The essays adopt a variety of critical and methodological perspectives – socio-political, anthropological, philosophical, postcolonial, poststructuralist, historical, and linguistic – in order to illuminate the richness, complexity and multi-dimensional character of Conrad’s work.Overall, these compelling approaches enlighten Conrad’s deep engagement with the East, not only as a crucial source of fictional material, but also as a polyphonic discursive space, a cultural and racial Other, an ideological construct, and a site of Western struggle for global commercial hegemony and native anti-colonial resistance.While it entertains a sustained dialogue with past and recent studies of Conrad’s handling of colonial cross-cultural encounters, imperial ideology and race politics, this collection of original essays extends the debates on these key issues.
The essays adopt a variety of critical and methodological perspectives – socio-political, anthropological, philosophical, postcolonial, poststructuralist, historical, and linguistic – in order to illuminate the richness, complexity and multi-dimensional character of Conrad’s work.
Taken collectively, these engaging essays maintain a constant dialogue with each other and synergistically contribute to illuminating Conrad’s perception of the East and things Oriental.
Individually, each article is focused on understudied or overlooked concerns which it sharply brings into relief and interprets in the light of Conrad’s complex aesthetic, ideological and geopolitical perception of the East.
Who are you now, —we cried to her— Spirit so strange, so sinister?
We felt dead winds above us stir; And in the darkness heard A voice fall, singing, cloying sweet, Heavily dropping, though that heat, Heavy as honeyed pulses beat, Slow word by anguished word.
What both Conrad and Jung are hinting at is that the cultural constructs carried by Europeans are fragile indeed, easily shaken by the powerful forces lying within the Dark Continent.
East European Monographs – Columbia University Press, 2012) is the first major study that deeply explores Conrad’s perception and construction of the Orient in Conrad’s Malay fiction.What shape was this who came to us, With basilisk eyes so ominous, With mouth so sweet, so poisonous, And tortured hands so pale?We saw her wavering to and fro, Through dark and wind we saw her go; Yet what her name was did not know; And felt our spirits fail.And through the night strange music went With voice and cry so darkly blent We could not fathom what they meant; Save only that they seemed To thin the blood along our veins, Foretelling vile, delirious pains, And clouds divulging blood-red rains Upon a hill undreamed.And this we heard: "Who dies for me, He shall possess me secretly, My terrible beauty he shall see, And slake my body's flame.We tried to turn away; but still Above we heard her sorrow thrill; And those that slept, they dreamed of ill And dreadful things: Of skies grown red with rending flames And shuddering hills that cracked their frames; Of twilights foul with wings; And skeletons dancing to a tune; And cries of children stifled soon; And over all a blood-red moon A dull and nightmare size.They woke, and sought to go their ways, Yet everywhere they met her gaze, Her fixed and burning eyes.Hence, it is evident that both Conrad and Jung held analogous views on the interconnectedness of the rich African geo-physical tapestry and the inner-depths of individual sub-consciousness.Moreover, the timeless, ethereal and primordial feel of the African cultural experience is a metaphor for the alienation of the subconscious self from outward manifestation of personality.All the chapters combine close textual readings with elaborate theoretical approaches drawing on Mikhail Bakthin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Georges Bataille and Emmanuel Levinas among others.Their overall aim is to highlight the extent to which Conrad’s aesthetic and ideological relation to the East is enmeshed in British imperial politics and commercial interests in Southeast Asia.