The Dawn Watch by Maya Jasanoff
Joseph Conrad in a Global World

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This biography may not fully reveal the mystery behind the man, but it is a powerful encouragement to read his books.
-The Economist

Synopsis

“Enlightening, compassionate, superb” —John Le Carré

A visionary exploration of the life and times of Joseph Conrad, his turbulent age of globalization and our own, from one of the most exciting young historians writing today

Migration, terrorism, the tensions between global capitalism and nationalism, and a communications revolution: these forces shaped Joseph Conrad’s destiny at the dawn of the twentieth century. In this brilliant new interpretation of one of the great voices in modern literature, Maya Jasanoff reveals Conrad as a prophet of globalization. As an immigrant from Poland to England, and in travels from Malaya to Congo to the Caribbean, Conrad navigated an interconnected world, and captured it in a literary oeuvre of extraordinary depth. His life story delivers a history of globalization from the inside out, and reflects powerfully on the aspirations and challenges of the modern world.
 
Joseph Conrad was born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in 1857, to Polish parents in the Russian Empire. At sixteen he left the landlocked heart of Europe to become a sailor, and for the next twenty years travelled the world’s oceans before settling permanently in England as an author. He saw the surging, competitive "new imperialism" that planted a flag in almost every populated part of the globe. He got a close look, too, at the places “beyond the end of telegraph cables and mail-boat lines,” and the hypocrisy of the west’s most cherished ideals.
 
In a compelling blend of history, biography, and travelogue, Maya Jasanoff follows Conrad’s routes and the stories of his four greatest works—The Secret AgentLord JimHeart of Darkness, and Nostromo. Genre-bending, intellectually thrilling, and deeply humane, The Dawn Watch embarks on a spell-binding expedition into the dark heart of Conrad’s world—and through it to our own.
 

About Maya Jasanoff

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Maya Jasanoff was educated at Harvard, Cambridge, and Yale and is currently assistant professor of British history at the University of Virginia. This is her first book. "From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published November 7, 2017 by Penguin Press. 393 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Dawn Watch
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by William Dalrymple on Jan 01 2018

The opening section, dealing with Conrad’s Polish childhood, tilts us straight into the world of 19th-century revolutionaries that Conrad depicted so memorably in Under Western Eyes, and gives Jasanoff some of her best material.

Read Full Review of The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad... | See more reviews from Guardian

The Economist

Above average
on Nov 02 2017

This biography may not fully reveal the mystery behind the man, but it is a powerful encouragement to read his books.

Read Full Review of The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad... | See more reviews from The Economist

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