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Since the 2000s, various laws have sought to impose Ukrainian in film production. If until 2014, due to decades of Russification, it was not uncommon to see a Ukrainian film shot in Russian, the Ukrainian language has become increasingly dominant in national cinema. The law of 2017 demanding Ukrainian directors to shoot in the official state language has aroused questions and different positions among the film community: while some have tried to resist it, arguing a lack of realism and an artificial use of a standardized Ukrainian language in the context of a predominantly bilingual society, most filmmakers have been able to find creative solutions, by getting in tune with a society that is becoming more and more Ukrainian-speaking, or by resorting to surzhyk, a vernacular mixing Ukrainian and Russian. Apart from Slavic languages, minority languages such as Crimean Tatar have also found their place in contemporary Ukrainian cinema.

In: Studies in World Cinema
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There is no doubt that Olga Tokarczuk’s heroes and heroines—whether the writer recognizes them as such or not—face Conradian boundary situations. Kunicki in Flights is being put to a typically Conradian test; in the same novel, Eric, a boatman from the Vis Island, also makes a Conradian decision when, one morning, on impulse, he decides to “abduct’” one of passenger ships to the high seas. However, what exactly do we have in mind when we speak of Kunicki’s “typically Conradian test” or Eric’s “Conradian decision”? What is the basis for these “conradisms” in Tokarczuk, what type of interpretation of Conrad by Tokarczuk do they convey? We may conclude from the short article by Tokarczuk, written for the daily “Gazeta Wyborcza,” that the writer desires to see in Conrad the depth of “the tender gaze”. She also wishes to see in Conrad the ideas of community and responsibility—instead of the issues of honour or loyalty strictly associated by Tokarczuk with the entanglements in national causes. This type of responsibility, not fidelity or honour, is called by Tokarczuk “Conrad’s sense.” The chapter aims at exploring Tokarczuk’s reading of Conrad’s fiction in the light of Alan Finkielkraut’s essay entitled An Understanding Heart.

In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture

Abstract

Although Coetzee very rarely mentions Conrad, both authors have much in common. As external and internal exiles, both were expected in their fiction to spell out their cultural and/or political affiliations. The two novels on which this chapter focuses, Under Western Eyes (1911) and The Master of Petersburg (1994), show, however, that this is not an expectation that either Conrad or Coetzee were to fulfil straightforwardly. Under Western Eyes and The Master of Petersburg are both political novels dealing with Russia, revolutionary and anarchist movements, with social, political, cultural and historical affiliations, as well as problematic filiations. Their respective publications revived arguments about their authors’ cultural and political affiliations. In the “Author’s Note” to Under Western Eyes, Conrad professes “scrupulous impartiality” and “detachment” from the subject of Russia. This clearly disingenuous statement only thinly hides the painful confrontation with the shadow of his father and with his avowed detestation of Dostoevsky, with whom he nevertheless creatively engages in this novel. Coetzee’s novel centres on the figure of Dostoevsky and on events leading to the writing of The Possessed. With this novel, his first since the end of Apartheid, Coetzee appeared to be turning his back on South Africa precisely when some kind of response to South Africa’s fresh beginnings was expected of him. These two novels are also metafictional novels foregrounding the creative process, the writing and reading of fiction. The point of this chapter, therefore, is not to argue that Conrad was a source of inspiration that Coetzee, for whatever reason, seems to be willing to hide. It is rather to analyse how, by displacing the representation of political debates onto creative issues, both Conrad and Coetzee defend fiction against superficial links between representations and affiliations.

In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture
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Abstract

This chapter takes off from three texts by Conrad from different stages of his career: The Rover, “An Outpost of Progress,” and The Secret Agent. The essay begins with the complex transcultural belonging of Peyrol in The Rover. I will show how the novel traces his passage from an initial sense of cultural estrangement, as a stranger in his own country, to a final imbricated sense of transcultural belonging, where being “not a bad Frenchman” can also acknowledge and contain other cultural loyalties and affiliations. The essay then turns that lens on Henry Price and his wife in “An Outpost of Progress” as further example of cultural belonging. Next, the essay considers The Secret Agent—in particular, Verloc as a dual national and the Assistant Commissioner as a colonial returnee both of whom lack a sense of transcultural belonging. The second part of the chapter considers Berta Isla by Javier Marias and Agnieszka Studzinska’s third collection of poems, Branches of a House (2021). It explores how Marias draws on Under Western Eyes for his own novel of transcultural non-belonging and how Studzinska takes off from Conrad for an exploration of her own transcultural belonging / non-belonging through the figure of haunting.

