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Expulsion and the Nineteenth-Century NovelThe Scapegoat in English Realist Fiction$
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Michiel Heyns

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198182702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198182702.001.0001

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The Solidarity of the Craft and the Fellowship of Illusion: Lord Jim

The Solidarity of the Craft and the Fellowship of Illusion: Lord Jim

(p.183) Chapter 4 The Solidarity of the Craft and the Fellowship of Illusion: Lord Jim
Expulsion and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Michiel Heyns

Oxford University Press

To Joseph Conrad, the great moral imperatives are those which are conceived to sustain a solidarity maintained only fitfully, or which, the nightmare runs, may be only illusory. In his own much-quoted words: ‘Those who read me know my conviction that the world, the temporal world, rests on a very few simple ideas; so simple that they must be as old as the hills. It rests notably, among others, on the idea of Fidelity’. This idea, indeed, is at the centre of Conrad's fiction, certainly at the centre of Lord Jim, the focus of this chapter. However, those who read Conrad know also that the world must rest upon the idea of fidelity because its contrary, the threat of betrayal, is so prevalent and so real. Fidelity in Conrad, in short, is more often known by its absence than by its presence: community and solitude do not preclude each other.

Keywords:   Joseph Conrad, solidarity, fidelity, Lord Jim, betrayal, community, solitude

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