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Pent up energies in Joseph Conrad’s Under Western Eyes

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Abstract

Evolving in a world which is fundamentally cynical, hard, ruthless, and where double-agents kill for both camps without compunction, the main characters of Joseph Conrad’s Under Western Eyes develop pent-up energies that become dramatically unleashed at key moments. Given that “all secret revolutionary action [is] based upon folly, self-deception, and lies,” not being what they seem to be, not looking what they actually are, such characters undermine the logic of nineteenth-century characterization in realist novels. In Under Western Eyes the phenomenon reaches a new dimension in that the “Flaubertian” construction of characters goes hand in hand with the systematic undermining of the elements which have been foregrounded to delineate them. The paradoxical logic of characters in Under Western Eyes is particularly dramatized in a series of powerful explosions.
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Dates and versions

hal-03453690 , version 1 (28-11-2021)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03453690 , version 1

Cite

Yann Tholoniat. Pent up energies in Joseph Conrad’s Under Western Eyes. ESSE 2021, Conrad-Hardy seminar, Aug 2021, Lyon (online), France. ⟨hal-03453690⟩
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