Testimony on Trial: Conrad, James, and the Contest for Modernism
Published: December 2011© 2012
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 208 Pages
Dimensions: 6.26 x 9.35
208 Pages, 6.26 x 9.35 x 0.72 in
Who is a more authoritative source of information — the person who experiences it firsthand, or a more ‘impartial’ authority? In the late nineteenth century, testimony became a common feature of literary works both fact and fiction. But with the rise of new journalism, the power of testimony could be undermined by anonymous, institutional voices — a Victorian subversion which continues to this day.
Testimony on Trial examines the conflicts over testimony through the eyes of two of its major combatants, Joseph Conrad and Henry James. Brian Artese finds an overlooked yet direct inspiration for Heart of Darkness in the anti-testimonial scheming of Henry Morton Stanley and the New York Herald. Through new readings of works including Lord Jim and The Portrait of a Lady, Artese demonstrates how the cultural conditions that worked against testimony fed into a nascent conflict about the meaning of modernism itself.
1 “Speech Was of No Use”: Conrad, a New Journalism, and the Critical Abjection of Testimony
2 Theater of Incursion and Unveiling I: Home
3 Overhearing Testimony: James in the Shadow of Sentimentalism
4 “Abominable Confidence” from The Nigger of the “Narcissus” to Lord Jim: Toward a New Sympathetic Novel
5 Theater of Incursion and Unveiling II: Empire
‘This book provides an astute reading of Conrad and James, modernist narrative, and the question of testimonial authority and anonymous authority… Recommended.’ J.G. Peters, Choice Magazine; vol 50:03:2012