributors and male (bachelor) readers — made more intensive by the same-sex bonding aspects within the discourse of the tales and by the exclusion of women readers they implied — for such serialised publications to be viable. Indeed, the writers may have wished their readers to make an effort comparable to a psychoanalyst to perceive, understand, analyse and ultimately to take part in the adventures in order to make them commercially successful. As Garrett Stewart has remarked about the texts of the period in his useful analysis of reading strategies in Dear Reader:
textual self-referentiality develops simultaneously as reader reflex. After all,…this is exactly the path by which literary form engages culture: not by imitation so much as by a rhetoric of participation.
There may have been a form of coercion by the editors and publishers of the young reader and his enlistment into the adventure in order for the collaboration to reach fruition in the reader’s home, either by the boy being read to by an adult, in a further act of collaboration, or by the novel being read alone or in groups. The boy reader takes part in, or is perhaps even coerced into, a collaboration with the writer; he becomes a participant in the action not only a docile collaborator. As the boy reads along, he is induced by the episodes into altering his orientation towards the contextualisation of the events — perhaps into a masculist attitude; by the engagement in an act of reading a male adventure he is drawn into the aura of male supremacism. The author, these days, asserts the moral right to be the owner of his characters and as their creator he must, arguably, take a responsibility for the political and social repercussions of his inventions. The contract with the reader brought together authors, reader and publisher in a coalescence of commercialism, male erotics, gender exclusion and spurious professionalism. The audience for these tales, readers of Blackwood’s Magazine, known as ‘Maga’, may have formed a microcosm of the larger Blackwood’s readership with their late-Victorian paternalist and supremacist outlook in officers’ clubs, messes and gentlemen’s libraries.
The collaboration between the reader and the author provides ways of granting the reader the thrill and opportunity of engaging in an adventure; the reader’s imaginative response allows a visualisation of characters. A number of modern writers have referred to the effect upon them of reading tales like Heart of Darkness, providing them with “versions of the primitive.” Indeed, the possession of the detective qualities that are needed to unravel many of these fictional stories of the nature of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes has led people into the profession of the detection of real-life crimes.
“He had ripped up my trousers...” Homosocial Possibilities in Sherlock Holmes.
Conan Doyle articulates more than any other single writer a dialogue of dual effort in the putative and yet civilly correct science of solving the increasing incidence of Victorian crime which disturbed the sensibilities of a righteous-minded era. In the stories based on the lives of his detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his assistant, Dr Watson, a clear mood of mutuality is established. The term mutuality implies collaboration or sharing, recognition of the activity and subjectivity of both partners. Yet the controversy over the publication of Doyle’s story ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ in the Strand magazine leads to concerns over publication rights, the issue of the detective in fictional romance, and whether collaboration with publishers is ever really possible. The aristocratic Holmes, bent on a life spent in the detection of crime, works closely together with his sidekick, a medical man, to provide the solution to numerous intriguing and apparently unsolvable mysteries which beset the police authorities in the London of that era.
The way the story is told, as a collaboration between the narrator and the reader, and the close working relationship of Holmes and Dr Watson, leads to aspects of collaborative endeavour. There is clearly a narrative strategy where Holmes has speaking parts in
In Doyle’s oeuvre there is an idealisation of bachelorhood, where women are marginalised, and which depend to a large extent on the influences provided by Walter Scott, whose romances resided in the popular perception. Doyle's work is significant in demonstrating collaborative practices in the production of fiction in the period, allowing for new ways of reading texts by a single author. Clearly, Holmes and Watson take part in collaborative and mutual endeavour to trace and apprehend criminal activity. The solving of the crime is a collaborative process. In
Holmes, as it transpires, is "not a difficult man to live with," "he was quiet in his ways, and his habits were regular," suggesting that Watson was intimately aware of his companion who took "a couple of comfortable bedrooms" at 221b, Baker Street. Were their domestic arrangements only for rooming, or a straightforward menage a deux? The provenance of Watson, coming from the colonies of India and Afghanistan, an exotic touch which opens up ideas of the unrestrained rient and foreign tainting to these stories to be read in the highly conservative environment in gentlemen's clubs and officers' messes in the south of England.
Indeed, Holmes’s connection with a ratiocinative, pipe-smoking world of drug induced euphoria is clearly established in The Sign Of Four where Doctor Watson can hardly contain his anger at Holmes’s indulgence in cocaine and opium:
Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantel- piece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle and rolled back his left shirtcuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist, all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally, he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction.
It is interesting that Holmes has developed a mutual dependency on opium or cocaine, and room exists for an examination of ‘Dorian Gray’ in which dependency features, as well as for a study of addiction, toxicology and its mutual benefits and drawbacks. Holmes’s dependence on crime and cocaine suggests a mutuality here that has escaped other commentators. Watson is incredulous and decides to press Holmes for an explanation:
“Which is it to-day," I asked, "morphine or cocaine?" He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened.
“It is cocaine,” he said, a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?"
The good doctor can barely contain his disgust and determines to speak about it:
"No, indeed," I answered brusquely. "My constitution has not got over the Afghan campaign yet. I cannot afford to throw any extra strain upon it."
On enquiring in ‘The Sign of Four’ whether Holmes is busy on any professional matters, Watson is informed: “None. Hence the cocaine. I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for?” These drugs could be associated with medical debates about the ills of morphine, cocaine and laudanum — all addictive drugs emanating, like Watson, from exotic countries around Afghanistan. Dr Watson has no intention of joining Holmes in his drug-taking habit and recoils, thinking of its possible effects on his health. Drug-taking was more common and possibly more acceptable to society at that time than it has subsequently become for, as is perhaps not widely known, the use of laudanum, a liquid form of the opiate derived from the poppy, was used extensively in late-Victorian circles. Matthew Sweet has recently suggested rather contentiously that opium was cheaper to purchase than food and that Victorian children were often given opium that was contained in proprietary medicines.
On one occasion, Watson is injured during the course of apprehending a dangerous criminal, Killer Evans, in ‘The Three Garridebs’ (1927). John Garrideb masquerades as an American Counsellor at Law while he is, in reality, a cold-blooded forger and murderer. Evans is coded as the openly respectable but dubious character whose duplicity reflects Victorian images of dark practices masked by respectability. Evans is depicted as criminal while Holmes is high-class, restrained and law-abiding.
In a story investigating a case in a house that was
, "the abode of Bohemian bachelors", Watson is grasped by Holmes around his shoulders and led to a chair: “Then my friend’s wiry arms were round me and he was leading me to a chair.” Apparently, it is worth the wound that he receives and more in order to "know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind the cold mask” of Holmes. Holmes expresses his concern for Watson in imploring terms: “You’re not hurt Watson? For God’s sake say that you are not hurt?” Watson, on the record, expresses his deep and abiding admiration. “The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.” With the usual sang-froid Watson replies that the wound is unimportant: “It is nothing, Holmes, It’s a mere scratch.” Whereupon Holmes rips open Watson’s trousers, opening possibilities of a more erotic reading: “He had ripped up my trousers with his pocket-knife.” If Holmes is so free with Watson’s trouser leg, what, one might ask, would Edward Ashbee, the Erotomaniac, have made of such eroticism in literature at the time; indeed would the Holmes stories open up possibilities for an erotic reading where Holmes’s hand runs up the leg of Watson’s pants to ‘detect’ the contents?
