Tag Archives: Joseph Conrad

Reading Lit To Find the Meaning of Life

Paul Kalinithi moves between neuroscience and literature as he tries to understand the meaning of life and death, including his own terminal disease.

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Conrad: Terrorism Not as Clear as It Looks

We all think we know what went on with the killings in Charleston, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino because they fit easy narratives. Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent” should make us wary about jumping to conclusions.

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Speaker Paul Ryan in Literature

I’ve written a lot about Paul Ryan and his aspiration to be a John Galt figure. Now that he is Speaker of the House, I review other literary parallels I’ve drawn over the years.

Posted in Achebe (Chinua), Carroll (Lewis), Conrad (Joseph), Dickens (Charles), Hardy (Thomas), Milton (John), Rand (Ayn) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Guide’s Conradian Revenge Fantasy

Do tour guides ever dream of doling out to their chargers what the porters in “Heart of Darkness” do with one of the visiting English?

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The CIA’s Heart of Darkness

Published details about the CIA’s torture program reveal that America descended into a Conradian heart of darkness.

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Why GOP Right Is Beating Up on the Poor

Paul Ryan projects upon the poor as Joseph Conrad did upon Africans.

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America’s Heart of Darkness Beginnings

America’s bloody beginnings are part of who we still are.

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Sweethearts Now Cleared for Combat

Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War story about a woman who goes rogue has things to teach us about the recent suspension of the Pentagon ban on women in combat.

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Armstrong’s Heart of Darkness

One our ideal, Lance Armstrong has proved to be more like Kurtz in “Heart of Darkness.”

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Great Political Novels Not Agenda Driven

Great political novels are rich in spiritual attitude. Poor ones are agenda driven.

Posted in Conrad (Joseph), Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Ginzburg (Natalia), Gordimer (Nadine), James (Henry), Llosa (Vargas), Naipaul (V.S.), Pamuk (Orhan), Roth (Philip K.), Stendahl, Turgenev (Ivan), Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Following Shipwreck, Replay of Lord Jim?

Joseph Conrad’s novel “Lord Jim” came to mind when I heard reports that the captain of the shipwrecked cruise ship Costa Concordia may have abandoned the ship before all the passengers were off.

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Dirty Work = Heart of Darkness

In “Heart of Darkness,” Joseph Conrad indirectly teaches us that doing work that contributes to human misery will take a toll, however much we try to focus just on the work.

Posted in Conrad (Joseph) | Also tagged , | 3 Comments

Twain Was No Racist (Not Even Close)

“I hope that like Mark Twain, 100 years from now people will see my work and think, ‘Wow. That is actually pretty racist.’” –Tina Fey accepting the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Thanks to a visiting lecturer in our Mark Twain series, I have a new understanding of Huckleberry Finn that is exciting me […]

Posted in Conrad (Joseph), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

A Tribute to the Workers of the World

Here’s a special Labor Day post for the workers of the world—those who have jobs and those who don’t, those who are overworked and those who are underemployed, those who are treated fairly and those who are exploited, those who are just starting out and those who have been working for a long time, those […]

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Lies Reveal Who We Wish We Were

Pierre Corneille        I’ve been thinking about lying recently.  One reason is because I recently saw a David Ives adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 17th century comedy The Liar at the Washington Shakespeare Theater.  Another is because of Maureen Dowd’s interesting NYT column Sunday about politicians who lie when they don’t have to. Dowd is writing about Richard […]

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Shaw Cuts through the Bull

Last night I gave a short lecture and then moderated a talkback following a college production of George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man (1894), directed by my colleague Michael Ellis-Tolaydo.  I hadn’t read the play since I was in high school, when I went on a Shaw kick.  (I first became enamored with […]

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Trusting that Good Can Come from Ill

Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus What have I learned about literature and pain this past week? First, that writers have taken up the topic, just as they take up every aspect of human existence. They imagine what it is like to feel pain and, through poetic images and fictional stories, convey that experience to readers. By entering […]

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Shadow Projections on the President

A couple of months ago I wondered on this blog whether some of the vitriolic attacks on Obama (as distinguished from reasoned disagreement) were driven by racism, and now I see that others are wondering the same, including Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter.  But a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish has a more […]

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Literature as a Leadership Handbook

Joseph Conrad  I have just begun reading a book that is very much in tune with this website: Joseph L. Badaracco’s Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership through Literature, published by Harvard Business School Press (2006). I report here on the introduction. The author talks about assigning Joseph Conrad’s “Secret Sharer” to a […]

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