Tag Archives: Joseph Conrad

Conrad on Film – The Secret Agent

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Joseph Conrad’s Edwardian novel The Secret Agent (1907) is currently being serialized on BBC television, starring Toby Jones and Vicky McClure. Conrad, as previous events listed here have shown, has been adapted multiple times for stage, screen and radio. The last BBC adaptation of The Secret Agent was, in fact, as recent as 1992.

If you know of any other adaptations of Edwardian texts that we have missed this summer, please do let us know!

Essay: Bennett Amongst the Modernists

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On October 17th-18th, the Edwardian Culture Network will host a symposium entitled ‘Arnold Bennett and his Circle’ (see our ‘events’ pages for more details). In the following short essay, Dr. Andrew Glazzard, one of the co-organizers, anticipates some of the issues we intend to cover in our discussions.

I’d like to try a thought experiment – a game of matching the novel with the writer. Take two novels, both written in 1922 – ‘the year of Modernism’. One is set in a city, but very little happens. This novel is narrated with ironic detachment, and dwells on the drab lives of ordinary people who fail to understand each other. The other is an adventure story, set on the French coast during the Napoleonic Wars. It is about a pirate, features buried treasure, includes a love story between a dashing soldier and a beautiful woman, and ends with an exciting chase featuring Horatio Nelson.

One of these novels was written by an early modernist – an innovator who remains a fixture on university syllabuses, and has been widely acknowledged for his technical achievements and for bringing a sceptical, disillusioned world-view to British fiction. The other writer became immensely popular in his lifetime, was regarded by his younger contemporaries as an exemplar of everything that was wrong about the Edwardian novel, and today in the world of academic Eng.Lit is almost completely disregarded. Which author do you think wrote which novel? Continue reading

On Arnold Bennett (2): Realism and Reality

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‘My dear Sir,
The reading of the Man from the North has inspired me with the greatest respect for your artistic conscience. I am profoundly impressed with the achievement of style. The root of the matter – which is expression – is there, and the sacred fire too […] Generally, however, I may say that the die has not been struck hard enough. Here’s a piece of pure metal scrupulously shaped, with a true – and more – a beautiful ring: but the die has not been struck hard enough. I admit that the outlines of the design are sharp enough. What it wants is a more emphatic modelling; more relief […] Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to have it out with you, the book there on the table, to be thumped and caressed. I would quarrel not with the truth of your conception but with the realism thereof. You stop just short of absolutely real because you are faithful to your dogmas of realism. Now realism in art will never approach reality. And your art, your gift, should be put to the service of a larger and freer faith’ (Joseph Conrad to Arnold Bennett, 10th March 1902)

For more information on our upc0ming symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’), see here (or e-mail us at edwardianculture@hotmail.co.uk for a draft programme of the day’s events).

CFP: H.G. Wells and his World on the Eve of the War

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When the Lamps Went Out: H. G. Wells and his World on the Eve of the War: H. G. Wells Society Conference, Durham,

27 September 2014

Plenary speakers:
Professor Matthew Pateman (Sheffield Hallam University)
Megan Shepherd (author of The Madman’s Daughter)

This year will see the anniversary of the outbreak of what H. G. Wells optimistically hoped would be ‘The War that Will End War’. When the Lamps Went Out is a conference that seeks to take a snapshot of the literary, political and social landscape at the end of the ‘long nineteenth century’ and the dawn of the First World War. We welcome papers on Wells’s Edwardian and early twentieth-century work, on his political and discussion novels, and/or on his journalistic, political, utopian and wargaming writing, and on the legacies of the nineteenth century in the early twentieth. We also invite papers on connections with the writers and people of significance from Wells’s circle in this period: such figures may include (but need not be confined to): Elizabeth von Arnim, Arnold Bennett, Edward Carpenter, G. K Chesterton, Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, John Galsworthy, Alfred Harmsworth, Violet Hunt, Vernon Lee, C. F. G Masterman, E. Nesbit, Amber Reeves, Dorothy Richardson, Elizabeth Robins, Robert Ross, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Frederick Soddy, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Rebecca West… We especially welcome proposals for papers on Wells, gender, sexuality and marriage.