It all suggests the homosocial possibilities of a dual narrative delivered to the reader by a narrator — a further dual partnership. At the outset of the adventure, Watson divulges that
, "in my position of partner and confidant I am obliged to be particularly careful to avoid any ." One wonders what the natureof these is. Would it involve the sexual peccadilloes of the duo? The homosocial nature of the slips and misadventures which Watson would have to circumvent in the bohemian bachelordom he inhabits is apparent.
The fashion in which Moriarty is twinned with Holmes — for without Moriarty there is no Holmes — is a subject of some concern for a late-Victorian society with its ideas of sobriety, propriety and form. The masculine ambience replete with a “tall dark man with a beard” and in which “Holmes touched my wrist as a signal” and where “I leaned on Holmes’s arm” an area where women may not venture or reside — they are excluded from any real participation. Indeed, the collaboration between Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes and also that between Moriarty, the 'dark other', and his brother, James Moriarty, unless they are one and the same person, all lead to ideas of the Victorian narrator as one whose complicity in an elaborate set of homosocial fictive collaborations is evident. Watson refers to “the very intimate relations which had existed” between himself and Holmes before his own venture into “private practice”, and he enters a heterosexual relationship alone, to practise privately after his engagement with Holmes.
Watson is considered by Holmes to be interested in members of the opposite sex. In A Study in Scarlet, Holmes declares “Now, Watson the fair sex is your department.” In ‘The Greek Interpreter’, Watson records that Holmes disliked women “His aversion to women and his disinclination to form new friendships were both typical of his unemotional character” but this is not always borne out by the textual evidence. Holmes meets one late-Victorian lady — Madame Isadora Klein — in a challenging encounter in ‘The Adventure of the Three Gables’. She is portrayed as a native of Pernambuco, the widow of a German sugar manufacturer:
She was, of course, the celebrated beauty. There was never a woman to touch her. She is pure Spanish, the real blood of the masterful Conquistadors, and her people have been leaders in Pernambuco for generations. She married the aged German sugar king, Klein, and presently found herself the richest as well as the most lovely widow on earth.
In this Doyle short story there is a heterosexual element. “She smiled and nodded, with a charming coquettish intimacy.” Her charms appear strongly attractive to the bachelor detective, “So roguish and exquisite did she look as she stood before us with a challenging smile that I felt of all Holmes’s criminals this was the one whom he would find it hardest to face.” However, he does not succumb, since “he was immune from sentiment.”
In “The Lion’s Mane” Holmes interacts with a beautiful local woman involved in the case of a mysterious attack by a sea creature mistaken for a wild lion. Holmes demonstrates his sang froid with regard to women once again, but fully realises her potential for seduction:
Women have seldom been an attraction to me, for my brain has always governed my heart, but I could not look upon her perfect clear-cut face, with all the soft freshness of the downlands in her delicate colouring, without realizing that no young man would cross her path unscathed. Such was the girl who had pushed open the door and stood now, wide-eyed and intense, in front of Harold Stackhurst.
Undoubtedly Holmes found women attractive, but was not so dependent on his emotions as to be affected by them. In ‘The Final Problem’ Holmes visits the married home of Watson and enquiring whether “Mrs Watson” is “in?” and finding that she is away replies “Then it makes it the easier for me to propose that you should come away with me for a week on to the Continent.” Holmes seems incapable of breaking the bond with Watson even beyond the date of his marriage.
Generally, as G. K. Chesterton pointed out, Holmes was not accessible to emotions like love and sympathy, but he is nevertheless prepared to introduce Watson to a marriageable young lady. At the detective’s apartments in ‘The Sign of Four’ their landlady enters, carrying a visiting card on a brass tray:
"Miss Mary Morstan," he read. "Hum! I have no recollection of the name. Ask the young lady to step up, Mrs. Hudson. Don't go, Doctor. I should prefer that you remain.
A fortuitous occasion for heterosocial gatherings is thereby engineered. It is not until Watson marries Miss Morston in ‘The Sign of Four’ that Holmes begins to soften in his approach to him. She reveals herself to be both exotic and foreign causing some concern to Holmes. As Wilde’s character puts it in The Picture of Dorian Gray,
If we women did not love you for your defects, where would you all be? Not one of you would ever be married. You would be a set of unfortunate bachelors. Not, however, that that would alter you much. Nowadays all the married men live like bachelors and all the bachelors like married men.
The piece quoted from Wilde’s novel illustrates a contemporary opinion on marriage and bachelordom, which displayed a new attitude at that time towards being unmarried. In the days when Oxford colleges precluded dons from marrying, bachelors were held to be of a higher order, but here bachelorhood is derided by Wilde’s female character. It is not until Watson marries that he is freed from this allegedly inferior position.
The place of women in the text is clear in ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’. A woman character, Irene Adler, typifies the sexual freedom associated with the French tragic actor Rachel, who took the name Felix. Irene Adler was born in 1858, the year of Felix’s death. Was this the Rachel mentioned in the murder case in A Study in Scarlet”? [see below]. “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman” who in the story blackmails the King of Bohemia by confessing to her own affair with him five years earlier. She manages to outwit Sherlock Holmes and even, on one occasion, disguised as a man, addressing him by name in the street.
Dr. Joseph Bell of Edinburgh University, an early practitioner of forensic science, may have been the precursor of the character of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle wrote to Dr. Bell confirming that he had based the stories on his person:
“It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes, and though in the stories I have the advantage of being able to place [the detective] in all sorts of dramatic positions, I do not think that his analytic work is in the least an exaggeration of some effects which I have seen you produce in the out-patient ward.”
This personification of a Doyle character also opens up questions of the ‘real life’ Sherlock Holmes whose apartments at the re-numbered 221b Baker Street house a museum dedicated to the life of the perhaps not erstwhile, that is, still living detective. Some of the intuitive methods that later appeared in the Holmes stories explain how Holmes was able in ‘The Adventure of the Creeping Man’ “by watching the mind of a child, to form a deduction as to the criminal habits of the very smug and respectable father.” Dr Bell had been summoned by the courts to solve a murder case in Edinburgh. The murderer was a Frenchman, Eugene Chantrelle, whose victim was his wife. There had been many mistakes made in the case, and Dr Bell had managed to guide the doctors and police in the right direction before isolating the cause of death as a gas pipe that had been tampered with. Similar incidents appear throughout the Doylean texts, such as the solving of the riddle of the Naval Treaty where the papers were hidden below some gas pipes in a space beneath the “T-joint which gives off the pipe which supplies the kitchen underneath.”
