Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography

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Columbia University Press, Jun 19, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 248 pages
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Edward W. Said locates Joseph Conrad's fear of personal disintegration in his constant re-narration of the past. Using the author's personal letters as a guide to understanding his fiction, Said draws an important parallel between Conrad's view of his own life and the manner and form of his stories. The critic also argues that the author, who set his fiction in exotic locations like East Asia and Africa, projects political dimensions in his work that mirror a colonialist preoccupation with "civilizing" native peoples. Said then suggests that this dimension should be considered when reading all of Western literature. First published in 1966, Said's critique of the Western self's struggle with modernity signaled the beginnings of his groundbreaking work, Orientalism, and remains a cornerstone of postcolonial studies today.
 

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Contents

I The Claims of Individuality
3
II Character and the Knitting Machine 18961912
29
III The Claims of Fiction 18961912
42
IV Worlds at War 19121918
64
V The New Order 19181924
77
PART TWO Conrads Shorter Fiction
85
VI The Past and the Present
87
VII The Craft of the Present
120
VIII Truth Idea and Image
137
IX The Shadow Line
165
Chronology 18891924
199
Letter to RB Cunninhame Graham
201
Selected Bibliography
205
Notes
209
Index
215
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About the author (2012)

Edward W. Said (1935-2003) was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He was the music critic for the Nation and is the author of numerous books, including Music at the Limits, Musical Elaborations, Beginnings: Intention and Method, and Humanism and Democratic Criticism.

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