Decolonising the Conrad Canon

BookDecolonising the Conrad Canon

Decolonising the Conrad Canon

English Association Monographs: English at the Interface, 8


February 1st, 2022





With the pressing work of decolonising our reading lists gaining traction in UK higher educational contexts, Decolonising the Conrad Canon shows how those author-Gods most associated with the colonial literary canon can also be retooled through decolonial, queer, feminist readings. This book finds pockets of powerful anti-colonial resistance and queer dissonance in Joseph Conrad’s lesser-known works – breathing spaces from the colonial rhetoric that dominates his novels – and traces the female characters who voice them off the page and into their transmedia (digital/illustrative/cinematic) afterlives. From Immada and Edith’s queer gaze in The Rescue and the periodical illustrations that accompanied its initial serialization, to Aïssa’s sustained critique of imperialism in An Outcast of the Islands and her portrayal on mass-market paperback book covers, to the structural female bonds of Almayer’s Folly and Nina’s embodiment in Chantal Akerman’s adaptation La Folie Almayer, this book centres Conrad’s female characters as viable, meaning-making citizens of the canon. Through this intervention, Decolonising the Conrad Canon proposes an innovative model for teaching, reading and studying not just Joseph Conrad’s work but the colonial literary canon more broadly.

'New books on Conrad appear with such regularity that one wonders if there is anything new to say on the author, but in Decolonising the Conrad Canon, Alice M. Kelly proves that original approaches are by no means exhausted. This volume offers refreshing and challenging new readings of Conrad’s Malay fiction within a stimulating and compelling re-evaluation of women and gender in these novels.'
- Linda Dryden, Professor of English Literature, Edinburgh Napier University

Author Information

Alice M. Kelly is a Fellow of the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Introduction: Dead White Man
Part 1: The Rescue
1. Female Homoeroticism and The Rescue’s ‘Lesbian Context’
2. The ‘Invisible Lesbian’ in the Land and Water Illustrations of The Rescue
Part 2: An Outcast of the Islands
3. Aïssa: Agency, Race and the Articulation of Desire in An Outcast of the Islands
4. Trash Conrad: Pulps, Paratexts and Protagonists
Part 3: Almayer’s Folly
5. ... and Nina and Taminah and Mrs Almayer
6. ‘Full-Bodied’: Embodiment in Chantal Akerman’s La Folie Almayer
Conclusion: Breathing Spaces and Afterlives