In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture
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Abstract

This article discusses Joseph Conrad’s short-story “The Secret Sharer” and Peter Fudakowski’s film Secret Sharer. Although Peter Fudakowski’s work is distinctly different from its literary original, and is not a faithful adaptation, it is very faithful to Conrad’s message. By “modernizing,” recontextualizing the original piece, Fudakowski captures the gist of Conrad’s story. In Fudakowski’s rewriting, the young captain, through the mediation of a female “secret sharer,” finds a sense of responsibility for his new crew and his ship. Fudakowski also introduces references to Poland and to Polish cultural elements, thus emphasising his personal affinity with Conrad, whose Polish Christian middle name becomes that of the film’s captain.

In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture

Abstract

In the 1920s, Paul Claudel advised André Gide to read “the whole of Conrad.” Soon afterwards, Gide decided to arrange the translation of Conrad’s major works, a process which has not ceased: Conrad has become a classic in French culture. This chapter will consider some modalities of his presence among contemporary writers, among which the poet Christian Bobin, the novelists Marie Darrieuscq, Patrick Deville, and the philosopher Jacques Rancière. Rancière’s concept of “le partage du sensible”–the sharing and distributing of sensible experience–is particularly helpful to understand why Conrad remains a vivid presence, both as an uncompromising artist and as a man between languages and cultures. His work pays homage to the real as “sensible stuff” rendered through the power of the written word and through the oblique lighting of fiction: an experience which Christian Bobin’s interpretation of Typhoon renders particularly well. The partition between the sensible and the insensible also concerns the ways in which one might impart a piece of knowledge, an experience, or a story to someone else: a theme particularly compatible with Conrad’s poetics and politics. For Patrick Deville, “our French Joseph Conrad,” the whole of Conrad–the traveller, his characters, his texts–is an inspiration: like Virgil with Dante, the Polish novelist accompanies the French writer into unknown lands, including the dark territories of human desire and fantasy. Last but not least, both Bobin and Marie Darrieusecq testify to the fact that Conrad is also able to speak “with an absolute sweetness and intelligence” of a woman’s own sensible experience, and of the “hell and ecstasy of falling in love” (Bobin).

In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture

Abstract

Joseph Conrad’s works have been used to deal with race, gender, terrorism, international questions, or even globalisation. Some people, however, are fascinated as much by Conrad-the-author as by his stories. Consequently, Conrad’s personal life is the object of fictionalisation. This is the case with Eduardo Berti in Un Padre Extranjero. Drawing parallels between his own father and Conrad, Berti mingles biography and fiction, exploring the questions of exile, identity and language. He also forces us to re-consider our approach to Conrad as a source of inspiration for contemporary fiction, the author becoming as important as his books. His novel underlines how Conrad’s transnational and transcultural experience can be relevant for a 21st-century Argentinian writer living in France and writing in Spanish.

In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture
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Abstract

This chapter is a study in artistic metamorphoses. It considers the influence of Conrad on the work of the Provençal novelist, poet, and essayist Henri Bosco (1888–1976), and in turn the adaptation of Bosco’s L’Enfant et la rivière (ostensibly a book for children) into a bande dessinée (graphic novel) by the contemporary artist Xavier Coste (b. 1989). Thanks to John Prince’s interview in 1974 we know that, when he encountered the three stories in Youth in the middle 1920s, Henri Bosco was swept away by Conrad’s artistry: ‘C’est une oeuvre qui m’a bouleversé.’ He was inspired as well as astounded: ‘Il a beaucoup marqué mon œuvre. J’ai rêvé d’etre le Conrad de la littérature française’. With the outstanding exception of Michel Arouimi, not much has been written on Bosco’s Conradian inheritance, and in the anglophone world Bosco himself has attracted far less attention than his work deserves. That position may now be changing with the appearance of Malicroix in English. In that formidable novel, one can see such Conradian motifs and situations as fear, isolation, camaraderie, initiation, the power and unpredictability of water, and an acute sense of scale from the microscopic to the macroscopic. As it happens, the affinities between these authors may well reinforce the recent turn in Conrad studies towards the ecological and the catastrophic, and the local. Xavier Coste’s rendering of L’Enfant et la rivière rounds off the chapter. Coste’s handling of time, space, landscape, colour, and event is impressive. Though there is no direct link to Conrad’s fiction, Conrad lingers as a spectral presence.

In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture