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Title: Joseph Conrad and aspects of scientific thought, 1897-1911
Author: Hunter, Allan G.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3584 6266
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1981
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This thesis is divided into six chapters with a synopsis, an introduction and a conclusion. It deals with Conrad's reaction during 1897-1911 to theories of evolution and what they suggested about the nature of human ethics. This approach provides new and revealing readings of Conrad. The Introduction defines the term 'scientific' in relation to the extremely varied material Conrad is utilizing. Chapter One this takes Conrad's familiarity with the work of A.R. Wallace and his conception of a mechanistic universe and suggests how this gave an evolutionist's bias to his exploration of the wellsprings of conduct. Chapter Two deals, first, with echoes found in Heart of Darkness of T.H. Huxley and Rider Haggard, and what Conrad adds to these authors. The second section pursues this argument with Lord Jim and its references to Darwin, and examines the key concept of altruistic 'sympathy'. Section three deals with the topic of inheritance. The novel of inheritance had been seriously altered after Darwin. I place Conrad in this tradition. This leads to a discussion of the nature of heroism. Chapter Three in five sections, puts Conrad's views in the context of three major arguments on altruism and heroism current at this time. T.H. Huxley and H. Drummond, Carlyle and Spencer, Wallace and Darwin all appear to have been read in some detail by Conrad. Chapter Four traces Conrad's discussion of heroism in Nostromo, and J.A. Hobson is examined as a source. Chapter Five The Secret Agent is analysed and reasons put forward for the use of the ironic narrator and high incidence of verbal cross references. Lombroso is examined as a source, and I contend that Conrad had by now achieved his own comprehensive analytic view of the nature of man. Chapter Six takes Under Western Eyes as Conrad's exploration of ethics in substantially his own terms. Conclusion in this brief section I state that Conrad seems to be well acquainted with most of the major contemporary speculations on the topic of ethics, and that during this period 1899-1911 his writing explored these arguments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy