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postgraduate thesis: "Opaque rings of earth": landscape description in Conrad's Africa and Asia

Title"Opaque rings of earth": landscape description in Conrad's Africa and Asia
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Kerr, DWF
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
AbstractThis thesis documents research undertaken regarding the intentions and effects of the landscape description in four of Joseph Conrad’s short stories and novels. The research was concerned with “Heart of Darkness” and “An Outpost of Progress” and how these two texts depicted Africa, and Lord Jim and “Karain: A Memory” for a description of Asia, although Conrad’s wider oeuvre was consulted where it had bearing on the research. The research was concerned with how Conrad used generic elements of the adventure stories of empire, and whether his stories could be said to support or undermine any prevailing notions of race, racial difference and racial and cultural superiority which were prevalent at the time that Conrad was writing. To this end, key examples of the imperial romance genre were analysed, and their philosophical and cultural framework was analysed. Conrad’s works were then situated against these concepts and texts, starting with Africa, and then moving on to Asia. This thesis argues that in Africa, Conrad uses landscape description and the relationship between his protagonists and the landscapes that they find themselves in to subvert notions of superiority, specifically attacking European technology, the image of the torch of progress, and the religious rationale for empire building. For Asia, this thesis argues that in the story of Lord Jim Conrad uses Orientalised images of the Asian female as they were situated in and connected to the landscapes and forests of Asia to suggest a threat to the conception of the masculine hero of imperial adventure fiction, and simultaneously show that the modes of engaging with this threat in the traditional adventure romance story were inadequate when faced with the reality of life in these spaces. Finally, the story of “Karain: A Memory” is examined from the perspectives of history and of the notion of the exotic. It is argued that in this story, Conrad is critiquing the concepts of modernization and of standard European tales of exoticism and adventure.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectLandscapes in literature.
Dept/ProgramEnglish

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorKerr, DWF-
dc.contributor.authorBrown, David Bruce Windsor.-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis documents research undertaken regarding the intentions and effects of the landscape description in four of Joseph Conrad’s short stories and novels. The research was concerned with “Heart of Darkness” and “An Outpost of Progress” and how these two texts depicted Africa, and Lord Jim and “Karain: A Memory” for a description of Asia, although Conrad’s wider oeuvre was consulted where it had bearing on the research. The research was concerned with how Conrad used generic elements of the adventure stories of empire, and whether his stories could be said to support or undermine any prevailing notions of race, racial difference and racial and cultural superiority which were prevalent at the time that Conrad was writing. To this end, key examples of the imperial romance genre were analysed, and their philosophical and cultural framework was analysed. Conrad’s works were then situated against these concepts and texts, starting with Africa, and then moving on to Asia. This thesis argues that in Africa, Conrad uses landscape description and the relationship between his protagonists and the landscapes that they find themselves in to subvert notions of superiority, specifically attacking European technology, the image of the torch of progress, and the religious rationale for empire building. For Asia, this thesis argues that in the story of Lord Jim Conrad uses Orientalised images of the Asian female as they were situated in and connected to the landscapes and forests of Asia to suggest a threat to the conception of the masculine hero of imperial adventure fiction, and simultaneously show that the modes of engaging with this threat in the traditional adventure romance story were inadequate when faced with the reality of life in these spaces. Finally, the story of “Karain: A Memory” is examined from the perspectives of history and of the notion of the exotic. It is argued that in this story, Conrad is critiquing the concepts of modernization and of standard European tales of exoticism and adventure.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B47869744-
dc.subject.lcshLandscapes in literature.-
dc.title"Opaque rings of earth": landscape description in Conrad's Africa and Asia-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4786974-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEnglish-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4786974-
dc.date.hkucongregation2012-

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