There are many instances in Doyle’s stories where collaborative activity is involved. In ‘The Reigate Squires’, collaboration takes place between Sherlock Holmes, Watson, and Inspector Forrester to solve a murder mystery occurring as a result of a burglary at Mr Acton's home. Holmes agrees to stay at the home of Watson's bachelor friend Colonel Hayter: "when Holmes understood that the establishment was a bachelor one, and that he would be allowed the fullest freedom, he fell in with my plan", recounts Watson, suggesting a series of possibilities for male bonding in an all-male household.
In an act of family collaboration, Mr Cunningham, J.P. and his son, Alec, both attempt to strangle Sherlock Holmes in order to prevent his investigations reaching fruition. In this story Holmes's powers as a graphologist are put to the maximum use in solving the crime, for he is able to decipher that two hands were at work in collaborating on the letter which provides the main evidence in solving the mystery, and thereby incriminate the father and son. It is a collaborative story in which Holmes examines the penmanship and the spaces between words in a fragment of a handwritten note grasped in a dead man's hand. It is from this scrawled note that he determines the characters, ages, and relations between the two murderers who together commit the crime.
Graphology had reached a status in late-Victorian Britain, along with palmistry, séances in which the table moved and strange knocking was heard, and spiritualism and the occult as some of the pastimes to which people were addicted. The two hands at work in writing leads back to the collaborative theme in literary production where men in pairs and groups bonded together to produce adventure fiction, suggesting that two minds can devolve into the consciousness of one, although Keats suggested that “I and myself cannot agree.”
Further collaboration of a mystical kind arises in A Study in Scarlet. In Chapter 6, ‘Tobias Gregson Shows What He Can Do’, a father, aided by his son, Arthur Charpentier, a ghost and his daughter, Alice, encourage Mr Jefferson Hope to carry out the murder/revenge of an American traveller, Enoch J. Drebber who had lodged at a house in Camberwell. The landlady, Mrs Charpentier, forms a poor impression of Mr Drebber and claims that he was “coarse in his habits and brutish in his ways.... His manners towards the maid-servants were disgustingly free and familiar.” But far worse was that he acted in the same way “towards my daughter, Alice.” After the murder of Drebber, the ghostly collaboration leads to the death of Mr Drebber’s secretary, Strangerson, in the most unexplained of ways: “a most incomprehensible affair”. Above the bed where the murder occurred is found the word ‘RACHE’ written in blood. Could the word have been a short version of the woman’s name, Rachel, as suggested by Gregson, a reference to the French tragic actor Rachel, or did it mean the German word for revenge or vengeance? The questions that are raised are: was the word written by the deceased or by the perpetrator of the crime? Was he poisoned or was his death by suicide or by violent means? The events could only have taken place with the aid of a supernatural force. Collaboration, here, is mooted with spectral activity as the only explanation of the deaths of the two men, leading to ideas of ghostly collaboration, revenge by the father for the sexual harassment by Drebber of the daughter, Alice, and exploitation of women by men in a highly patriarchal society.
n takes place in ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ (1902). A character known as Stapleton, of a family formerly known as Vandeleur, arrives in Devon, under the cover of being a naturalist, with his wife, whom he passes off as his sister, in an attempt to deceive Sir Henry Baskerville out of the ownership of his property. Stapleton collaborates with the pseudonymous John Barrymore, the butler, who was formerly named Selden. Barrymore in turn collaborates with Selden — Barrymore’s wife Eliza’s younger brother, his brother-in-law — by signalling to him with a lighted candlestick.
Holmes discovers that Stapleton is, in fact, a member of the aristocratic Baskerville family who, in order to try to regain the Baskerville estate, engages in a plot with his "confederate", who is a “criminal renegade”. Stapleton brings to his aid a fierce dog that he disguises as the fiendish
, “Hound of the Baskervilles” which legend has portrayed, in an attempt to dispossess Sir Henry, the baronet, and his heirs of his money, land and inheritance, by scaring him off his property. Duplicity, disguise and name changes reside in the story as the clear thinking and perspicacity of Holmes cuts through the fog — the ‘morass’ that descends upon both the moor and the plot. The reader’s task is to collaborate with Watson in unravelling Doyle’s intricate story unless, failing, to sink into the dreaded bog that is the Grimpen Mire, or indeed become lost in the plot of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.
Stapleton’s wife refuses to take part in the plan and he has to resort to other means to carry off the deception. Whilst Stapleton attempts to cause Sir Henry to have a heart attack as a result of an attack by the hound upon the moors, Holmes forestalls the plot. It is only the perseverance and wily cunning of Holmes and Watson in another one of their partnerships which thwarts Stapleton in his collaborative ambitions, although here the means are collaborative as a way to a single end. In a complex plot, the twists and turns reflect the dual nature and the convolutions of collaboration, for as Watson declares: “Holmes himself had said that no more complex case had come to him in all the long series of his sensational investigations.”
Collaboration and the ‘words’ are emphasised in the Dolyean oeuvre. Indeed, the very act of letter writing — sending letters back to Sherlock Holmes about his recollections of the case — mirrors the act of literary collaboration. In ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, Watson sends Holmes the ‘First Report of Dr Watson’ where in the story he recounts that he “will follow the course of events by transcribing my own letters to Mr Sherlock Holmes which lie before me on the table.” Later, Watson sends Holmes ‘The Second Report of Dr Watson’ stating that, as he was forced to leave Holmes early in the case, he has to catch up in an act of literary endeavour by “making up for lost time”, by writing a letter by a first class post that would arrive without delay. Subsequently, in the chapter entitled ‘Extract from the Diary of Dr Watson’ he reveals that “I have arrived at a point in my narrative where I am compelled to abandon this method and to trust once more to my recollections”. With the use of his desk diary and a good sense of recall, Watson is able to provide Holmes with all the details of the case that he had lacked. Added to the reports and telegrams that he sends to Holmes, there exists the writing up of mysteries and solutions by Watson. Yet Holmes often criticises him, amongst other things, for what he writes even though Watson suggests that “you must acknowledge, my dear Holmes, that I have done you very well in the matter of a report”, and at the end of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ Holmes confirms that “I have already told you that your reports reached me rapidly...They were of great service to me.”
Writing and the writer are featured in Doyle’s work. Holmes is a writer, too, for in The Sign of Four Holmes refers to a French man who is translating his minor works into French. "Your works?" asks Watson, incredulously, to which Holmes replies in the affirmative.
