Joseph Conrad and the Modern Temper (Oxford English Monographs Series)

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This study relates Conrad's work to the cultural crisis of the late nineteenth century, the post-Nietzschean phase of modernity. It discusses "faultlines"-- ambiguities and apparent aesthetic ruptures-- in nine of the major novels and novellas. These faultlines are diagnosed as the symptoms of an unresolved tension between Conrad's temperamental affinity with the Nietzschean outlook and his fierce ideological rejection of its ultimate implications. Presenting Conrad as a modernist at war with modernity, the author studies the perpetual tug-of-war between the artistic will to meaning and the writer's susceptibility to the modern temper, both as a theme and as a structuring principle in his work. The modes of this struggle are defined as the failure of myth, the failure of metaphysics, and the failure of textuality. This forceful and original book draws on the work of Nietzsche, Valhinger, Bakhtin, Heller, MacIntyre, and other philosophers and cultural historians to present the ethical and epistemological issues which are interwoven with Conrad's aesthetics.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This treatment of Conrad's ethics in the light of philosophical problems of modernism is a powerful, intelligent book."--English Literature in Transition

"Lucid and engaging....Joseph Conrad and the Modern Temper is a genuine event in Conrad scholarship, an erudite and insightful foray into Conrad's complex relationship with modernity."--Modern Fiction Studies

"This study will be particularly useful to teachers of Conrad who want to use contemporary critical theory to update the way in which they present his novels."--Nineteenth-Century Literature

Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan's study of Conrad shows a deep understanding of Conrad's fiction and comes to terms with some important thematic issues in his work. She understands that literary works are by humans, about humans, and for humans; and she writes lucidly and sensibly....Erdinast-Vulcan has written a solid, thoughtful, and commendably readable book."--Studies in the Novel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198117858
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/1994
  • Series: Oxford English Monographs Series
  • Edition description: Reprinted
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.81 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Modern Temper 9
2 The Failure of Myth 22
A. Lord Jim 34
B. The Rescue 47
C. Nostromo 67
3 The Failure of Metaphysics 86
A. Heart of Darkness 91
B. Under Western Eyes 108
C. The Shadow-Line 127
4 The Failure of Textuality 139
A. Chance 156
B. Victory 172
C. The Arrow of Gold 186
Bibliography 201
Index 215
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