Academic journal article The Conradian : the Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.)

Under Western Eyes: An Explosive Review

Academic journal article The Conradian : the Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.)

Under Western Eyes: An Explosive Review

Article excerpt

Under WESTERN Eyes was almost universally well received by I / contemporary reviewers, some of whom even went so far as to V-' acclaim the novel Conrad's best. The anonymous reviewer for London's Standard remarked, for instance, "It may be considered, for its inevitable tragedy, Mr. Conrad's finest work." (1911: 5). The veteran American literary journalist William Morton Payne, in The Dial, echoed this sentiment: "We are inclined to say that 'Under Western Eyes' is Mr. Conrad's masterpiece" (1912: 134). James Douglas, who had favourably reviewed The Secret Agent and A Set of Six, went even further, exclaiming: "Mr. Joseph Conrad has written a very great novel. "Under Western Eyes" (Methuen) is incomparably finer and bigger than anything he has ever done. It places him among the giants of prose fiction" (1911: 7). The editor and bibliophile Clement King Shorter summed up these views: "Mr. Conrad's novel, Under Western Eyes, has been hailed everywhere as his greatest achievement" (1911: xvi).

Among the numerous reviews of the novel that appeared throughout the English-speaking world, none, however, was as unusual or as amusingly irreverent as the "picture review" (see Fig. …

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