This study draws thematic and narratological parallels between Lord Jim and The Lifted Veil, suggesting that Joseph Conrad's and George Eliot's philosophies and views on art were much closer than has hitherto been thought. In her uncharacteristic foray into gothic fiction, Eliot seems to have anticipated many of the modernist techniques usually associated with Conrad, such as the loss of narrative authority and spatiotemporal coherence on which realist conventions were based. This essay also analyzes Conrad's and Eliot's use of the veil motif to address ontological and epistemological problems raised by idealist philosophy such as the interdependence of object and subject and the impossibility of directly apprehending the world. The anticipated epiphanies resulting from lifting the veil in Lord Jim and The Lifted Veil are finally indistinguishable from psychological projection since they give access to merely another level of illusion rather than to any underlying truth.


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pp. 121-136
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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