<i>Lord Jim</i> and the structures of suicide

Paul Wake

in Conrad's Marlow

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780719074905
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701256 | DOI:
Lord Jim and the structures of suicide

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This chapter revisits the idea of death as it has been set out in Derrida's reading of Heidegger, beginning by examining the numerous suicides that are found in Conrad's work before offering a close reading of what might be called ‘structures of suicide’ in Lord Jim. Following an explication of Blanchot's work on suicide that focuses on his formulation of the ‘double death’ and his contention that literary language is similarly ‘doubly negative’, this chapter considers the structural implications of suicide for narrative. This proceeds through an investigation into Conrad's biographers' attempts to narrate his supposed suicide attempt in 1898, an investigation that leads to the identification of similar narrative structures in Lord Jim.

Keywords: Derrida's reading; Heidegger; Conrad; suicide; Blanchot; double death

Chapter.  16392 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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