Joseph Conrad and the Modern Temper

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


A study which relates Conrad's work to the crisis of modernity in the late 19th century, this book discusses 'faultlines' - ambiguities and apparent aesthetic ruptures - in nine of the major novels and novellas. These faultlines are diagnosed as the symptoms of an unresolved tension between Conrad's temperamental affinity with the Nietzschean outlook and his fierce ideological rejection of its ultimate implications. Presenting Conrad as 'a modernist at war with modernity', the book studies the perpetual tug-of-war between the artistic will to meaning and the writer's susceptibility to the modern temper, both as a theme and as a structuring principle in his work. The modes of this struggle are defined as the 'failure of myth', the 'failure of metaphysics', and the 'failure of textuality'. The inquiry draws on the work of Nietzsche, Vaihinger, Bakhtin, Heller, and MacIntyre, amongst others, to present the ethical and epistemological issues which are interwoven with Conrad's aesthetics.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages228
ISBN (Electronic)9780191671081
ISBN (Print)019811785X, 9780198117858
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Daphne Erdinast-Vulcan 1991. All rights reserved.


  • Aesthetic ruptures
  • Ambiguities
  • Conrad
  • Crisis of modernity
  • Faultlines
  • Modern temper
  • Modernist
  • Nietzsche
  • Novella
  • Will to meaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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