Loughborough University
Thesis-1983-Law.pdf (8.55 MB)

Politics in Conrad's major fiction

Download (8.55 MB)
posted on 2018-05-14, 08:51 authored by Trevor A. Law
As its title suggests, this thesis is concerned with the role of politics in Joseph Conrad's major fiction. It is not, however, an attempt to use the novels as a guide to Conrad's politics, but rather the reverse. To this end, the thesis is conceived around two principal aims. First, to establish what kinds of political issues Conrad explores in his fiction. Second, to determine, where possible, the ways in which Conrad's political views and predilections affect the quality of the works. The thesis is divided into five major chapters and deals with four of Conrad's works. The first chapter discusses Heart of Darkness and argues that it establishes fundamental principles about the natures of civilisation, man and reality. The following two chapters deal with the novel Nostromo. The first reviews the critical response to the novel. In the second I argue that the novel is not simply about materialism or imperialism, but that it is a work which explores fundamental social and political issues, amongst them the natures of historical development, of institutions, of leadership and of ideologies. The fourth chapter concentrates on The Secret Agent and argues that it is a serious attempt to dramatize particular forms of anarchism in a particular type of human society. Under Western Eyes is the subject of the final chapter which argues that Conrad's attack on Russian mysticism in the last of his great political novels is balanced by his vision of Western failings and limitations.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • English and Drama


© Trevor Anthony Law

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.


  • en

Usage metrics

    English Theses


    Ref. manager