Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

A selective list of online literary criticism for the Polish-born British novelist and story writer Joseph Conrad, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources


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introduction & biography

The Joseph Conrad Society (UK). Web site. Student Resources contains guides to "Heart of Darkness," Lord Jim, The Secret Agent and "The Secret Sharer," including brief summaries of critical responses to the works. Scholarly Resources contains suggestions for valuable bibliographical and historical material available online.

The Center for Conrad Studies Kent State Univ. Contains a timeline for Conrad's life; jpegs of his dustcovers and first editions; portraits of Conrad.

Allingham, Philip V. "Joseph Conrad." A brief biography and introduction. From the Victorian Web, ed. George Landow.

"Joseph Conrad Biography." Yale Modernism Lab, ed. Pericles Lewis.

Childs, Peter. "Joseph Conrad." A substantial introduction to Joseph Conrad from the Literary Encyclopedia. Says Childs, "Conrad is noted for his complex narratives and formal experiments, especially in terms of point of view and temporal shifts. He is also much studied for his depiction of imperialism and colonialism" [subscription service].

Phillips, Caryl; and Chinua Achebe. "Was Joseph Conrad really a racist?" The famous African novelist contends that he was, in this interview. Philosophia Africana March 2007 [removed]. "Out of Africa," article by Caryl Phillips in The Guardian about the interview, 21 Feb. 2003.


literary criticism

Artese, Brian. "Speech Was of No Use": Conrad, a New Journalism, and the Critical Abjection of Testimony." Novel: A Forum on Fiction 36, 2 (2003) [first page only, jstor].

Berry, Robert. "Gothicism in Conrad and Dostoevsky." How Conrad and Dostoevsky combined disparate fictional genres and traditions in their work, particularly the Gothic tradition. "Though the critical establishment has long since labelled both artists as psychological, even political novelists, Conrad and Dostoevsky are also authors of what is usually called 'popular' fiction. Under this broad, notoriously problematic heading, are included such independent genres as 'adventure, thriller and detective writing'; 'romance' literature; and Gothic fiction.' Each of these literary forms, I would argue, can be claimed to exist in Conrad and Dostoevsky's complex fictional worlds." Deep South 1, 2 (May 1995).

Bonney, William. "Contextualizing and comprehending Joseph Conrad's 'The Return.'" Studies in Short Fiction 33, 1 (Winter 1996) [subscription service, questia].

Cole, Sarah. "Dynamite Violence and Literary Culture." Modernism/modernity 16, 2 (April 2009) [extract, muse].

Darvay, Daniel. "The Politics of Gothic in Conrad's Under Western Eyes." MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 55,4 (Winter 2009) [substantial extract, muse].

Elbarbary, Samir. "Heart of Darkness and late-Victorian fascination with the primitive and the double." On the fascination with primordial darkness, like that which Marlow in Heart of Darkness offers his listeners, which was widespread in the late nineteenth century, appearing in many "neo-primitivist" novels and short stories by authors such as Robert Lewis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, H. G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, and Henry James. Twentieth Century Literature 39, 1 (Spring 1993) pp 113-28 [preview, blurred, jstor].

Erdinast-Vulcan, Dahpna. "'Signifying nothing': Conrad's idiots and the anxiety of modernism." On Conrad's 1896 story ""The Idiots." Studies in Short Fiction 33 (Spring 1996) [sub ser, questia].

Freedman, William. "Conrad's 'Woman as Truth' Topos: 'Supposing Truth Is a Woman-What Then?'" Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas 8, 1 (2010) [extract, muse].

Ho, Janice. "The Spatial Imagination and Literary Form of Conrad's Colonial Fictions." Journal of Modern Literature 30, 4 (Summer 2007) [first half only].

Jones, Susan. "Modernism and the marketplace: the case of Conrad's 'Chance.'" College Literature 2007 [first half only].

Kaplan, Carola M. "Colonizers, Cannibals, and the Horror of Good Intentions in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Kaplan contends that throughout Heart of Darkness, Marlow maintains a belief in the binary opposition of such concepts as civilization and savagery, the Self and Other, distinctions that justify colonialism. But all Marlow's binary oppositions fail in the course of his tale. Studies in Short Fiction 34, 3 (Summer 1997) pp 323-33 [sub ser, bookrags].

Krishnan, Sanjay. "Seeing the Animal: Colonial Space and Movement in Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim." Novel: A Forum on Fiction 37, 3 [first page, blurred, jstor].

Lackey, Michael. "Moral Conditions for Genocide in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Lackey argues that, although scholars seem to agree that morality is a legitimate matter of concern in the interpretation of Conrad's novels, he has concluded that "moral interpretation of Conrad's texts is problematic at best and completely misguided at worst." College Literature Winter 2005 [first half only].

McCarthy, Jeffrey Mathes. "'A Choice of Nightmares': The Ecology of Heart of Darkness." MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 55, 3 (Fall 2009) pp 620-48 [substantial extract, muse].

McLeod, Deborah. "Disturbing the Silence: Sound Imagery in Conrad's The Secret Agent." In this novel about secrecy, sound--especially silence--is crucial. Journal of Modern Literature 33, 1 (Fall 2009) [first page only, jstor].

Moore, Gene M. "Slavery and Racism in Joseph Conrad's Eastern World." Journal of Modern Literature 30, 4 (Summer 2007) [first half only].

Moore, Gene M. A review of A Conflict of Values: Alienation and Commitment in the Novels of Joseph Conrad and William Faulkner by Grazyna Branny Mississippi Quarterly [sub ser].

Nüstedt, Holger. "Joseph Conrad's 'The End of the Tether.'" EESE Sept. 1998.

Prescott, Lynda. "Autobiography as Evasion: Joseph Conrad's A Personal Record." Journal of Modern Literature 28, 1 (Fall 2004) [first page only, blurred].

Robinson, Ian. "Conrad's Belief in Victory." Robinson writes that "Conrad's great achievements, which I am going to call "comic," depend on his retaining Christian judgement along with Christian language-and the latter for the sake of the former." New Compass 2 (December 2003). Also Mencher, Barrie. "Christianity and Criticism: A Reply to Ian Robinson on Conrad's Victory." Mencher disputes Robinson's interpretation. New Compass 3 (June 2004).

Scannell, James. "The method is unsound: the aesthetic dissonance of colonial justification in Kipling, Conrad, and Greene." Scannell contends that Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, and Graham Greene, in their three fictions, Kipling's Plain Tales From the Hills, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Greene's The Heart of the Matter, all thought British imperialism was "better" than the imperialism of other countries. Style Fall 1996 [sub ser, questia].

Vargish, Thomas. "Conrad's 'The Secret Sharer': A Private Ethics of Leadership." War, Literature, and the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities 22 (2010).

Wheatley, Alison E. "'A World of Their Own': Subversion of gender expectations in Conrad's plays" [Conrad as a playwright]. Papers on Language and Literature Winter 2001 [first half only].

Wiesenfarth, Joseph. "Ford's Joseph Conrad: A Personal Remembrance as metafiction: Or, how Conrad became an Elizabethan poet" [and Ford Maddox Ford]. Renascence Fall 2000 [subscription service].


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