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Title: 'Slaves of the successful century'? : ideas of identity in Joseph Conrad and Alun Lewis
Author: Hendon, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 2019
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is postcolonial in approach, and comparative in method. It examines a number of texts by Joseph Conrad and Alun Lewis, authors who, because of their origins—respectively, Polish and Welsh—were ambivalently associated with the dominant discourse of imperialism. Their occupations—Conrad was a merchant seaman, Lewis an Army officer—implicated them in regimes that regarded them as 'Other'. Their narratives represent insider-outsider positions that are pertinent to the periods of imperial uncertainty in which they were written: in Conrad's case, at the fin-de-siecle, and in Lewis's, in the 1930s and 1940s. The principal stories examined are Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Lewis's 'The Orange Grove', both of which have biographical bases. Following a Review of the Critical Field, Chapter 1, 'Biography and Culture', discusses the displacements of the authors' upbringings and subsequent careers, including Conrad's employment with an imperial trading company in the Congo, and Lewis's position as a soldier in war-time India, showing how this biographical and colonial context informs the authors' works. Chapter 2 begins the comparative analyses, including consideration of texts by other writers. It concerns the potentially 'enslaving' effect of pedagogical discourses of Anglicization. Texts by the Welsh-bom explorer, Henry M. Stanley, and the Jewish-Welsh writer, Lily Tobias are compared to Conrad's novella, The Nigger of the "Narcissus", and two stories by Lewis. Chapters 3 and 4 focus on texts that deconstruct the fixities of imperial and gender identity by means of performative narratives. Through comparisons with stories by Rudyard Kipling, it is demonstrated that Heart of Darkness and Lewis's 'Indian' texts increasingly represent complex 'double narratives' of empire. These chapters address issues of hybridization, irresolvable identity, and migratory 'statelessness', concluding that the writings of Conrad and Lewis illuminate conflictual, modern ideas of identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available