Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Ambiguity as meaning : an application of post-structural critical techniques to selected novels by Joseph Conrad
Author: Simmons, Allan Howard
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 1990
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
In my thesis, I use contemporary critical techniques to demonstrate the intimate relationship between ambiguity and meaning in the novels of Joseph Conrad. In my INTRODUCTION, I identify the post-structural nature of my approach and define the terms employed. Each of the following chapters analyses a single novel by establishing the dominant strategies whereby the flow of information is regulated, then demonstrating how these strategies render ambiguous the information imparted. The novels selected reflect the successive stages of Conrad's writing life. In CHAPTER I, I analyse passages from Almayer's Folly, particularly its opening pages, to show how from the outset of his writing life Conrad subverts such reader expectations and traditional 'plot pleasures' as suspense, and instead inscribes tension in the play of ambiguity in narrative strategies ranging from shared perspective narration to simple description. CHAPTER11 considers Lord Jim, showing how the novel's equivocal ending reflects the ambiguously proleptic tendency of the narrative, which offers various chains of inference to the reader that, when pursued, are shown to contradict their own ,logic. CHAPTERIII analyses Under Western Eyes with particular reference to the incongruously playful tone of the Western narrator. It explores how such ludic features, although designed to convey the foreignness of the Russian subject, reveal a narrating voice profoundly at odds with the personal tragedy being recounted. CHAPTER IV discusses the nature of focalisation in Victory. By identifying the multiple perspectives that compose the narrative, and the interplay between them, the discussion shows that these provide range of often contradictory readings of Lena's 'victory'. CHAPTER V considers The Rover. Noticing how Conrad's last completed novel presents a curiously 'un-Conradian' hero, my analysis demonstrates how this entails a shift in the focus of ambiguity from that identified in the preceding chapters, from ambiguity of character to ambiguity of motive for action - indicating Conrad's enduring fascination with the relationship between ambiguity and meaning. In a brief CONCLUSION, I consider the development of ambiguity represented by the novels selected
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available