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Conrad's Secrets
     

Conrad's Secrets

by R. Hampson
 

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Conrad's Secrets explores a range of knowledges which would have been familiar to Conrad and his original readers. Drawing on research into trade, policing, sexual and financial scandals, changing theories of trauma and contemporary war-crimes, the book provides contexts for Conrad's fictions and produces original readings of his work.

Overview

Conrad's Secrets explores a range of knowledges which would have been familiar to Conrad and his original readers. Drawing on research into trade, policing, sexual and financial scandals, changing theories of trauma and contemporary war-crimes, the book provides contexts for Conrad's fictions and produces original readings of his work.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Robert Hampson approaches Conrad's texts with that detailed knowledge of social, political and cultural contexts that the author assumed his readers would have. The result is a book that fills Conrad's novels and shorter fictions with new life even for those present-day readers who are confident that they know them well. Drawing on historical research into such matters as gun-running and slavery, the Belgian exploitation of the Congo, anarchist activity in the later nineteenth century, and the massive frauds and swindles associated with 'criminal capitalism' of the same period, successive chapters uncover worlds of hitherto hidden meaning in Conrad's fiction. Familiar words and phrases to which the reader may previously have assigned a general or metaphorical meaning are now perceived as pointers to specific events, states of affairs, or individuals. At the same time, Hampson's skills as a perceptive close reader of Conrad's fiction are in no way overshadowed by the historicist thrust of this work. This is a book that unites the virtues of skilled close reading and thoroughly researched historical contextualization to produce a study that gives us a Conrad whose fictions are more engaged with contemporary realities than we had ever suspected." Jeremy Hawthorns, Emeritus Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

"Maintaining scrupulous attention to what can be suggested and what can be proved, Hampson is admirably restrained in his biographical readings of the fiction despite the wealth of historical and biographical information that he brings to each chapter. The result is an informative volume that also tantalises the reader with suggestions of further lines of inquiry to be pursued. Conrad's Secrets will be of interest not only to Conrad scholars old and new but also to anyone interested in the relationship between cultural history and turn-of-the-century fiction." Katherine Isobel Baxter, Literature & History

"Arguably the most striking and inventive contribution to Joseph Conrad scholarship in 2012 was Robert Hampson's Conrad's Secrets. Hampson addresses with formidable acuity various encrypted traces relevant to Conrad's narrative undertaking: he argues that Conrad is drawn to tropes of the clandestine, the obscured, and the covert in maritime, medico-legal, civic, and urban annals. Hampson situates outlaw, dispersed, or forgotten textual legacies as a vital interpretative lens through which to gauge Conrad's fictional obsession with dissident human drives, longings, and subterranean impulses. This reviewer admired the historical formalist emphasis which Hampson brings to bear on tangled issues of policing 'boundaries' between the civilized and the aberrant, the decorous and the barbaric, in The Secret Agent (pp. 73 101). Moreover, enthusiasts seeking new insight into Conrad's uneasy role as a 'writer of World War I fiction' (pp. 176 88) will find much to ponder in Hampson's compelling seventh chapter on 'Naval Secrets' (pp. 176 204)." Year's Work in English Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780230507838
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date:
08/13/2012
Edition description:
2012
Pages:
299
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT HAMPSON is professor of Modern Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. He is the author of Joseph Conrad: Betrayal and Identity and Cross-Cultural Encounters in Joseph Conrad's Malay Fiction and co-editor (with Andrew Gibson) of Conrad and Theory. He has edited various works by Conrad, Kipling and Rider Haggard.

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