Conrad's Marlow

Narrative and death in 'Youth', Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim and Chance

By Paul Wake

Conrad's Marlow


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9247-7
  • Pages: 160
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £14.99
  • Published Date: January 2016
  • BIC Category: United Kingdom, Great Britain, Literature: history & criticism, Ireland, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literature


Variously described as 'the average pilgrim', a 'wanderer', and 'a Buddha preaching in European clothes', Charlie Marlow is the voice behind Joseph Conrad's Youth (1898), Heart of Darkness (1899), Lord Jim (1900) and Chance (1912).

Newly available in paperback, Conrad's Marlow offers a comprehensive account and critical analysis of one of Conrad's most celebrated creations, asking both who and what is Marlow: a character or a narrator, a biographer or an autobiographical screen, a messenger or an interpreter, a bearer of truth or a misguided liar?

Reading Conrad's fiction alongside the work of Walter Benjamin, Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger, and offering an investigation into the connection between narrative and death, this book argues that Marlow's essence is located in his liminality - in his constantly shifting position - and that the emergence of meaning in his stories is at all points bound up with the process of his storytelling.


Introduction: Marlow, realism, hermeneutics
1. Marlow: 'Youth' and the oral tradition
2. Heart of Darkness and death
3. Lord Jim and the structures of suicide
4. Chance and the truth of literature
Epilogue: the sense of an ending


Paul Wake is a Reader in English Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University

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