Conradian Contracts : Exchange and Identity in the Immigrant Imagination
Combining psychoanalysis, structural and economic anthropology, this book treats Joseph Conrad's interests in exchange, contracts, and the condition of displacement. This is the first extended academic discussion of the social contract idea in the novelist's fiction. Furthermore, the simultaneous concentration on various fields of circulation (for example finances, dialogues, representations of women, or colonial mechanisms) invites the use of theories (Lacan, Levi-Strauss, Simmel, Polanyi and Bataille) whose potentials for Conrad scholarship have not been exhausted (especially not in combination).
- Hardback | 238 pages
- 157.48 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 521.63g
- 28 Apr 2011
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Critical interest in Joseph Conrad has been dominated in recent years by postcolonial critics and some very good work has come from those quarters, but this book has the potential to open a new and much wider critical conversation about Conrad. The sensitive deployment of the concepts of contract and exchange yields incisive insights that will enrich Conrad studies in the future... Conrad is one of the giants of English fiction in the twentieth century and Tamas Juhasz has made a notable contribution to our understanding of an important body of work. -- John Xiros Cooper, University of British Columbia The book presents a plausible, carefully reasoned, well illustrated thesis explaining how displaced characters in Conrad's works seek communal recognition, psychological security, companionship, love, and honor through economic transactions even though their efforts are rewarded only on a conditional basis. To support this thesis, the author calls upon a wide range of theorists, including Marcel Mauss, Claude Levi-Strauss, Karl Polanyi, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Wieslaw Krajka. -- Leonard Moss, Professor Emeritus, SUNY Geneseo Fresh, eloquent, exciting, and original, Conradian Contracts is perhaps the finest synoptic study we have of the broad relationship in Conrad between trade and social identity, between the spheres of economic transaction and of socio-cultural and psychological integration. Engaging wide reaches of Conrad's writings through a sophisticated interweave of contemporary psychoanalytic, anthropological, and economic theoretical registers, Juhasz exposes the 'business' of literature in Conrad, and the horizons of 'commerce' Conrad's work addresses and interpenetrates, in the fullest and most seductive senses of those terms. A most impressive book of first-order thought and literary criticism. -- Peter Mallios, University of Maryland Juhasz (Karoli Gapar Univ., Budapest, Hungary) focuses on a previously unstudied aspect of Conrad's works: contracts and exchange. Examining nine of Conrad's fictional works--Almayer's Folly, Typhoon, Under Western Eyes, The Secret Agent, Lord Jim, Nostromo, Chance, and two short stories--Juhasz considers such issues as social contracts, changes in established orders of trade, and gender contracts. He considers how exile, isolation, and other forms of displacement are strongly tied to exchange and contracts. He concludes by looking at three texts by other authors to show that the relationship between exile and transactions is not unique to Conrad's fiction. A valuable contribution to Conrad studies. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. CHOICE With Conradian Contracts, the author has produced a valuable contribution to Conrad studies both nationally and internationally. It is important for scholarship coming from Hungary to have an international presence, and Juhasz's study is one of those books that will very likely make their presence felt outside the borders as well. It will do so mainly by virtue of its boldly interdisciplinary approach and its strong readings of individual Conrad works. ... The overall impression is of a carefully argued and rigorous exploration of complex and as yet hardly studied inter-relationships in the fiction of this great novelist. Book Reviews
About Tamas Juhasz
Tamas Juhasz is assistant professor in the English Department at Karoli Gaspar University in Budapest, Hungary.
Table of contents
Chapter 1: Commerce and Return in Almayer's Folly Chapter 2: "Trans-Ports of Love": Exchange as Practice and Narrative Chapter 3: Never Keeping to Oneself: A Total Social Fact in "Typhoon" and "The Secret Sharer" Chapter 4: Paternal Discourse and Contractual Revision in Under Western Eyes Chapter 5: "The Duel": Rules and Reciprocities, or Blows for Sheer Love Chapter 6: A "Supreme Illusion": Acts of Recognition in The Secret Agent Chapter 7: Trade, Meaning and the Prospects of Self-Transformation in Lord Jim Chapter 8: The End of Potlatching: Gift and Prestige in Nostromo Chapter 9: Sympathy, Generosity and the Business of Womanhood in Chance Chapter 10: Conclusions and Words after Conrad's