Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This paper utilizes spatial figurations in "Amy Foster," Heart of Darkness, and Under Western Eyes in bringing Conrad's poetics to bear on the question of modernist borders. The illustration proceeds by tracing thematic and stylistic articulations of a character's situatedness. The first attends to national determinations and spatial figures, the second to diegetic stratification. The purpose of this analysis is to show how all serve as the national, figurative, and narratological limits that facilitate a determination of a character's moral soundness. Two complementary conclusions are offered. First, Conrad's sympathies may be traced by distinguishing between the signposting of national loyalties and their erasure in universal uprootedness. Robert Hampson's distinction between international and transnational activism will be used to show how the difference alerts us to moral considerations in Conrad's poetics. Kurtz, Yanko, and Laspara will serve as test-cases for the analysis, but the distinction will be shown to be no less valuable in its application to a more nuanced reading of Conrad's Jewish characters. Second, the manner in which a character is framed in the fiction, his stylistic situatedness, as it were, serves as a parallel moral gauge. A character's moral worth can be assessed by the manner in which he is circumscribed within the diegesis or outside it, whether his position is fixed or changing.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1935-0252
Print ISSN
0010-6356
Pages
pp. 85-102
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-24
Open Access
No
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