This book analyzes the representations of homosexuality in Conrad’s fiction, beginning with Conrad’s life and letters to show that Conrad himself was, at least imaginatively, bisexual. Conrad’s recurrent bouts of neurasthenia, his difficult courtships, late marriage, and frequent expressions of misogyny can all be attributed to the fact that Conrad was emotionally, temperamentally, and, perhaps, even erotically more comfortable with men than women.
Subsequent chapters trace Conrad’s fictional representations of homosexuality. Through his analysis, Ruppel reveals that homoeroticism is endemic to the adventure genre and how Conrad’s bachelor-narrators interest in younger men is homoerotic. Conrad scholars and those interested in homosexuality and constructions of masculinity should all be interested in this work.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Playing Tricks on the Dead: Outing Joseph Conrad and the Ethics of Literary Criticism
Chapter Two: Life, Letters, and Neurasthenia
Chapter Three: Male Intimacy in Conrad’s Tales of Adventure — The Nigger of the Narcissus and Heart of Darkness
Chapter Four: Male Intimacy in Conrad’s Tales of Adventure — Romance and Victory
Chapter Five: Conrad’s Bachelor Narrators: Lord Jim, "Il Conde," and Under Western Eyes
Chapter Six: Conrad’s Bachelor Narrators: "The Secret Sharer," Chance, and The Shadow Line
Chapter Seven: Conclusion: "Amy Foster" and Imaginative Bisexuality
Richard J. Ruppel, chair of the English department at Chapman University, earned BA, Masters, and PhD degrees at Michigan, Duke, and UNC Chapel Hill. He has published essays and given a number of papers on Joseph Conrad, focusing primarily on colonialism and representations of male intimacy. He co-edited Imperial Desire: Dissident Sexualities and Colonial Literature (Minnesota Press, 2003).
Ruppel has produced some thought-provoking assertions concerning homosexuality in Conrad's works. -- Linda Dryden, English Literature in Transition