On May 22, 2010, Laurence Davies, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in English Literature at the University of Glasgow and co-editor of The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad (Cambridge, 1983-2007), published a review of Joseph Conrad and the Reader on NBOL-19.org website:

“There is much to enjoy here, much to appreciate, much to ponder, and a certain amount to challenge. Acheraïou begins by denying that authorship has now been interred for good and all in the cemetery of dead ideas. He advocates the literary equivalent of restorative justice, acknowledging author, text, and reader as hermeneutic entities, none of them endowed with absolute powers. Acheraïou’s purpose is not to restore the idea of an originating authority whose life and cultural circumstances are all the critical reader knows or needs to know. Instead, he offers a theory of dissemination, whereby ‘the author neither vanishes from the text nor is impotent within it’ (19). He finds this concept embodied in Conrad’s comments on his fiction as well as in the fiction itself. Using Conrad’s own words to make the point, Acheraïou proposes that the novelist ‘remains to a certain extent a figure behind the veil, a suspected rather than a seen presence–a movement and a voice behind the draperies of fiction’ (A Personal Record, qtd. 18). Thus, writes Acheraïou, ‘where Barthes dismisses the writer as a total absence, Conrad grants the novelist a real, though unstable footing in his writing’ (19) …”

To read the full review, download the attachment:  Review_LaurenceDavies_May22,2010_nbol-19