These acts of writing are a form of collaboration. The use of words is paramount in the collaborative process of solving the criminality within. The use of ‘monographs’, reference works, typesetting, coloured plates and illustrations all form part of a technology that is central to collaboration in Conan Doyle, and in Dracula there appear acts of collaboration through writing in the use of the telegraph, the typewriter and print technology. Holmes engages in technological studies with which the late-Victorians and Edwardians were enamoured, and it links to visions of Empire with technology, science and the minutiae of every area of life being subjected to the closest scrutiny and study by Royal Societies, groups and institutions.
The plot of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ opens up questions of the Victorian family's predilections for respectability and its susceptibility to disrepute. The aristocracy at this period had come under scrutiny because of the degeneracy of elements within it. The taint of criminality in a highly conservative late-Victorian environment was of an extremely critical nature: "Was it possible that this stolidly respectable person was of the same blood as one of the most notorious criminals in the country?" Watson enquires, indicating a preoccupation with Victorian eugenics. The debate about Darwinism opened up questions of nurture versus the hereditary nature of individuals which is to be seen here. Indeed Darwin had confirmed in the Preface to The Descent of Man that man had evolved through the agency of natural selection, suggesting that heredity was all-important. Some people were beginning to question theories of heredity at the time as to whether man's development was influenced by acquired factors such as physical, moral and mental characteristics, or by nurture in the way of upbringing, social milieu and background.
In ‘The Final Problem’, Holmes works with Watson in a collaborative enterprise to counter the intrigues of Professor Moriarty, who is not to be confused with his brother, Colonel James Moriarty, though some might claim that they are the same person, to solve the kind of murder mystery which intrigued a late-Victorian public conditioned by the Ripper murders and aristocratic involvement. Disguised as a "decrepit Italian cleric", Holmes reveals himself to Watson in an act of collaboration tinged with religiosity and foreign tainting, which results in their both being able to apprehend the criminal, Moriarty. The mystery nearly solved, a struggle ensues at the edge of the waterfall ending in Holmes and Professor Moriarty falling to their death, “locked in each other’s arms.” Holmes, in a dual and erotic embrace with Moriarty, falls over into the torrent at the foot of a precipice in Reichenbach in the Swiss mountains, thereby combining suppressed sexual imagery with homoerotic activity, as the waterfall suggests the phallus and their death fall physical intimacy. It is quite possible to regard the waterfall, a long white column of water, as being closely allied to a phallus and the linking of the two bodies in death as representing coitus with the act of coition schematised as collaboration, and, as the two men cling together, leading to ideas of repressed homosocial masculine desire. In the last pages of the "Memoir", Holmes is killed off in a final act of suicidal collaboration between the author, the narrator, the character, and the editor so that the series can be brought to an end conveniently by their arranging Holmes's death.
Doyle’s purpose in finishing the Sherlock Holmes adventures was to give himself the opportunity to engage in other kinds of literary work, but Doyle discovered that there was no impediment to his other forms of writing by continuing with the Holmes stories:
I did the deed, but, fortunately no coroner had pronounced upon the remains, and so, after a long interval, it was not difficult for me to respond to the flattering demand and to explain my rash act away. I have never regretted it, for I have not in actual practice found that these lighter sketches have prevented me from exploring and finding my limitations in such varied branches of literature as history, poetry, historical novels, psychic research, and the drama.
And so “in one bound he was free” and Holmes lives again to continue his life of detection, trouser ripping and collaboration. It has been suggested by Lawrence Frank that Conan Doyle revived the Holmes stories because of their popularity due to issues of “empire, urbanisation and work that so preoccupied Victorian men and women.”
Holmes is resuscitated for further co-operative adventures in
A Story that Attempts but Cannot Finally Be Told. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream - making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation…
The intensity of the collaboration required is enormous to be able to make the connection between what Marlow goes on to recount and what is the truth of the incredible, almost religious nature of a story of “pilgrims”, and “idols” intent on an “idea”, indicating its status as a parable of collaboration and non collaboration. The text implies an adventure between late-Victorian middle-class males determined upon a course of action to piece together the tale of quest and horror set in a River Congo no different from the River Thames on which it originates. It is a voyage of discovery which results in a deeper for Marlow and the four Englishmen, although the reader does not really know what the other males might have ‘seen’.
The adventurers whose spirits are invoked, “Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame they had all gone out on that stream”, represent a historical pageant of men who had collaborated in the male enterprise of imperialism. But as
, “the yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut”, the “simple” nature of the tale is matched by the simple act of a collaboration between Marlow, the professional men - —the Lawyer, the Accountant, the Director of Companies - —and the first narrator to comprehend the nature of the expedition to the Congo on which Marlow had been sent. As the Thames and its environs are made to convey the same sense of “one of the dark places of the earth”, with their “sandbanks, marsh, forests”, as the dark inner continent of Africa, the two separate places in the world converge into something greater, which the opening of the novella implies. But once the tale is embarked upon, a spirit of collaboration quickly fades as the pilgrims, “white men with long staves in their hand”, demonstrate a singular lack of purposefulness and co-operation and, rather, engage in a fruitless task of accumulating and then idolising the ivory they have caused to be hunted: “you would think they were praying to it.” Whereas the collaborators have embarked upon listening to a story which commences in a savagery held to have been apparent not only in the Congo but on the Thames of old, its context of exploitation soon eliminates any continuation of collaborative practices.
If collaboration, in one of its aspects, is a form of discipleship, then Charles Marlow’s relationship with Kurtz is that of a faithful follower who sees himself as a pilgrim: “I became in an instant as much of a pretence as the rest of the bewitched pilgrims.” The construction of Africa in the novel allows for a megalomania to develop and Marlow is the silent witness of Kurtz’s actions. The latter’s musical ability and the work that he has written impresses Marlow deeply: “I’ve seen it. I’ve read it. It was eloquent, vibrating with eloquence...” The text of the pamphlet, “the report on the ‘Suppression of Savage Customs’, with the postcriptum torn off, which Marlow rescues from the hands of the dying Kurtz, is given away in a spirit of collaboration to a “journalist anxious to know the fate of his ‘dear colleague’”. Marlow agrees that Kurtz had been “an — extremist” and gives the journalist, as I said, the report “for publication if he thought fit.” It is a form of collaboration with Marlow by the man with “furry straight eyebrows, bristly hair cropped short, an eyeglass on a broad ribbon” to receive the packet of papers and keep them for the judgement of posterity.
Marlow contests the version of “the spectacled man” about Kurtz’s knowledge as having been “extensive and peculiar — owing to his great abilities and to the deplorable circumstances in which he had been placed” by informing him that his knowledge “however extensive [my italics] did not bear upon the problems of commerce or administration.” This underlines Marlow’s belief that Kurtz had a compendious knowledge of the unknown and uncharted regions of the world and was, thereby, a kind of nineteenth-century anthropologist. His admiration for Kurtz is evident, for he judges him to be a fellow professional and a writer, “I had taken him for a painter who wrote for the papers, or else for a journalist who could paint,” pointing to Kurtz’s status in Africa as a writer and artist. Marlow remains faithful to Kurtz to the end, confirming that his was a firm assignation of a method, a plan, a way of doing things: “It was an affirmation, a moral victory paid for by innumerable defeats, by abominable terrors, by abominable satisfactions. But it was a victory. That is why I have remained loyal to Kurtz to the last, and even beyond.” Kurtz had, indeed, surpassed all bounds, but the limitation of Marlow’s bonding with him is in the fact that he did not step over those boundaries, but, of course, is changed by it all.
