First published in 1983, this book explores a number of avenues of critical thinking about Joseph Conrad, showing him as an author deeply concerned with humankind’s ethical motivation and its relationship with the ideas of evolution current in his day. Allan Hunter establishes Conrad’s detailed knowledge of the leading evolutionary arguments of the period and the main questions posed: were ethics God-given or were morals merely an evolved attribute? His novels are shown as debates with, and extensions of, the theories of Huxley, Darwin, Carlyle, Spencer, Lombroso and others on the nature of humanity and altruism.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. The Mechanism of the Universe 2. The Challenges: Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness 3. Theory and Counter-Theory 4. Nostromo: Heroes and Hobson 5. The Secret Agent: Society’s Web and Lombroso 6. Under Western Eyes: Independence and Collapse; Bibliography; Index