Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This article seeks to explain the prevalence and significance of tropical forest settings and symbolism in the fiction of Joseph Conrad and other authors. It follows up the argument made by Corinne J. Saunders in The Forest of Medieval Romance (1993) that literary forests were once used to explore the concept of unordered matter and to integrate it into the Christian worldview. The contention of this article is that Darwinian ideas and waning religious belief in late-nineteenth-century Britain prompted renewed anxieties about chaotic nature, and thus a revival of the convention of the tangled wilderness. While many Victorian-Edwardian authors conjure fallen but redeemable jungles as a way of staving off the materialism of natural selection and justifying the purposive alternative of Lamarckian evolutionary theory, Conrad's forest is more unorthodox, ambiguous, and far less encouraging.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1935-0252
Print ISSN
0010-6356
Pages
pp. 27-46
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-24
Open Access
No
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