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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Retinger, who knew quite a lot about the whole affair, denied that there was a
romance between Conrad and Jane. But he denied it in a way that prompts us to
ask what Conrad's sex life was like. Retinger said that Conrad had not previously
In spite of the reaction of Borys (Conrad's older son), Najder pursues the
suspicion provoked by Retinger's denial. Perhaps Conrad was simply and
consistently a faithful husband, which in view of Jessie's health would have
condemned him to ...
Jösef Retinger, in his 1941 memoir Conrad and his Contemporaries, reports that
“Once I questioned him about the love affairs of his youth, which he must have
had, and pointed out that in his writings the love motif played no fundamental part
Retinger adds that Conrad “disliked consequently the works of Oscar Wilde,
because he had a profound contempt for his way of living' (1941, 103). According
to Richard J. Ruppel, the “Cleveland Street Affair' (1889–90) and especially 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