George Z. Gasyna. Polish, Hybrid, and Otherwise: Exilic Discourse in Joseph Conrad and Witold Gombrowicz. Continuum, 2011.
"Polish, Hybrid, and Otherwise examines the triple compact made by displaced authors with language, their host country, and the homeland left behind. It considers the entwined phenomena of expatriation and homelessness, and the artistic responses to these conditions, including reconstructions of identity and the creation of idealized new homelands. Conrad and Gombrowicz, writers who lived with the condition of exile, were in the vanguard of what today has become a thriving intellectual community of transnationals whose calling card is precisely their hybridity and fluency in multiple cultural traditions. Conrad and Gombrowicz's Polish childhoods emerge as cultural touchstones against which they formulated their writing philosophies. Gasyna claims that in both cases negotiating exile involved processes of working through a traumatic past through the construction of narrative personae that served as strategic doubles. Both authors engaged in extensive manipulation of their public image. Above all, Conrad and Gombrowicz’s narratives are united by a desire for a linguistic refuge, a proposed home-in-language, and a set of techniques deployed in the representation of their predicament as subjects caught in-between."
Christopher GoGwilt. The Passage of Literature: Genealogies of Modernism in Conrad, Rhys, and Pramoedya. Oxford University Press, 2011.
"Joseph Conrad, Jean Rhys, and Pramoedya Ananta Toer are writers renowned for crafting narratives of great technical skill that resonate with potent truths on the colonial condition. Yet given the generational and geographical boundaries that separated them, they are seldom considered in conjunction with one another. The Passage of Literature unites the three in a comparative study that breaks away from traditional conceptions of modernism, going beyond temporal periodization and the entrenched Anglo-American framework that undergirds current scholarship. This study traces a trio of distinct yet interrelated modernist genealogies. English modernism as exemplified by Conrad's Malay trilogy is productively paired with the hallmark work of Indonesian modernism, Pramoedya's Buru quartet. The two novel sequences, penned years apart, narrate overlapping histories of imperialism in the Dutch East Indies, and both make opera central for understanding the cultural dynamic of colonial power. Creole modernism--defined not only by the linguistic diversity of the Caribbean but also by an alternative vision of literary history--provides a transnational context for reading Rhys's Good Morning, Midnightand Wide Sargasso Sea, each novel mapped in relation to the colonial English and postcolonial Indonesian coordinates of Conrad's The Shadow-Line and Pramoedya's This Earth of Mankind. All three modernisms--English, Creole, and Indonesian--converge in a discussion of the Indonesian figure of the nyai, a concubine or house servant, who represents the traumatic core of transnational modernism. Throughout the study, Pramoedya's extraordinary effort to reconstruct the lost record of Indonesia's emergence as a nation provides a model for reading each fragmentary passage of literature as part of an ongoing process of decolonizing tradition."
Tamas Juhasz.Conradian Contracts: Exchange and Identity in the Immigrant Imagination. Lexington Books, 2011.
"This book treats Joseph Conrad's simultaneous interests in exchange, contracts, and the condition of displacement. The central hypothesis is that the novelistâ€’s characters face the option of signing or rejecting what might, with some generalization, be called a social covenant. These individuals conduct a lonely or marginal existence and, to ease their isolation, they would like to (re)enter a community. For this reason, they are ready to contribute to larger collective causes and comply with those restrictions that social life, in its contractual aspect, requires. As Julia Kristeva puts it, 'The foreigner is the one who works,' yet engagement in transactions in order earn a social position is fraught with difficulties. In return for their contribution, these hard-working characters do not always receive the compensation that they had in mind, especially when their definition of companionship violates the boundaries of legality and social propriety. Their private, illicit interests are bound to clash with communal ones, and the ensuing negotiating, readjustment, or compromise-seeking either crush the individual party or result in a redefinition of the notion of contract. This link between exchange and displacement is explored in nine narratives. Just as the concept of exile is used in a broad, often metaphorical sense (ranging from characters who are actual migrants through individuals who occupy a marginal position within their native community to individuals who are caught between conflicting cultural-economic models), the trade or contractual alliance that can create, or at least promise, a sense of communal belonging and personal recognition is also manifold in its definition. Although it always includes, if to varying degrees, the transference of economic goods or entering a specific agreement, exchange is never limited to legal-material procedures. Instead, various emotional investments, sexual transactions, and narcissistic reciprocities supplement the representation of actual commerce, inviting critical ideas from economic anthropology, post-structuralism and Lacanian psychoanalysis."
Robert P. McParland. Bloom's How to Write About Joseph Conrad. Blooms Literary Criticism, 2011.
Leonard Moss. The Craft of Conrad. Lexington Books, 2011.
