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The Strange Short Fiction of Joseph ConradWriting, Culture, and Subjectivity$
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Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198184997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198184997.001.0001

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The Romantic Paradox

The Romantic Paradox

(p.128) 4 The Romantic Paradox
The Strange Short Fiction of Joseph Conrad

Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan

Oxford University Press

This chapter relates the troubled dynamics of subjectivity in Conrad's work to his ambivalent relationship with Romanticism as a mode of being and with the genre of romance as a mode of writing. It focuses on two short stories: ‘A Smile of Fortune’ and ‘Freya of the Seven Isles’, two stories which seem to follow the generic conventions of romance only to subvert or parody them. In ‘A Smile of Fortune’, the narrator himself seems to be constantly, simultaneously pulled in two different directions, offering two alternative readings of his own story, as he is torn between the ethos of romance and the economy of exchange. ‘Freya of the Seven Isles’ is also narrated by a duplicitous voice and revolves on what Girard has described as ‘mimetic’ or ‘triangular desire’ which marks the shift from a Romantic to a Modernist sensibility.

Keywords:   Romanticism, A Smile of Fortune, Freya of the Seven Isles, parody

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