Marlow’s journey up river to find Kurtz has resulted in his discovering his second self or his alter ego — a man who has the character to impress Marlow beyond words — in words that Marlow finds difficult to express. The imprecise meaning of Conrads text does not help to convey Marlow’s story to the reader. The act of writing is an act of collaboration and words like ‘inscrutable’, ‘inexplicable‘ and ‘implacable’ feature as a persistent refrain or motif throughout the novel in their inability to be understood and their meanings decoded. Indeed, this novella is preoccupied by ‘words’ — their power, their ability to represent, misrepresent and falsify and ultimately to create illusions — illusions of supremacism and collaboration.
Later as they travel down river, the Manager’s boy assistant announces Kurtz’s death with an air of dislike:
Suddenly the Manager’s boy put his insolent black head in the doorway and said in a tone of scathing contempt: "Mistah Kurtz – He dead"
But Marlow is not unduly moved by the death of Kurtz and “remained and went on with my dinner”. However, the emotion on his passing may have been affecting to him, for he “did not eat much.” Yet, Kurtz in life as in death is “the remarkable man who had pronounced judgment upon the adventures of his soul on this earth.” Marlow cannot let his passing go without commenting on the greatness of his achievement and the accomplishments of Kurtz’s life: “The voice was gone. What else had been there?”
After Kurtz’s death Marlow decides not to return to Europe immediately, but he “remained to dream the nightmare out to the end and to show my loyalty to Kurtz once more.” It is a form of dependency upon the memory of Kurtz and an inevitable submission to his destiny and the firm belief that he had encountered “a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it.”
If Marlow can be said to co-operate with Kurtz, the Manager finally fails to co-operate with him. He declares that Kurtz’s problem was that
, “he did not see the time was not ripe for vigorous action.” The Russian harlequin, entirely self centred and vain, has spent much of his time in collaboration with him: “I tell you… this man has enlarged my mind”. The harlequin’s devotion to Kurtz is such that he is incapable of accepting that Kurtz will die: “I suspect that for him Mr Kurtz was one of the immortals”, says Marlow attempting to explain the harlequin’s closeness to Kurtz. The Helmsman is a man who shows “no restraint, no restraint, - just like Kurtz - a tree swayed by the wind”. Yet the “subtle bond” that is forged between the helmsman and Marlow as he “steered for me” is evidence of a collaborative partnership. Because the helmsman has spent months “at my back”, he has become indispensable to Marlow and regret is expressed over his death because of the friendship they have 3 formed on the river journey.
The African people who accompany Marlow on his journey up river are portrayed as a collaborative and helpful group: “They were men one could work with, and I am grateful to them”, confesses Marlow, despite his earlier reference to them as cannibals. ‘Work’ is a persistent motif in the progress of Marlow upstream, as he works, helps and collaborates with the others to bring his journey to meet Kurtz to fruition. The act of working forms the bond in Heart of Darkness, as the dedication to work is the main reason for Marlow’s involvement in the Congo enterprise. Marlow is part of the colonial movement for which they were all working, “part of the great cause of these high and just proceedings” and again, to confirm the collaborative nature of the enterprise, Marlow declares “It is strange how I accepted this unforseen partnership.”
The Intended also has a key co-operative function for she is the person who receives the batch of papers and the portrait which form the framework of Marlow's narrative. The portrait of the Intended is only one of the items of memorabilia returned to her by Marlow, along with the “private letters” and the “bundle of papers”. Marlow refuses to collaborate with “the clean shaved man with the official manner” and does not part with any of the “documents” to him but reserves them in an act of even more faithful collaboration with the fiancée, even though the mother of Kurtz had “died lately watched over, as I was told, by his Intended.” The fiancée, as I will show later, is denied the truth, so their collaboration is a fiction and a fantasy of male supremacy. The papers and Marlow’s very handling and distributing them, as well as the act of suppression of the truth from the fiancée are further instances of a type of “‘literary’ collaboration” with Kurtz that, added to his position as a literary man form a clear impression of this aura of literariness, joint endeavour and syncretism. The fiancée represents a profound influence upon the novella as her presence provides an important background and support to Kurtz's activities in the Congo, although, of course, it represents heterosexual activity. She serves as a significant vehicle for the plot for, even one year after the events, she collaborates in the interview with Marlow upon which the final part of his testimony is based. However, the collaboration does not reach fruition and Marlow collaborates with her expectations by telling a lie about Kurtz’s final moments. He does not convey to her the very last words Kurtz uttered and can only plead with her to be conscious of them:
“Don’t you hear them.” The dusk was repeating them in a persistent whisper all around us, in a whisper that seemed to swell menacingly like the first whisper of a rising wind. “The horror! The horror!”
Marlow ends by lying to the Intended about Kurtz’s final words. They did not concern her, but Marlow, intent on collaborating with her intentions to the end even if it means glossing over his [Kurtz’s] activities in the Congo and misrepresenting him replies “The last word he pronounced was – your name.” So in a final act of collaboration with the Intended he does not verbalize the reality of the Belgian Congo enterprise even to the main protagonist’s beloved. Their collaboration thus becomes a fantasy, a fanciful myth of male supremacy.
The one collaborative act remaining is that of the reader who must use his powers of co-operation with the author to try to understand the religious intensity with which the story of pilgrims in their white clothes and staves, the prophet Kurtz, and the idol Marlow is told. Not only do the professional men on board the Nellie need to collaborate in order for the tale to be unravelled, but Conrad enlists the reader’s collaboration to discern who is listening and who is telling a tale constructed with multiple layers of meaning. The reader is drawn into a collaboration in his relationship with both the text and the author because the narrator constantly begs the reader to listen, to hear and to understand when reading a story based on male collaboration gone mad.
One of the overt moments when his audience’s collaboration in listening is called upon occurs when Marlow demands their participation to find out the meaning of Kurtz’s activities: “Do you see him? Do you see the story? Do you see anything?5 154 Conrad declares in his preface to ''The Nigger of the Narcissus'' that the goal of the artist ''... is, before all, to make you see.'' The assertion of the creed of “seeing” is a frequent one in Conrad’s narratives.