Papers should be no more than 20 minutes long. Please send proposals (maximum of 250 words) by no later than 20th June 2014, or expressions of interest in attending, to s.j.james@durham.ac.uk

When the Lamps Went Out is a collaboration between Durham University Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, the H. G. Wells Society and the Edwardian Culture Network. Attendance fee is: H G Wells Society members: unwaged £20, waged £30; non-Members: unwaged £25, waged £35. The Wells Society can be joined at:http://www.hgwellsusa.50megs.com/.

This conference also marks the launch of the exhibition Books for Boys: Heroism, Empire and Adventure at the Dawn of the First World War. Books for Boys tells the story of Britain and Germany in the years leading up to the Great War through showing what the public enjoyed reading.The exhibition will also display late-Victorian and Edwardian maps, toys, uniforms, photographs, pictures, medals, literary memorabilia and other artefacts and ephemera. Conference delegates will be invited to a private view of the exhibition on the evening preceding the conference.

Adapting Conrad: Registration Open!

 Adapting Conrad Poster

Adapting Conrad: A multi-disciplinary conference on what happens to books when translated into other media

30 May 2014, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London

“Thereʼs been a lot of talk about the way in which Hollywood directors distort literary masterpieces. Iʼll have no part of that!”
– Alfred Hitchcock to Francois Truffaut, 1968.

Joseph Conradʼs fictions have been adapted for stage, screen, and radio, and have appeared in songs, graphic novels, and art installations. His work has been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Francis Ford Coppola, Bob Dylan, Christopher Hampton, Nicolas Roeg … and Conrad himself, who wrote three stage plays and a film treatment based on his own stories.

What happens to a literary work – masterpiece or otherwise – when it is adapted into another media? Is it always a distortion? What criteria of success can be used to judge an adaptation? What can we learn about narrative, audiences, and genre from the process of adaptation and the relationship between the original and the adaptation? How can different critical approaches help us understand that relationship?

These are some of the questions we will be addressing in ʻAdapting Conradʼ, a one-day conference hosted by the Institute of English Studies at Senate House, London, on 30 May 2014. Continue reading

CFP: Adapting Conrad

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‘Hanyut’ – a 2012 film based on ‘Almayer’s Folly’ by Joseph Conrad

Adapting Conrad: A multi-disciplinary conference on what
happens to books when translated into other media

“Thereʼs been a lot of talk about the way in which Hollywood directors distort literary masterpieces. Iʼll have no part of that!”
– Alfred Hitchcock to Francois Truffaut, 1968.

Joseph Conradʼs fictions have been adapted for stage, screen, and radio, and
have appeared in songs, graphic novels, and art installations. His work has
been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Francis Ford Coppola, Bob
Dylan, Christopher Hampton, Nicolas Roeg … and Conrad himself, who wrote
three stage plays and a film treatment based on his own stories.

What happens to a literary work – masterpiece or otherwise – when it is
adapted into another media? Is it always a distortion? What criteria of success
can be used to judge an adaptation? What can we learn about narrative,
audiences, and genre from the process of adaptation and the relationship
between the original and the adaptation? How can different critical approaches
help us understand that relationship? These are some of the questions we will
be addressing in ʻAdapting Conradʼ, a one-day conference hosted by the
Institute of English Studies at Senate House, London, on 30 May 2014. Continue reading

Screening of ‘The Secret Agent’

The-Secret-Agent

London-based Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following film screening:

Christopher Hampton’s Film of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent: Screening and Panel Discussion with the Writer-Director

Fri 25 October 2013, 6.30pm – 9pm (Doors open at 6pm)

FREE but booking is required.

The Screening Room, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

Join Christopher Hampton, playwright and Academy award-winning screenwriter (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement), for a special screening of his 1996 adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. Following the screening Christopher Hampton, who both wrote and directed the film, will be in conversation with Dr Andrew Glazzard and Professor Jonathan Powell. Professor Robert Hampson, a world-renowned Conrad scholar, will introduce the film.

The film features a stellar case, including Bob Hoskins, Patricia Arquette, Gérard Depardieu, Jim Broadbent, Christian Bale, Robin Williams and Eddie Izzard. Set in London in the grim socio-political atmosphere of late 19th century, Verloc is a double agent, spying on anarchists for the Russian government while simultaneously providing information to the police. When Inspector Heat insists that the anarchists must commit a major act of violence in order for the police to put them behind bars, a chain of events is set in motion that leads to tragedy for all involved.

See here for more information, including booking.