Abstract

ABSTRACT:

The influence of the sinking of the ship the Lusitania in the short fiction of World War I cannot be overstated; in many ways, it serves as a historical "before and after" that heralded not only a new kind of warfare but also a new kind of fear. This paper argues that the Lusitania is both a point of convergence and a point of divergence for Arthur Conan Doyle and Joseph Conrad, each of whom writes his own submarine story on either side of the Lusitania's sinking. Conan Doyle's "Danger!" sees England's decline in the threat of submarine warfare and offers as a response a classic epideictic rhetorical situation that is at once jarring and contentious. Conrad, whose "The Tale" serves as a critical and crucial bookend to Conan Doyle's story, interrogates two distinct aspects of the fear experience: (1) the ways in which the form of fear evolves with the progression of the Great War from an antiquated concern over the decline of influence to a looming, ever-present out there, indecipherable and undeterminable yet no less potent in its manifestation; and (2) the complicated relationship between literature and the proliferation of propagandafueled texts like Conan Doyle's that have the effect of turning fear into a political emotion.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1935-0252
Print ISSN
0010-6356
Pages
pp. 17-41
Launched on MUSE
2020-08-25
Open Access
No
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