Sexuality and the Erotic in the Fiction of Joseph Conrad
Awarded third place for The Adam Gillon Book Award in Conrad Studies 2009
The book presents a sustained critique of the interlinked (and contradictory) views that the fiction of Joseph Conrad is largely innocent of any interest in or concern with sexuality and the erotic, and that when Conrad does attempt to depict sexual desire or erotic excitement then this results in bad writing. Jeremy Hawthorn argues for a revision of the view that Conrad lacks understanding of and interest in sexuality. He argues that the comprehensiveness of Conrad's vision does not exclude a concern with the sexual and the erotic, and that this concern is not with the sexual and the erotic as separate spheres of human life, but as elements dialectically related to those matters public and political that have always been recognized as central to Conrad's fictional achievement. The book will open Conrad's fiction to readings enriched by the insights of critics and theorists associated with Gender Studies and Post-colonialism.
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Conrad's fiction and the innocent reader: “Il Conde' The critical history of Joseph
Conrad's tale “Il Conde' (1908) can conveniently serve to illuminate a general
tendency among critics of the first three-quarters of the twentieth century to ignore
For Meyer, “Il Conde' is not a tale of a gross and venal older man who causes a
boy's death, but of a vicious, snarling youth whose ruthless action leads to the
ultimate destruction of an elderly gentleman' (196–7). Two years later, in 1969,
The longer and more developed of these two accounts – Douglas A. Hughes's '
Conrad's “Il Conde': “A deucedly queer story” — argues that “[t]o the naive,
credulous narrator and unwary reader, Il Conde represents the epitome of the
In the case of “Il Conde', for example, Conrad's “Author's Note' may invite the
reader to identify the narrator with himself, but Conrad was accompanied by his
wife and family when he met Count Szembek in Capri, while the narrator of the
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2 The exotic and the erotic in An Outcast of the Islands and Heart of Darkness
3 The erotics of cruelty in A Smile of Fortune The Planter of Malata The Secret Agent Victory and Freya of the Seven Isles ...
4 Voyeurism in The ShadowLine and Under Western Eyes