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Conrad's Shadow: Catastrophe, Mimesis, Theory
by Nidesh Lawtoo
Michigan State University Press, 2016
Paper: 978-1-61186-218-8 | eISBN: 978-1-62895-276-6
Library of Congress Classification PR6005.O4Z76465 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 823.912

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
Western thought has often dismissed shadows as fictional, but what if fictions reveal original truths? Drawing on an anti-Platonic tradition in critical theory, Lawtoo adopts ethical, anthropological, and philosophical lenses to offer new readings of Joseph Conrad’s novels and the postcolonial and cinematic works that respond to his oeuvre. He argues that Conrad’s fascination with doubles urges readers to reflect on the two sides of mimesis: one side is dark and pathological, and involves the escalation of violence, contagious epidemics, and catastrophic storms; the other side is luminous and therapeutic, and promotes communal survival, postcolonial reconciliation, and plastic adaptations to changing environments. Once joined, the two sides reveal Conrad as an author whose Janus-faced fictions are powerfully relevant to our contemporary world of global violence and environmental crisis.

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