Joseph Conrad and the Performing Arts: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Joseph Conrad and the Performing Arts

1st Edition

By Katherine Isobel Baxter

Edited by Richard J. Hand


174 pages

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Conrad's fiction is characterized by an enduring recourse to the performing arts for metaphor, allegory, symbol, and subject matter; however, this aspect of Conrad's non-dramatic works has only recently begun to come into its own among literary critics. In response to this seminal moment, Joseph Conrad and the Performing Arts offers an exciting, interdisciplinary forum for one of the most interesting and nascent areas of Conrad studies. Adopting a variety of theoretical approaches, the contributors examine major and neglected works within the context of the performing arts: cultural performance in Conrad's Malay fiction; Conrad's use and parody of popular traditions such as melodrama, Grand-Guignol, and commedia dell'arte; Conrad's engagement with the visual culture of early cinema; Conrad's interest in the motifs of shadowgraphy (shadow plays); Conrad's relationship to Shakespeare; and the enduring influence of opera on his work. Taken together, the essays provide, through solid scholarship and richly provocative speculation, new insight into Conrad's oeuvre, and invite future dialogue in the burgeoning field of Conrad and the performing arts.


'Ranging widely over Conrad’s canon and generously interpreting "performance" to include displays of political power, this provocative collection of essays stylishly opens swathes of new territory in the field of Conrad studies. Alert to how popular culture enriches high art, this well-edited collection is required reading for anyone with an interest not only in Conrad but also in the literary achievements and trends of the late-Victorian and Modernist periods'. J. H. Stape, St Mary’s University College, London, and author of The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad ’…an excellent collection: eight original and thought-provoking articles remind the reader how much Conrad absorbed from the performing arts of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Opera, theatre, cinema, shadowgraphy - the collaborative or competing influence of all of these very different branches of the performing arts can be traced in Conrad's fiction.’ New Books on Literature 'Joseph Conrad and the Performing Arts opens up a great deal of new ground for Conradians as well as Victorian and modernist scholars more generally. And should it come their way, the volume will also prove intriguing to media studies scholars who may be surprised to learn that such a canonical literary figure as Conrad engaged so actively with the popular media of his day.' English Literature in Transition

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Joseph Conrad and the performing arts: an introduction, Katherine Isobel Baxter and Richard J. Hand; Performing Malaya, Linda Dryden; 'Sly civility?': Mrs Almayer's and Mrs Willems's performances of colonial resistance in Outcast of the Islands and Almayer's Folly, Susan Barras; Mixing the masks of comedy and tragedy: the popular theatres of Joseph Conrad's fiction, Richard J. Hand; From stage to screen: 'The Return', Victory, The Secret Agent and Chance, Robert Hampson; 'Post-impressionism' and the cinema: how we are 'made to see' in Conrad's Victory, Suzanne Speidel; Gorgeous eloquence: Conrad and shadowgraphy, Stephen Donovan; Comedy and romance: a new look at Shakespeare and Conrad, Katherine Isobel Baxter; Conrad in the operatic mode, Laurence Davies; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author/Editor

Katherine Isobel Baxter is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Northumbria University, UK, and Richard J. Hand is Professor of Theatre and Media Drama at the University of Glamorgan, Wales.

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