Critical Readings of Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim


  • Ayila Orkusa Ph.D. University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria



Critical, reading, Conrad, Lord Jim


There are much scholarly readings of Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. This paper randomly picks some of the papers according to the various ways the scholars have studied the text for a review. Such critical readings have been examined here, considering the topical, thematic as well as theoretical and conceptual frameworks that have guided the studies. By so doing the paper answers the question on ways through which Lord Jim is read. The paper therefore shows that source study, reader response investigation, aesthetics analysis, modernist view, postcolonial readings, religious and moral approaches, stylistics, queer reading and other heterologous readings have dominated the scholarly works on Lord Jim. The conclusion is that these readings have assumed Lord Jim offers codes for interpreting society or life. Thus, most of the critics read the text as philosophy, while others read the texts as allegory or a testimony of the author or his society. But such interpretations have often offered a less clear view about the texts and as a result, many accuse the author of being obscured.  However, few studies have approached the text as an art. The study remains important as it draws together many of these readings that have differently treated Lord Jim (literature) both as ideology, discourse, and art.


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Chandler, James. ‘On the Face of the Case: Conrad, Lord Jim, and the Sentimental Novel.’ Critical Inquiry, Vol. 33, No. 4,

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Condon, G. Mathew. ‘The Cost of Redemption in Conrad’s Lord Jim.’ Literature and Theology, Vol. 12 No. 2, June 1998, pp. 135-148. JSTOR,

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Dodson, Sandra. ‘Conrad's Lord Jim and the Inauguration of a Modern Sublime.’The Conradian, Vol. 18, No. 2, Autumn 1994, pp. 77-101. JSTOR,

Epstein, S. Harry. ‘Lord Jim as a Tragic Action.’ Studies in the Novel, Vol. 5, No. 2,Summer 1973, pp. 229-247. JSTOR,

Glenny, Rachel. ‘Impressions of Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim.’The Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society, Vol. 2, No. 3, March 1976, pp. 9-11. JSTOR,

Hampson, Robert. Cross-Cultural Encounters in Joseph Conrad’s Malay Fiction. Macmillan-Palgrave, 2000.

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Hawthorn, Jeremy. Sexuality and the Erotic in the Fiction of Joseph Conrad. Continuum, 2007.

Kerr, Douglas. ‘Crowds, Colonialism, and Lord Jim.’The Conradian, Vol. 18, No. 2, Autumn 1994, pp. 49-64. JSTOR,

Krishnan, Sanjay.‘Seeing the Animal: Colonial Space and Movement in Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim.’ NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Vol. 37, No. 3, Summer 2004, pp. 326-351. JSTOR,

Levin, Yael. Tracing the Aesthetic Principle in Conrad’s Novels. Macmillan-Palgrave, 2008.

Mongia, Padmini. ‘Narrative Strategy and Imperialism Conrad’s Lord Jim. ’Studies in the Novel, Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 1992, pp. 173-186. JSTOR,

Raval, Suresh. ‘On Reading Conrad. ’Studies in the Novel, Vol. 13, No. 4, Winter 1981, pp. 439-448 JSTOR,

Seeley, Tracy. ‘Conrad's Modernist Romance: Lord Jim.’ ELH, Vol. 59, No. 2, Summer 1992, pp. 495-511. JSTOR,

Sherry, Norman. ‘Conrad’s Source for Lord Jim. ’The Modern Language Review, Vol. 59, No. 4, Oct. 1964. JSTOR,

Sullivan II, Ernest W. ‘Lord Jim's “Reward”: An Allusion to The Tempest. ’The Conradian, Vol. 7, No. 2, August 1982. pp. 27-28. JSTOR,

Taylor, Craig. ‘Literature, Moral Reflection and Ambiguity. ’Philosophy, Vol. 86, No. 335, Jan. 2011. pp. 75-93. JSTOR,

Trogdon, Robert W. R. Dos Passos and Jr. ‘John Dos Passos on Lord Jim. ’The Conradian, Vol. 25, No. 1, spring 2000. pp. 99-103. JSTOR,

Wheeler, Marcus. ‘Polonisms in Conrad's Lord Jim. ’The Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society, Vol. 2, No. 3, March 1976, pp.6-8. JSTOR,




How to Cite

Orkusa, A. . (2020). Critical Readings of Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. International Journal Online of Humanities, 6(5), 1–33.