"Driven by his concern for the tortuous human pursuit of 'ideal values,' Joseph Conrad sometimes tells more than he shows. He indulged his talent for philosophical speculation, and critics usually follow that lead. They fix their attention on broad themes (imperialism, nihilism, etc.), with only passing reference to literary strategies. But fiction is not philosophy. This study, rather than rehash the 'big ideas' that preoccupy most commentators, focuses on technique, Conrad's ingenious variations on a recurring narrative plan animated by images mingling light with darkness and by exhilarating rhetoric. Paradox shapes the narrative plan, the images, and the rhetoric. The story 'design' unfolds a test of manhood with ironic consequences; characters oscillate between impulsive desires and elevated moral convictions, degrading the shadowy standard they desperately try to enact; the rhetoric proposes certainties and yet uncovers negations, vacillations, and contradictions. As one of Shakespeare's characters says, 'I would by contraries execute all things.' Appropriately, Conrad's images bring together, or alternate between, clarity and obscurity. The geographical settings are often exotic, but nature's most 'common everyday' visual facts, light and darkness, become the authorâ€s chief pictorial reference. Conrad exploits the coupling of 'sunshine and shadows' not only as antagonists but also, surprisingly, as paradoxical partners. That coupling may be his most original artistic contribution.
Kenneth B. Newell.Conrad's Destructive Element: The Metaphysical World-View Unifying Lord Jim. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011.
"This book argues for a new interpretation of Joseph Conrad's novel Lord Jim based on readings from not only its published text but also its principal manuscript text. Newell argues that extensive use of the manuscript text has not been a feature of any other work on Lord Jim, and such use helps bring into focus a fixed pattern of meaning and an implicit unity that Conrad said the novel has. This result controverts not only postmodern critics, who say that the novel lacks any fixed pattern of meaning, but almost all critics since its publication, who have said that it lacks unity--specifically, that it separates into two halves, the Patna half and the Patusan half. However, Newell suggests that with the help of the manuscript text, a detailed interpretation extending over the whole of Lord Jim shows it to be a unified whole. As Conrad wrote to his publisher four days after completing the novel, it is 'the development of one situation, on one really from beginning to end.' Most recent Lord Jim criticism discusses the novel from a standpoint critical of the author and in epistemological terms, whereas the present book discusses it from a standpoint sympathetic to the author and in symbolic and metaphysical terms. The metaphysical question that pervades the novel and helps unify it is whether the 'destructive element' that is the 'spirit' of the Universe ahs intention--and, beyond that, malevolent intention--toward any particular individual or is, instead, indiscriminate, impartial, and indifferent. Depending (as a corollary) on the answer to that question is the degree to which the particular individual can be judged responsible for what he or she does or does not do. Newell sees variant responses to the question or its corollary are provided not only by several characters and voices in Lord Jim but also by a letter of Conrad's and by excerpts from works by Arthur Schopenhauer, Thomas Hardy, James Thomson ('B. V.'), and John Stuart Mill."
Mallikarjun Patil. Indian Companion to Joseph Conrad. Authorspress, 2011.
Katarzyna Sokolowska. Conrad and Turgenev:Towards the Real. East European Monographs, 2011.
"Conrad and Turgenev: Towards the Real offers a comparative analysis of Joseph Conrad's and Ivan Turgenev's output and focuses on their outlooks and ideas concerning art, personality, and history. The analysis is based on Conrad's and Turgenev's major novels such as Lord Jim, Nostromo, Almayer's Folly, An Outcast of the Islands, â€˜The Return,â€ Victory, The Secret Agent and Rudin, Home of the Gentry, One the Eve, Fathers and Sons, Smoke, as well as selected novellas, short stories, essays and letters. The affinities and differences between the two writers are discussed within the framework of realism and modernism. Main problems addressed are the relation between reality and representation in the two author's major works; the concept of the self and its duality, and the pessimistic vision of history devoid of purpose. The study is intended to highlight the affinities between Conrad and Turgenev, to acquaint the readers with those aspects of Turgenev's output that form the context for Conrad's oeuvre, to trace the echoes of Turgenev's aesthetics and world view in Conrad's texts and to show how Conrad, a disciple of great realist masters, balanced his new modernist awareness against Turgenev who relies on the framework of realism."
Agata Szczeszak-Brewer. Empire and Pilgrimage in Conrad and Joyce. University Press of Florida, 2011.
"Though they were born a generation apart, Joseph Conrad and James Joyce shared similar life experiences and similar literary preoccupations. Both left their home countries at a relatively young age and remained lifelong expatriates. Empire and Pilgrimage in Conrad and Joyce seeks to offer a fresh look at these two modernist writers, revealing how their rejection of organized religion and the colonial presence in their native countries allowed them to destabilize traditional notions of power, colonialism, and individual freedom in their texts. Throughout, Szczeszak-Brewer attempts to demonstrate the ways in which these authors grapple with the same issues--the grand narrative, paralysis, hegemonic practices, the individual's pilgrimage toward unencumbered self-definition--within the rigid bounds of imperial ideologies and myths. The result is an investigation of the writings of Conrad and Joyce and of the larger literary movement to which they belonged."