Maya Jasanoff, winner of the 2018 Cundhill History Prize, has written The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World, which we will read as our core text. We will accompany Jasanoff as she sets out to find the elusive Conrad by tracing the historical, biographical, and literary footsteps of the writer.
How did Conrad pioneer our understanding of the forces that shape our modern world? How persuasive is Jasanoff in arguing that Conrad did not merely embody the soul of his time, but also foresaw our own? What can we learn from Conrad’s insights into his own era of globalization and rapid technological change, as articulated in his novels and short stories? How did his writings anticipate the modern age’s take on issues such as immigration, globalization, terrorism, and human rights? How do Conrad’s writings help us think the possibility that of us could become savage, whatever our upbringing, given that we all share the same capacity for good and evil?
By deepening our knowledge of Conrad’s life and times, Jasanoff will be our guide as we explore his novels, The Secret Agent, Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness, and Nostromo.