Paradoxes of Empire
Routledge – 2006 – 244 pages
Winner of the 2006 NSW Prize for Literary Scholarship.
The work of Joseph Conrad has been read so disparately that it is tempting to talk of many different Conrads. One lasting impression however, is that his colonial novels, which record encounters between Europe and Europe’s ‘Other’, are highly significant for the field of post-colonial studies.
Drawing on many years of research and a rich body of criticism, Postcolonial Conrad not only presents fresh readings of his novels of imperialism, but also maps and analyzes the interpretative tradition they have generated. Terry Collits first examines the reception of the author’s work in terms of the history of ideas, literary criticism, traditions of ‘Englishness’, Marxism and post-colonialism, before re-reading Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo and Victory in greater depth.
Collits’ incisive and wide-ranging volume provides a much needed reconsideration of more than a century of criticism, discussing the many different perspectives born of constantly shifting contexts. Most importantly though, the book encourages and equips us for twenty-first criticism, where we must ask anew how we might read and understand these crucial and fascinating novels.
Preface Acknowledgements Part 1: Introduction: The Conradian Moment Part 2: Locations 1. Conrad in the History of Ideas 2. Conrad in Literary History 3. Conrad in England 4. Conrad and Marxism 5. Conrad in the Postcolonial World Part 3: The Great Novels of Imperialism 6. Heart of Darkness History, Politics, Myth and Tragedy 7. Lord Jim Popular Culture and the Transmission of the Code 8. Nostromo The Anti-Heroics and Epic Failures of Empire 9. Victory (1) Valedictory to the Old Colonial Order 10. Victory (2) Postcolonial Conrad Epilogue: Conrad and the New World Order Bibliography Index