Conradian Contracts: Exchange and Identity in the Immigrant Imagination by Tamas JuhaszConradian Contracts: Exchange and Identity in the Immigrant Imagination by Tamas Juhasz

Conradian Contracts: Exchange and Identity in the Immigrant Imagination

byTamas Juhasz

Hardcover | April 28, 2011

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This book treats Joseph Conrad's simultaneous interests in exchange, contracts, and the condition of displacement. The central hypothesis is that the novelist's characters face the option of signing or rejecting what might, with some generalization, be called a social covenant. These individuals conduct a lonely or marginal existence and, to ease their isolation, they would like to (re)enter a community. For this reason, they are ready to contribute to larger collective causes and comply with those restrictions that social life, in its contractual aspect, requires. As Julia Kristeva puts it, "The foreigner is the one who works," yet engagement in transactions in order to earn a social position is fraught with difficulties. In return for their contribution, these hard-working characters do not always receive the compensation that they had in mind, especially when their definition of companionship violates the boundaries of legality and social propriety. Their private, illicit interests are bound to clash with communal ones, and the ensuing negotiating, readjustment, or compromise-seeking either crush the individual party or result in a redefinition of the notion of contract. This link between exchange and displacement is explored in nine narratives. Just as the concept of exile is used in a broad, often metaphorical sense (ranging from characters who are actual migrants through individuals who occupy a marginal position within their native community to individuals who are caught between conflicting cultural-economic models), the trade or contractual alliance that can create, or at least promise, a sense of communal belonging and personal recognition is also manifold in its definition. Although it always includes, if to varying degrees, the transference of economic goods or entering a specific agreement, exchange is never limited to legal-material procedures.
Tamás Juhász is assistant professor in the English Department at Károli Gáspár University in Budapest, Hungary.
Title:Conradian Contracts: Exchange and Identity in the Immigrant ImaginationFormat:HardcoverDimensions:238 pages, 9.43 × 6.5 × 0.83 inPublished:April 28, 2011Publisher:Lexington BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0739145533

ISBN - 13:9780739145531


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

Editorial Reviews

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 Juhász'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.