Supported by an enduring critical paradigm, the traditional account of Conrads career privileges his public image as man of the sea, addressing himself to a male audience and male concerns. This book challenges received assumptions by recovering Conrad's relationship to women not only in his life but in his fiction and among his readers. The existing interplay of criticism, biography, and marketing has contributed to a masculinist image associated with a narrow body
of modernist texts. Instead, Susan Jones reinstates the female influences arising from his early Polish life and culture; his friendship with the French writer Marguerite Poradowska; his engagement with popular women's writing; and his experimentation with visuality as his later works appear in the
visual contexts of womens pages of popular journals. By foregrounding less familiar novels such as Chance (1913) and the neglected Suspense (unfinished and published posthumously, 1925), she emphasises the range and continuity of Conrad's concerns, showing that his later discussions of gender and genre often originate in the period of the great sea tales. Conrad also emerges as an acute reader and critic of popular forms, while his unexpected entry into important contemporary
debates about female identity invites us to rethink the nature of his contribution to modernism.
`Jones's tracing of the textual history of Chance ... makes telling reading.'
Elizabeth Lowry, TLS
`Jones's is the most convincing attempt at redemption of Conrad's final phase in recent Conradian criticism. Chapter 5 appears to me to be a very useful contribution to Conrad scholarship, as it considers the text of Chance form manuscript, to serial, to volume.'
Marialuisa Bignami, MLR, 96.I, 2001
1: Conrad, Women, and the Critics
2: Woman as Hero: Conrad and the Polish Romantic Tradition
3: Conrad and Marguerite Poradowska
4: Chance: 'a fine adventure'
5: The Three Texts of Chance
6: Marketing for Women Readers
7: Visuality and Gender in Late Conrad
8: Suspense and the Novel of Sensation