The tropical forest as symbol and setting in the fiction of Joseph Conrad and his British contemporaries. / Felderhof, Benedick.

2018. 189 p.

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@phdthesis{69ebd883e0424eddbc3d6b8880b79c88,
title = "The tropical forest as symbol and setting in the fiction of Joseph Conrad and his British contemporaries",
abstract = "This thesis explains the prevalence and meaning of the tropical forest image in British fiction during the period 1885 to 1914, referring in particular to the writing of Conrad, but also that of Stevenson, Haggard, Hudson, Kipling, Doyle, and Wells. It attempts to combine the two strands of Conradian criticism based on the traditions of adventure romance and on evolutionary theory. Following up on the argument made by Corinne J. Saunders (The Forest of Medieval Romance, 1993) that literary woodlands have long been used to express ideas concerning undifferentiated matter, geneses, and the existence of a purposive force in nature, the fundamental contention of this thesis is that Darwin{\textquoteright}s theory of natural selection and waning Christian beliefs prompted late-Victorian interest in such questions and a revival of erstwhile forest conventions. The historian of evolution Peter Bowler has identified an {\textquoteleft}eclipse of Darwinism{\textquoteright} lasting from the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859) to as late as the 1930s, during which much of the scientific and political establishments were anxious to combat the growth of atheistic materialism through replacement dogmas like neo-Lamarckism, social Darwinism, and imperialism. While many Victorian-Edwardian authors reflect this {\textquoteleft}reoccupation{\textquoteright} in conventional stories that depict fallen wastelands becoming redeemed idylls, Conrad{\textquoteright}s jungle is more unorthodox, ambiguous, and far less encouraging.",
keywords = "forest, Conrad, nature, jungle, Kipling, empire, MATTER, hyle, evolution, tropics",
author = "Benedick Felderhof",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
school = "Royal Holloway, University of London",

}

RIS

TY - THES

T1 - The tropical forest as symbol and setting in the fiction of Joseph Conrad and his British contemporaries

AU - Felderhof, Benedick

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - This thesis explains the prevalence and meaning of the tropical forest image in British fiction during the period 1885 to 1914, referring in particular to the writing of Conrad, but also that of Stevenson, Haggard, Hudson, Kipling, Doyle, and Wells. It attempts to combine the two strands of Conradian criticism based on the traditions of adventure romance and on evolutionary theory. Following up on the argument made by Corinne J. Saunders (The Forest of Medieval Romance, 1993) that literary woodlands have long been used to express ideas concerning undifferentiated matter, geneses, and the existence of a purposive force in nature, the fundamental contention of this thesis is that Darwin’s theory of natural selection and waning Christian beliefs prompted late-Victorian interest in such questions and a revival of erstwhile forest conventions. The historian of evolution Peter Bowler has identified an ‘eclipse of Darwinism’ lasting from the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859) to as late as the 1930s, during which much of the scientific and political establishments were anxious to combat the growth of atheistic materialism through replacement dogmas like neo-Lamarckism, social Darwinism, and imperialism. While many Victorian-Edwardian authors reflect this ‘reoccupation’ in conventional stories that depict fallen wastelands becoming redeemed idylls, Conrad’s jungle is more unorthodox, ambiguous, and far less encouraging.

AB - This thesis explains the prevalence and meaning of the tropical forest image in British fiction during the period 1885 to 1914, referring in particular to the writing of Conrad, but also that of Stevenson, Haggard, Hudson, Kipling, Doyle, and Wells. It attempts to combine the two strands of Conradian criticism based on the traditions of adventure romance and on evolutionary theory. Following up on the argument made by Corinne J. Saunders (The Forest of Medieval Romance, 1993) that literary woodlands have long been used to express ideas concerning undifferentiated matter, geneses, and the existence of a purposive force in nature, the fundamental contention of this thesis is that Darwin’s theory of natural selection and waning Christian beliefs prompted late-Victorian interest in such questions and a revival of erstwhile forest conventions. The historian of evolution Peter Bowler has identified an ‘eclipse of Darwinism’ lasting from the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859) to as late as the 1930s, during which much of the scientific and political establishments were anxious to combat the growth of atheistic materialism through replacement dogmas like neo-Lamarckism, social Darwinism, and imperialism. While many Victorian-Edwardian authors reflect this ‘reoccupation’ in conventional stories that depict fallen wastelands becoming redeemed idylls, Conrad’s jungle is more unorthodox, ambiguous, and far less encouraging.

KW - forest

KW - Conrad

KW - nature

KW - jungle

KW - Kipling

KW - empire

KW - MATTER

KW - hyle

KW - evolution

KW - tropics

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -