Joseph Conrad and the Reader: Questioning Modern Theories of Narrative and Readership (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) is the first monograph fully devoted to Conrad’s relation to the reader, visual theory, and authorship. It proposes new avenues to modern literary criticism. Through sharp textual analyses and original comparative approaches, it highlights the theoretical and empirical limits of deconstructionist theories: death-of-the-author, text as an absolute semiotic sign, and reader as a hegemonic interpretative agency. In the process, the book introduces several cutting-edge theoretical concepts: the text as a tripartite transaction, the notion of subliminal readers, para-fictional readers, authorial dissemination, and reading as an act of solidarity.
This book examines Conrad’s ethics of readership and visuality in the light of modern experimentalist writers like Fielding, Sterne, Diderot, and Flaubert, as well as in relation to ancient theories of narrative formulated by Aristotle, Plato, Horace, Quintilian, Cicero, and Plutarch.