Conrad's Secrets explores various secrets relevant to Conrad's fiction -- trade secrets, sexual secrets, urban secrets, medical secrets and naval secrets. It recovers lost or less familiar areas of knowledge as necessary contexts for that fiction -- Malay trade, Victorian anarchism, policing in Victorian London, financial and sexual scandals, for example -- and shows how these form part of the texture of Conrad's work. Conrad's Secrets advocates and enacts an historical formalist approach that, among other things, shows how Conrad's Malay tales are differentiated from adventure romance; that throws a new light on Conrad's use of Marlow as narrator; that provides a thickly contextualised reading of The Secret Agent; and recovers a neglected aspect of Conrad's writing career -- as a writer of World War I fiction.
'Robert Hampson approaches Conrad's texts with that detailed knowledge of social, political and cultural contexts that the author assumed his readers would have. The result is a book that fills Conrad's novels and shorter fictions with new life even for those present-day readers who are confident that they know them well. Drawing on historical research into such matters as gun-running and slavery, the Belgian exploitation of the Congo, anarchist activity in the later nineteenth century, and the massive frauds and swindles associated with 'criminal capitalism' of the same period, successive chapters uncover worlds of hitherto hidden meaning in Conrad's fiction. Familiar words and phrases to which the reader may previously have assigned a general or metaphorical meaning are now perceived as pointers to specific events, states of affairs, or individuals. At the same time, Hampson's skills as a perceptive close reader of Conrad's fiction are in no way overshadowed by the historicist thrust of this work. This is a book that unites the virtues of skilled close reading and thoroughly researched historical contextualization to produce a study that gives us a Conrad whose fictions are more engaged with contemporary realities than we had ever suspected. - Jeremy Hawthorns, Emeritus Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.'
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 18th September 2012
Dimensions (cm): 22.2 x 14.1 x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.5