Decolonising the Conrad Canon

Access Token


Other Formats



With the pressing work of decolonising our reading lists gaining traction in UK higher educational contexts, Decolonising the Conrad Canon shows how those author-Gods most associated with the colonial literary canon can also be retooled through decolonial, queer, feminist readings. This book finds pockets of powerful anti-colonial resistance and queer dissonance in Joseph Conrad’s lesser-known works – breathing spaces from the colonial rhetoric that dominates his novels – and traces the female characters who voice them off the page and into their transmedia (digital/illustrative/cinematic) afterlives. From Immada and Edith’s queer gaze in The Rescue and the periodical illustrations that accompanied its initial serialization, to Aïssa’s sustained critique of imperialism in An Outcast of the Islands and her portrayal on mass-market paperback book covers, to the structural female bonds of Almayer’s Folly and Nina’s embodiment in Chantal Akerman’s adaptation La Folie Almayer, this book centres Conrad’s female characters as viable, meaning-making citizens of the canon. Through this intervention, Decolonising the Conrad Canon proposes an innovative model for teaching, reading and studying not just Joseph Conrad’s work but the colonial literary canon more broadly.

'New books on Conrad appear with such regularity that one wonders if there is anything new to say on the author, but in Decolonising the Conrad Canon, Alice M. Kelly proves that original approaches are by no means exhausted. This volume offers refreshing and challenging new readings of Conrad’s Malay fiction within a stimulating and compelling re-evaluation of women and gender in these novels.'
- Linda Dryden, Professor of English Literature, Edinburgh Napier University

Author Information

Alice M. Kelly is a Fellow-in-Residence at the University of Oxford's Rothermere American Institute.