Joseph Conrad and Popular Culture offers a provocative alternative to the view of Joseph Conrad as far removed from the world of Victorian and Edwardian popular culture. From a prototype video arcade in wartime Vienna to the tourist hordes of Capri to the driving seat of a speeding Cadillac in Kent, it shows how Conrad's exposure to the experiences and artefacts of modern popular culture exercised a formative influence on his fiction. Through detailed readings of The Nigger of the 'Narcissus', Typhoon, The Secret Agent, Lord Jim and Chance, it recovers the full significance of panoramas, moving pictures, magic lantern effects, waxwork tableaux, Thomas Cook's globetrotters, and the new sport of hiking for some of Conrad's best-known works. Drawing on previously unpublished images and archival materials as diverse as Bovril advertisements and spirit photographs, this groundbreaking study reveals popular culture as a key historical context for this major Modernist writer and will be of interest to all students, scholars and enthusiasts of Conrad.
'Donovan is to be praised both for the care and detail of his excavation of popular culture in Conrad's oeuvre and for the lucidity with which he presents his results...Not only does this volume provoke renewed interest in its subject matter, but it also stands as a paradigm in its meticulous research, so that the combination provides that novel and most welcome thing - a riveting new work of Conrad scholarship.' - The Conradian
'What strikes the reader in this volume is Donovan's appreciation of Conrad's life and works, and his ability to bind together Conrad's innumerable subtle reflections on the emerging dominance of popular culture. This work is one of the most readable and informative studies of Conrad to appear in many years, an example of what rigorous scholarship and fine writing can achieve.' - English Literature in Transition
'Donovan's rewarding new study .... successfully demonstrates how thoroughly Conrad's fiction is permeated by the material traces of popular culture. ... Each of its extended readings and biographical anecdotes serves both to consolidate and to invite reconsideration of the new face of Conrad that has emerged in Victorian and modernist studies over the past few decades. The aura of this new face deserves many more such studies.'- Victorian Studies