2017 The Return of Conrad

2017, which marks the 160th anniversary of Conrad’s birth, has been recognized by the Polish Parliament as the year of Conrad, with funding announced, and a call for cultural and artistic projects in Poland to celebrate and promote Conrad’s life, work, and heritage. See the Embassy announcement for further details.

David Miller, who many will know fondly from the UK Conrad society meetings, has just passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, after suffering a heart attack on Christmas Eve. David was loved by many, and known for his boundless and irreverent wit, and his searching love of all things Conrad.

He came to Conrad studies from a distinctive perspective as a highly respected literary agent in London.  In his own right, along with criticism on Conrad, he was the author of Today, a  novel recounting Conrad's death, and recently edited, That Glimpse of Truth, an anthology selection of fine short fiction. Those who knew him will remember a man so full of life that it beggars belief to think of him gone. Here is a tribute from The Bookseller.

Adam Gillon Book Awards: Robert Hampson has been awarded the first place prize for the Adam Gillon Book Award in Conrad Studies for 2015 for Conrad's Secrets (London: Palgrave, 2012).  Second and third place winners are respectively: 2) From Szlachta Culture to the 21st Century, Between East and West: New Essays on Joseph Conrad’s Polishness edited by Wiesław Krajka (East European Monographs, 2013); and 3) John G. Peters' Joseph Conrad's Critical Reception (Cambridge University Press, 2013). All the winners will be celebrated and the first-place prize formally awarded at the Joseph Conrad Society of America's annual business meeting to be held at the Modern Language Association's annual convention in January 2017.

MLA business meeting, dinner, and JCSA panel on "Conrad's Animals. The business meeting and dinner will take place on January 6th at 6:30 pm at Buddakan, 325 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. The price is $55 ($25 for graduate students). For reservations and to make a secure credit card payment, please request a PayPal invoice (preferred method; no personal PayPal account required) by writing to Mark Larabee at by 15 December. To pay by check, please send an email to Mark to make your reservation, and send a check (made out to "The Joseph Conrad Society of America") to him at P.O. Box 1052, Silverdale, WA 98383.

The Ian P. Watt Prize for Excellence in Conrad Scholarship for 2015 is awarded to J. Hillis Miller for his many contributions to the study of Joseph Conrad's work, ranging from his seminal readings of "Heart of Darkness" and Lord Jim in Poets of Reality (Harvard, 1965) and Fiction and Repetition (1981) to his recent work on Nostromo in Communities of Fiction (Fordham, 2014). A collected volume of his essays on Conrad is currently being co-edited by Jakob Lothe and John G. Peters.

The Bruce Harkness Young Scholar Award for 2015 is awarded to Jay Parker (PhD candidate at Leeds University) for his essay "'He was one of us': Rortyan Liberal Ethnocentrism and Ironic Narrative Voice in Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim." Honorable mention is given to Brendan Kavanagh for "'Dirty weather': Typhoon's Metereology and MacWhirr's Point of View."

Robert Caserio and Jarica Watts were elected as Trustees (from an especially strong and competitive roster of potential trustee candidates). Congratulations to them and thanks to the outgoing trustees, Brian Artese and Alexia Hannis.

The Society approved the submission of three panels for next year's MLA: Conrad's Animals, proposed by Stephen Ross, will be the Society's guaranteed panel; Conrad and Mimetic Theories, proposed by Nidesh Lawtoo, will be submitted as an additional, non-guaranteed session; and Conrad and Lawrence at Sea, proposed by Joyce Wexler, will be submitted as a collaborative session in collaboration with the D. H. Lawrence Society. (See our website, or the MLA site for the CFP's for these panels.)

