Rereading Conrad
by Daniel R. Schwarz
University of Missouri Press, 2001
Cloth: 978-0-8262-1326-6 | Paper: 978-0-8262-1327-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8262-6293-6
Library of Congress Classification PR6005.O4Z79273 2001
Dewey Decimal Classification 823.912


Leading Conradian scholar Daniel R. Schwarz assembles his work from over the past two decades into one crucial volume, providing a significant reexamination of a seminal figure who continues to be a major focus in the twenty-first century. Schwarz touches on virtually all of Joseph Conrad's work including his masterworks and the later, relatively neglected fiction.

In his introduction and in the persuasive and insightful essays that follow, Schwarz explores how the study of Conrad has changed and why Conrad is such a focus of interest in terms of gender, postcolonial, and cultural studies. He also demonstrates how Conrad helps define the modernist cultural tradition.

Exploring such essential works as Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, and "The Secret Sharer," Schwarz addresses issues raised by recent theory, discussing the ways in which contemporary readers, including, of course, himself, have come to read Conrad differently. He does so without abandoning crucial Conradian themes such as the disjunction between interior and articulated motives and the discrepancies between dimly acknowledged needs, obsessions, and compulsions and actual behavior.

Schwarz also touches on the extent to which Conrad's conservative desires for a few simple moral and political ideas were often at odds with his profound skepticism. A powerful close reader of Conrad's complex texts, Schwarz stresses how from their opening paragraphs Conrad's works establish a grammar of psychological, political, and moral cause and effect.

Rereading Conrad sheds new light on an author who has spoken to readers for over a century. Schwarz's essays take account of recent developments in theory and cultural studies, including postcolonial, feminist, gay, and ecological perspectives, and show how reading Conrad has changed in the face of the theoretical explosion that has occurred over the past two decades. Because for over three decades Schwarz has been an important figure in defining how we read Conrad and in studying modernism, including how we respond to the relationship between modern literature and modern art, scholars, teachers, and students will take great pleasure in this new collection of his work.

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