He paused again as if reflecting, then added:
“Of course in this you fellows see more than I could see then. You see me, whom you know…”
He concludes that “the essentials of this affair lay deep under the surface, beyond my reach and beyond my power of meddling.” One of the aspects, therefore, that makes this tale a collaborationist one is that it is about a story that attempts but cannot finally be told. It is held at levels of meaning, readings of which are possible but a final deconstruction is nowhere in the reader’s grasp. Just as the story is about the impossibility of understanding the events that rove Kurtz, so the reader finds himself driven toward the impossibility of understanding the meaning of Conrad’s novella, even upon repeated readings alone, or together in collaboration with others.
A Homosocial bond between Marlow and Jim: Lord Jim.
In Conrad’s other bonding novel, Lord Jim, the sea captain, Marlow, attempts a collaboration with the younger Jim, a seaman and pastor's son. The action of the first part takes place aboard the Patna:
The Patna was a local steamer as old as the hills, lean like a greyhound, and eaten up with rust worse than a condemned water-tank.
The ‘crisis’ on board leads Marlow, on hearing of it, to a different understanding of Jim’s character than he had previously formed, however. It causes him to think that Jim has an unsteady character, although Marlow tells us that the time would come when Jim would become “loved, trusted, admired, with a legend of strength and prowess forming round his name as though he had been the stuff of a hero.”.
During a storm at sea the vessel, loaded with eight hundred pilgrims bound for Mecca, strikes a submerged obstacle and begins to sink. The sea forces its way into the bulkhead which prevents the water from reaching the pilgrims in the hold. Jim is sure that the bulkhead will not hold, but contemplates trying to shore it up:
Have you watched a ship floating head down, checked in sinking by a sheet of old iron too rotten to stand being shored up? Have you? Oh yes, shored up? I thought of that — I thought of every mortal thing; but can you shore up a bulkhead in five minutes — or in fifty for that matter?
The first engineer exhorts Jim to assist him but resorts to calling Jim a coward: “Coward! He called me an infernal coward!” Jim helps to lower a lifeboat and abandons the vessel to its fate. He makes his escape and jumps from the ship into the lifeboat: Reminiscing later he recalls ‘“I had jumped...” He checked himself, averted his gaze... “It seems,” he added.’ Jim has failed to collaborate with the others, yet throughout the novel he continually stresses that he did what many would have done in the same circumstances.
Fortunately, the ship is rescued by a French naval vessel and the pilgrims are saved from drowning. The steamer Avondale picks up Jim and the other officers from the lifeboat. Later, at a court of enquiry in “an Eastern port”, Marlow enters the scene and begins a friendship with Jim. He finds a job for him, but Jim soon disappears when the weight of the events surrounding the sinking of the Patna becomes too much. Marlow continues to defend him and, after various vicissitudes, helps an old trader, Stein, to send Jim as a trading-manager to Patusan, in Sarawak, as his representative.
Once there, Jim proves himself as a leader of the people, leads the native people against rival gangs and helps to defend them from raiders. He is given the title of "Tuan Jim," or Lord Jim and settles down with a local woman as a partner. A couple of years later, Marlow revives the friendship with Jim, which is not altogether successful. The weaknesses in Jim’s character — inconstancy and indeterminacy, and the failure to understand Brown’s character — are still apparent, and he finally succumbs to the Malay chief, Doramin. He offers up his life as a proof that Brown can be trusted. The act of submitting himself to be killed by Doramin could be taken to mean an act of collaboration with the villagers, and might represent a return to the Patna thereby to assuage his crimes. When Jim climbs up to the village, he has “jumped” all the way back to the Patna where he jumped from the ship on that original occasion. He has conquered his bad memories and his shame, but Conrad, underlining Jim’s fixation about his [Jim’s] honour, considers it an example of his “exalted egoism” and a “pitiless wedding with a shadowy ideal of conduct”. It is apparent that, once again, as in a number of Conrad’s novels, there is a central male character who acts as a narrator figure to bring together the helpful aspects of the story. The action of collaboration required is that between the narrator and the other characters to ascertain the nature of the crime that Jim is supposed to have committed in his past, which the reader is aware of but they are not. The truth of the events never does emerge — Jim is pursued by gossip and hearsay. The characters must work together with the narrator to piece together the facts of a story in which Jim is constantly running away from his past action on the Patna and is never allowed to mitigate his crime until Conrad arranges a plot structure in which Jim gives up his life as an action of redemption.
Whilst in Patusan, there develops a bonding and a consanguineous relationship between Jim and an Australian adventurer, ‘Gentleman Brown’. Jim remains unable to understand Brown’s treachery and is misled into thinking that he [Brown] possessed a good moral character. He continues to flatter and patronise Jim by continually referring to the bond that existed between them. The narrator confirms this:
And there ran through the rough talk a vein of subtle reference to their common blood, an assumption of common experience; a sickening suggestion of common guilt, of secret knowledge that was like a bond of their minds and of their hearts.
Male bonding is a feature of the novella, as Marlow attempts a collaboration with Jim, but the collaboration never reaches fruition, perhaps due to the fatal flaws of vacillation in Jim’s character. The difference in their ages may account for the lack of a real bond between them. Their friendship remains only as a kind of benevolence on Marlow’s part and an admiration of a younger man’s qualities that one may have liked to possess in oneself. Jim says of Marlow, and Marlow comments upon Jim:
You are an awful good sort to listen like this,” he said. “It does me good. You don’t know what it is to me. You don’t”... words seemed to fail him. It was a distinct glimpse. He was a youngster of the sort you like to see about you; of the sort you like to imagine yourself to have been; of the sort whose appearance claims the fellowship of these illusions you had thought gone out, extinct, cold, and which, as if rekindled at the approach of another flame, give a flutter deep, deep down somewhere, give a flutter of light...of heat!
The bond between Marlow and Jim is as palpable as that between one sailor and another, and between parent and child, while Jim reveals something of himself to Marlow:
There is a continuation of the bond between Marlow and Jim where “the foundations of our intimacy were being laid – to endure - to endure - even to the end - even beyond.” In the same way, during the trial, Marlow bonds with Jim for perpetuity: “And later on, many times, in distant parts of the world” their relationship is to be remembered and continued, offering suggestions of the permanence of male bonding in some instances.
The homosocial bond between Marlow and Jim demands that women are kept in their “beautiful world”, but they do not succeed in their plan. In fact, in this story women play key roles without really understanding the actions of the men, especially Jim’s final act of heroism. Jewel realises that she is to be prevented from entering the male world and asks Marlow: “Do you – do you want him?” Marlow’s denial of any desire for Jim, “I don’t want him. No one wants him”, only re-inforces the fact that he is in an intimate relationship with him. When Jim chooses death before a life with Jewel, she cries out upon seeing Marlow that: “He has left me... you always leave us — for your own ends.” She has tried vainly to keep Jim, but his insistence on demonstrating his honour to the world by sacrificing his life results in their tragedy. Bonding and collaboration are a key feature of this novel, whilst untold guilt, egoism and honour feature strongly in the narrative.
