A Grim and Weird Play: Basil Macdonald Hastings’s Victory

  • Richard J. Hand


In the “Introduction” to the most recent scholarly edition of Joseph Conrad’s Victory: An Island Tale, Peter Lancelot Mallios outlines the significance of the 1915 novel:

Victoty quickly became the most popular, the most profitable, and, in its own way, the most controversial of all Conrad’s novels. Though not the first Conrad text to be commercially successful with the public, it was the book that first genuinely cleared space for Conrad in the wider public imagination. It is the book that first allowed Conrad to become popularly produced as a “master” literary figure, the book that first enabled Conrad to become “one of us” in a way that transcends elitist boundaries frequently associated with “art”. (Conrad, 2003, xiii)

For Mallios, the issue of popularity in the full sense of the word — being “of the people” — is an all-important aspect of the novel which, he persuasively argues, is defined by Conrad’s “poetics of democracy” (Conrad, 2003, xix), a concept that Mallios explores in depth elsewhere (Mallios, 2003).


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© Richard J. Hand 2005

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