Finally, the Society has formed an initial Steering Committee to plan a conference in the early summer of 2017 to be held at Fordham University (tentatively scheduled for June 1 - 4). Conradian Crosscurrents: Creativity and Critique” will explore how Conrad’s life and fiction intersects with contemporary creative and critical work of any kind. The conference will be open to scholarly work on Conrad and other writers; and on literary and artistic work from across the range of media (literature, music, performance, art, and mixed media). At the business meeting, there was a discussion of some possible big names to consider bringing to the conference. The Steering Committee invites further suggestions of the names of writers, artists, composers, musicians, film-makers, or thinkers whose work intersects with Conrad in interesting ways. The Steering Committee will expore the viability (especially the financial viability) of bringing one or two such figures to the conference. Please send any and all suggestions (including a wish to join the committee) either to me, or to the other members of the Steering Committee as currently constituted: Ellen Burton-Harrington (, Nidesh Lawtoo (, and Seamus O'Malley ( And if you wish to join this group, please contact Chris GoGwilt, President, JCSA, at

Conrad Panel: 2015 MLA

See Upcoming Conferences for details of the Conrad and the Body panel.

Conrad Society Awards

The Joseph Conrad Society of America was proud to award their Bruce Harkness Young Conrad Scholar Award for 2014 to Mark S. Bennett for his essay “‘The Spirit of Revolution’ and ‘The Phrases of Sham Sentiment’: Melodrama and Irony in Conrad’s Novels of Political Radicalism.” He is currently at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is working as director of the First-Year Writing Program. He earned his Ph.D. at UIC in 2014, where he completed his dissertation titled Terrorism and Sentiment in Twentieth-Century Fiction: Conrad to DeLillo

His prizewinning essay, "'The Spirit of Revolution' and 'The Phrases of Sham Sentiment': Melodrama and Irony in Conrad’s Novels of Political Radicalism," situates Conrad as the preeminent twentieth-century novelist-critic of terrorism. Conrad’s use of irony in his fiction reveals the bind between contemporary revolutionary and reactionary politics, and the extent to which both are implicated in the same system of power. Conrad’s irony further illuminates the fluctuating powers of sentiment in political rhetoric and politicized violence. Despite Mr. X’s claim in "The Informer" that revolutionary rhetoric has “no sham meaning,” Conrad divests all such rhetoric for its specious power to persuade sentimentally, and locates the actual damage wrought by revolutionary violence in the space of the family and private emotions.

The Ian P. Watt Prize for Excellence in Conrad Scholarship for 2014 was awarded to Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan.

Every two years, this award honors a distinguished scholar whose work has proven invaluable to the field of Conrad studies. Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan is the ninth winner of the award since its inception. The award honors and affirms the depth, breadth, and humanity of her work and vision. As the author of two classic studies of Conrad, Joseph Conrad and the Modern Temper (Oxford UP, 1991) and The Strange Short Fiction of Joseph Conrad: Writing, Culture, and Subjectivity (Oxford UP, 1999) and over a dozen articles and chapters, she has been a dynamic and formative voice in Conrad scholarship for almost thirty years. Her vision offers an extraordinary convergence of psychoanalytic theory, poststructuralism—in its richest and most numinous form—and deep ethical engagement. Her work situates Conrad’s writings within the broadest scope of modernity while sustaining close readings that discern the finest details of his writing. Her studies deftly navigate contraries, making paradoxical sense of how all the various tensions, ironies, philosophical discords and lacunae play out in Conrad’s work. Her writing is ever characterized by precision and clarity, the two producing a unique voice which is her own and could belong to no one else. Despite trends in scholarship moving in other narratological and postcolonial directions, her work continually exhorts us to recall our humanity in all its depth and complexity. As such, the enduring value of her writings will extend far beyond the field of Conrad studies alone. Yet it is for her contribution to Conrad studies in particular—her intellectual achievement, generosity, and indefatigable spirit of curiosity—that generations of Conradians will ever remain in her debt.

Conrad Society Elections Peter Lancelot Mallios was elected 2nd Vice President. Mark Deggan, Nidesh Lawtoo, and Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy were elected new trustees for the Joseph Conrad Society of America.

Conrad Society Business Meeting 2015

In addition to the elections for new trustees (see above), Debra Romanick Baldwin reported that the Society’s status as Affiliated Organization of the MLA has been renewed for an additional seven years.

Please send relevant news items to David Mulry at