In Lord Jim and in Heart of Darkness, women are coded mainly as a counterpoint to masculinity and are only needed as a demarcation of manfulness. Women become allegories of African and Asian locales themselves represented as feminine to be penetrated by male explorers. Annette Kolodny in ‘The Lay of the Land’ refers to the “new world” as a virgin about to be invaded, in texts emanating from the beginnings of the American exploration. The word “dis–covery”, she suggests, could refer to the subconscious unveiling that takes place in the minds of male explorers. In these stories women are seen as part of nature, and not as belonging within culture, and as having the same ambivalence. Women in Lord Jim reflect domestic spaces that are beautiful and delicate and far removed from the world of action that men inhabit. But the African woman in Heart of Darkness is seen as affording passionate, sensational pleasure for men as “with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments” she moves across the scene. It is as if the whole of life were “looking at the image” of the primitive in this portrait and seeing its own reflection — the reflection of its own “passionate soul”. Yet the resonances are of the body, her mind is of no consequence, her soul a void and a matter of reflections of other souls, and her presence a matter for lusting after.
Women are part in Lord Jim of a supremacist exercise whereby men are to dominate and women to submit themselves, although as we note from Jewel’s challenge to the male world, not always. Jim has called his woman partner Jewel — a thing of precious beauty — but she is not allowed the value and worth that such fine objects can command, only men usually obtain wealth and value in the sphere of romances of masculine adventure.
Bonding, Collaboration and Danger in ‘The Secret Sharer’.
Just as in the bond between Marlow and Jim, collaboration between two men to survive an obvious danger is a basic function of the short story, ‘The Secret Sharer’.  However, the circumstances of the writing of the work— Conrad left aside Under Western Eyes, and, in order to earn enough money to pay for the cost of Nellie’s medical treatment, wrote the story in a period of twelve days from 3 December to 15 December 1909 — give rise to concerns of pot-boilers, literary haste and money-making under the pressure of life’s urgencies. The result is still a story of the profoundest Conradian sophistication and style, however.
In this novella the narrator figure, a newly-appointed sea captain, befriends a criminal, Leggatt, who has swum from his own ship, the Sephora, to escape from his pursuers for the deed of murder. The captain of the vessel spots an aura of luminescence in the water and looks out to see what it is:
Before I could form a guess a faint flash of phosphorescent light, which seemed to issue suddenly from the naked body of a man, flickered in the sleeping water with the elusive silent play of summer lightning in a night sky.
The bond between the sea captain and the escaped mariner is intense and secretive, leading to suggestions of something perhaps suspicious occurring between them: “We remained side by side talking in our secret way — but sometimes silent or just exchanging a whispered word or two at intervals”. The sense of a conspiracy being enacted is evident as: “At night I would smuggle him into my bed-place, and we would whisper together.” It has resonances of a shared romance, a deep “crush” one for the other, or an unspoken attraction between two individuals cemented by the fact of its guilt, implausible logic and the unspoken desire to maintain the secret from the rest of the crew. Its homosociality is reflected in the need to conceal the secret that cannot be, and is not named.
The narrator of the story conceals the other marine officer in his own cabin, despite the rules and regulations of sea-going discipline, allowing his personal feeling to corrupt his moral position, thereby letting himself be subject to the disapproval of the other officers. The intention to keep the escapee until he can swim ashore later arises from a deeply-held need to co-operate with one’s fellow human beings and underlines another aspect of the forms of collaboration that can take place between two people, especially in times of stress at sea. This is the need to help others in circumstances that transcend officer class and national, racial and ‘conventional’ boundaries. But the other seamen on board, engaged in their own self-collaborations, were a constant danger to the enterprise of harbouring the fugitive:
Meantime the chief mate, with an almost visible effect of collaboration on the part of his round eyes and frightful whiskers, was trying to evolve a theory of the anchored ship. His dominant trait was to take all things into earnest consideration.
The narrator of the tale soon establishes a close friendship with the other seaman, and their bond, just like that between Jim and Marlow, continues to grow:
They share the narrator’s cabin and become as one, almost in the way of a doppelgänger, or like dual writers: “the secret sharer of my cabin”, “my intellectual double” “my double down there in the cabin” and “my other self”.
The bond between the sea captain and the escaped mariner is intense and secretive leading to suggestions of something perhaps suspicious occurring between them: “We remained side by side talking in our secret way — but sometimes silent or just exchanging a whispered word or two at intervals”. The sense of a conspiracy being enacted is evident as “At night I would smuggle him into my bed-place, and we would whisper together.” It has resonances of a shared romance, a deep “crush” one for the other, or an unspoken attraction between two individuals cemented by the fact of its guilt, implausible logic and the unspoken desire to maintain the secret and keep it from the rest of the crew. Its homosociality is reflected in the need to conceal the secret that cannot be, and is not named.
The problem with interpreting the story is whether to take it as representing the need to follow the strict letter of the law, or whether as with the captain to allow personal collaborative feelings to intercede, to save another human being, represented by Leggatt. If a reading of the short story might be what Robert Rogers terms a “Rorschach reading”, it may interpret the relationship between Leggatt and the sea captain as characterising what he [Roberts] calls “a cozy but physically enervating homosexual interlude.” There exists here
an exciting homoerotic adventure in which two seamen play out a scene that may well have included physical intimacy, yet is not confirmed overtly by the author.
And so, their friendship is to end in the death or not of the “proud swimmer striking out for a new destiny.” His fate — drowning or survival — is not conveyed directly to the reader. Conrad has the captain sail the boat dangerously close to the shore in the pretence of looking for good breezes and Leggatt slips away. Seeing Leggatt’s hat in the water, the captain is able to judge the direction of the boat’s passage to the leeward. He quickly reverses direction and this reckless act of daring wins him the admiration of the crew. Leggatt is consigned to an oblivion — his fate not communicated to the reader but left to the imagination of the male subscriber to Harpers Magazine, being read in the homosocial environment of professional men’s clubs, officers’ messes and gentlemen’s smoking rooms.
Normally single writers like James, Doyle and Conrad who produced romances where collaboration was an intrinsic theme of the stories were just as much a part of the helpful and co-operative ethos as were authors who sometimes co-produced work. Single writers were different in that they were forced to face the difficulties and hardships of writing alone without help. The essential difference in dual enterprises must lie in the existence of the ‘third force’ that is produced by joint-writing as a result of their dual personalities. Yet single writing turns over and over again to the theme of male bonding and collaboration in stories often dominated by a homosocial element that is veiled and not openly expressed, but is barely contained by the authors.
 Henry James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’ (1898) The Great Short Novels of Henry James (London: Robinson Publishing, 1989).
 Preface to Henry James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, (1898) The Great Short Novels of Henry James (London: Robinson Publishing, 1989) i.
 James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, 647.
 James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, 647.
