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Hurry Up and Wait: The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ and the Maritime in Modernism

Hurry Up and Wait: The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ and the Maritime in Modernism <jats:p> The burgeoning subfield of literary oceanic studies has largely neglected modernist literature, maintaining that the end of the age of sail in the late nineteenth century also marks an end to maritime literature's substantive cultural role. This essay outlines a way of reading the maritime in modernism through an analysis of the engagement with history and temporality in Joseph Conrad's sea novel The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ (1897). The novel depicts the sea as variously an anachronistic sphere left behind by history, an integral foundation to history, an element that eclipses history, and an archive of history's repressed violence. This article traces the interactions of these various views of the sea's relationship to history, highlighting how they are shaped and inflected by the novel's treatment of race. Based on this analysis, it proposes an approach to the sea in modernist literature that focuses on its historiographical rather than social import. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Hurry Up and Wait: The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ and the Maritime in Modernism

Modernist Cultures , Volume 12 (2): 173 – Jul 1, 2017

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2017
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2017.0167
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> The burgeoning subfield of literary oceanic studies has largely neglected modernist literature, maintaining that the end of the age of sail in the late nineteenth century also marks an end to maritime literature's substantive cultural role. This essay outlines a way of reading the maritime in modernism through an analysis of the engagement with history and temporality in Joseph Conrad's sea novel The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ (1897). The novel depicts the sea as variously an anachronistic sphere left behind by history, an integral foundation to history, an element that eclipses history, and an archive of history's repressed violence. This article traces the interactions of these various views of the sea's relationship to history, highlighting how they are shaped and inflected by the novel's treatment of race. Based on this analysis, it proposes an approach to the sea in modernist literature that focuses on its historiographical rather than social import. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2017

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