Western thought has often dismissed shadows as fictional, but what if fictions reveal original truths? Drawing on an anti-Platonic tradition in critical theory, Lawtoo adopts ethical, anthropological, and philosophical lenses to offer new readings of Joseph Conrad’s novels and the postcolonial and cinematic works that respond to his oeuvre. He argues that Conrad’s fascination with doubles urges readers to reflect on the two sides of mimesis: one side is dark and pathological, and involves the escalation of violence, contagious epidemics, and catastrophic storms; the other side is luminous and therapeutic, and promotes communal survival, postcolonial reconciliation, and plastic adaptations to changing environments. Once joined, the two sides reveal Conrad as an author whose Janus-faced fictions are powerfully relevant to our contemporary world of global violence and environmental crisis.
“Nidesh Lawtoo is a rising figure in Conrad studies, and Conrad’s Shadow adds significantly to his reputation. Lawtoo connects the Conradian idea of homo duplex and doubling in his works to mimetic theory and in the process provides a welcome return to a textual-based literary analysis in which Lawtoo gives us new, challenging, and insightful readings of Conrad’s works. Conrad’s Shadow will likely prove to be one of the most innovative books on Conrad to appear in some time. “
—John Peters, University Distinguished Research Professor, University of North Texas, and general editor of Conradiana
- 2015–2017 Joseph Conrad Society of America, Adam Gillon Book Award in Conrad Studies: Co-winner, Best Book