A theory of tumescence and detumescence was formulated by Havelock Ellis. Tumescence was achieved “through much activity and display on the part of the male and long contemplation and consideration on the part of the female.” Ellis’s theory of tumescence and detumescence identified the process of arousal and release. The difference between the sexes was taken into account in this supposition. These processes were basic and universal, Ellis claimed, for he stated that “tumescence and detumescence are, alike fundamental, primitive and essential.” Havelock Ellis, Psychology of Sex, Studies. Vol. 1. 24.
 Gregory Woods, A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1998).
 James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, 663.
 James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, 662.
 James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, 645.
 See Ellis Hanson, "Screwing with Children" GLQ Magazine. June 2002.
 Francis X. Roellinger,"Psychical Research and ‘The Turn of the Screw’"
 Henry James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’ (1898) The Great Short Novels of Henry James (London: Robinson Publishing, 1989) 623
 Henry James, quoted in
 Henry James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, 628.
 "Proceedings of the General Meeting", Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, VI, 660 (1889-1890).
 See Henry James, “Is there a Life after Death?” in In After Days: Thoughts on the future Life, W. D. Howell et al (London: 1910) 224.
 Elizabeth Wodge has made a connection between James’s interest in the Society for Psychical Research and ‘The Turn of the Screw’. See Elizabeth Wodge, Times Higher Educational Supplement, December, 2001.
 Henry James, ‘Owen Wingrave’ (London: 1893) 155. First published in the Atlantic Monthly, April, 1898.
 James, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, 648
 Henry James, Collier's Weekly, 12 instalments of two chapters each, commencing January,1898. Information about the textual history of ‘The Turn of the Screw’ is from Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, Robert Kimbrough, ed. (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1966)
Stewart, Dear Reader,
 See Marianna Torgovnick, Gone Primitive, 12.
 Mutuality is defined by Erik Erikson as "a relationship in which partners depend on each other for the development of their respective strengths."Quoted in Marianne L. Novy, Love's Argument Gender Relations in Shakespeare (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984).
 In addition to the works mentioned in Chapter Two, recent works on Victorian nocturnal and misogynistic criminal activity suggest that the Ripper case is still interesting as a classic ". See Philip Sugden, The Complete History of Jack the Ripper (London: Robinson: 1994)
 Doyle, A Study in Scarlet
 Doyle, A Study in Scarlet
 Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four. (London: House of Stratus, 2001). Online Literature Library. Online. Available. http://www.literature.org/authors/doyle-arthur-conan/sign-of-four/chapter-01.html Accessed 8. 11 .01.
 Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four, 1.
 Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four, Chapter 1.
 Matthew Sweet, Inventing the Victorians (London: Faber, 2001).
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Three Garridebs’, 131.
 See an interesting possibility for an erotic reading of Pip’s bread and butter in the trousers in “Manual Conduct in Great Expectations” in William A. Cohen, Sex Scandal: The Private Parts of Victorian Fiction (Durham and London: Duke University Press) 1996. 30. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (London: Penguin1965).
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Three Garridebs’, 132.
 Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes,
 Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, quoted in D. M. Dakin, A Sherlock Holmes Commentary (Newton Abbott: David and Charles, 1972).
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Greek Interpreter’, 435.
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Three Gables’ in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (London: Penguin, 1951) 92.
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Three Gables’, 91.
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Three Gables’, 95.
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Lion’s Mane’ 191.
 Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 231.
 G. K. Chesterton, “Larger than Literature: The World’s Most Famous Detective” in Afterword to Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet (London: The Reader’s Digest Association, 1990) 297.
 Conan Doyle ‘The Sign of Four’, 12.
 Wilde, ed Peter Acktoyd, The Picture of Dorian Gray (London: Penguin Classics, 1985).
 Conan Doyle, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, 55.
 Lawrence Frank, “Dreaming the Medusa: Imperialism, Primitivism and Sexuality in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Sign of Four” Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Vol. 22. No 1 (Autumn, 1996) 52-85.
 Conan Doyle, letter to Dr Joseph Bell quoted in T. H. Hall, Sherlock Holmes and his Creator (London: Duckworth, 1978) 55.
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Creeping Man’ in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, 163.
 Conan Doyle, ‘The Naval Treaty’ in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 225.
 Daniel Stashower, Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle (New York: Holt, 1999) 512.
 John Keats, The Complete Works (Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, 1900).
 Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet (London: The Reader’s Digest, 1990).
 Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, 61.
 Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, 64.
 Doyle, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, 195.
 Doyle, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, 206.
 Doyle, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, 231.
 Doyle, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, 228, 291.
 Doyle, The Sign of Four, 5.
 Doyle, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’,
 Charles Darwin, Introduction to The Descent of Man (London: 1871) 1.
 Doyle, ‘The Final Problem’, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
 Conan Doyle, quoted in T. H. Hall, Sherlock Holmes and His Creator (London: Duckworth, 1978) 55.
 This formulation was often used in science fiction magazines to allow for the continuation of the story after the apparent demise of the protagonist. See Brian Aldiss, Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction (London:Victor Gollancz) 228-9.
 Frank, “Dreaming the Medusa:”. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 22. 1. (Autumn, 1996) 65.
 Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (London: Penguin, 1951).
 Joseph Conrad,
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 29.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 70.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 50.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 71.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 70.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 71.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 70.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 61.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 70.
 See F. R. Leavis, epigraph to ‘The Hollow Men’. T. S. Eliot, Collected Poems, 1909-1962. (London: Faber, 1963).
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 68-69.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 69.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 19.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 67.
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 40.
 Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim: a Tale (London: Blackwood, 1900).
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 53.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 171.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 111.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 116.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 125.
 This port is identified as Bombay by several commentators. See Joseph Conrad, Cedric Watts and Robert Hampson eds., Lord Jim (London: Penguin, 1949) 63. fn. 9.
 James L. Roberts, Conrad’s Lord Jim (Lincoln, Nebraska: Cliff Hillegess, 1986).
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 166.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 329.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 137.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 137-8.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 143.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 33.
 See Heliéna M. Krenn, “The “Beautiful” World of Women: Women as Reflections of Colonial Issues in Conrad’s Malay Novels” in Contexts for Conrad Keith Carabine, Owen Knowles, Wiesław Krajka eds. (Boulder: East European Monographs, 1993) 105 - 119.
 Conrad, Lord Jim, 317.
 Conrad Lord Jim, 299.
 Annette Kolodny, Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1975).
 Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 60..
 Nina Pelikan Straus, “The Exclusion of the Intended from Secret Sharing in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”. Novel. (Winter 1987).
 This period of time is given detail in Owen Knowles, A Conrad Chronology (London: Macmillan, 1989) 76.
 Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer: An Episode from the Coast (Glasgow: Grant, 1926) 27.
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 63.
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 58.
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 24.
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 29.
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 49.
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 52.
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 73.
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 63
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 58.
 Robert Rogers, The Double in History (Detroit: Wayne State University, 1970).
 Conrad, The Secret Sharer, 74.