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Romance and anti-romance in Conrad's Malay fiction: Almayer's Folly, An Outcast of the Islands, Karain and Lord Jim

posted on 2010-11-18, 14:16 authored by Linda Dryden
This thesis analyses the use which Joseph Conrad made of the romance and adventure tradition in literature through an examination of his first three novels, Almayer's Folly, An Outcast of the Islands, Lord ffin and an early short story, 'Karain'. The focal argument is that Conrad deliberately uses the romance in order to generate an audience whilst, at the same time, subverting the values which the romance celebrates. Whilst he challenges notions of consummate heroism and confident Empire as expressed in the works of such writers as Haggard and Henty, Conrad clearly endorses some of the more conservative attitudes of such fiction, in particular, attitudes towards women. Conrad's early work displays an awareness of the Empire's glorious past, but shows its late-nineteenth century present to be fraught with unease and doubt about the existence of absolute truths. This thesis argues that the optimism of the imperial romance, its supreme confidence in English superiority, is met and challenged by Conrad's dissenting voice. The three initial chapters attempt to outline some of the major cultural, social and literary concerns of the late-ninettenth century. This provides the context for my study of Conrad's early Malay novels and tales in which I argue that the deliberate subversion of the simple values and assumptions of the nineteenth century romance in his early work makes a significant contribution to Conrad's modernist vision.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • English and Drama


© Linda Dryden

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University. If you are the author of this thesis and would like to make it openly available in the Institutional Repository please contact: repository@lboro.ac.uk

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  • en

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