In Corpus, Jean-Luc Nancy suggests a unique way of thinking about the body. He asks if it is possible to think about the body as being brought about by the body itself not from the body of the convention of the body-soul or mind-body dichotomy. Nancy explains the body as the other and says its openness. When he says the body as being open, the body is turned toward the outside and toward the 'touch' with the other. His discussion of the body can shed new light on the interpretation of Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness.
Bodies of various people in this novella illustrate Nancy’s concept that the body is incessantly sent out to the other, and open to the other. So the body becomes related with the other that we are never able to know, thereby being represented as the other. This thesis focuses on the body and its possibility of being open to the other through Marlow’s process of recognizing such nature of the body. On his voyage along the Congo, Marlow becomes aware of the outside that presents itself as the other, and experiences his body as something alien. He also recognizes his body is connected with the other through the voice. So I demonstrate how Marlow's recognition can deepen Nancy's idea of the body as the other.
Chapter 2 investigates the meaning of the steamboat on which Marlow is going up the river. In the novella, the steamboat is an extension of Marlow’s body. Just as Marlow is often on the verge of catching a fever, the steamboat keeps on breaking down and running again, symbolizing the state of being in between the closed body and the open body, or death and life. Both pilgrims and cannibals on the steamboat recognize that their bodies are related with the others’. As the place where they coexist with and touch others, the steamboat can be explained as a metaphor for the body and the body-place as well.
Chapter 3 deals with the disease which reveals the body’s interaction with the outside. Most of the Europeans, who came to Congo to make money by collecting ivory, die of disease there. Their body can be defined as a mass according to Nancy. When they lose the ability to open themselves to the outside, their body becomes 'impenetrable,' which leads them to become inevitably vulnerable to the attack from the outside, that is, disease. Nancy contrasts the 'impenetrable' mass with the body that has the possibility of being open to the outside. Even though disease is revealed on the body, it is derived from the outside, and it evokes the strangeness of the body. Through this experience, Europeans can feel the body as the other. Kurtz, obsessed with ivory, gets ill and recognizes the strangeness of his body open to the outside before he dies.
Chapter 4 connects the voice, a part of the body, to the narrative of the novella. Voice is the medium through which Marlow the narrator tells his experience. He does not write from the mind, but gives voice coming out of the body to his story. Marlow’s journey also represents others revealing themselves as the voice. Nancy says voice can be shared and resonated with others. In this novella, Marlow understands both the native people and Kurtz through their voice, and realizes that the body is involved in the otherness. Just as the body touches the other, so does the voice through the tympanum. Marlow’s voice containing the narrative continues to be transmitted, but incessantly becomes cracked and fragmented, making us realize the fundamental openness of our body toward the outside.
Key words: Jean-Luc Nancy 장-뤽 낭시 the other 타자 the body 몸 Heart of Darkness 『암흑의 핵심』 Joseph Conrad 조셉 콘라드