A study which relates Conrad's work to the crisis of modernity in the late nineteenth 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 tensionbetween 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 author 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'. This continuously forceful and original inquiry draws on the work of Nietzsche, Vaihinger, Bakhtin, Heller, and MacIntyre, amongst others, to present the ethical and epistemological issues which are interwoven withConrad's aesthetics.