Impressions of the Market: Ford, Conrad, and Modernist Investment Fantasy View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:Chapter     


Chapter Info

DATE

2012

AUTHORS

Carey James Mickalites

ABSTRACT

Conrad began writing what would become Chance in 1906, following The Secret Agent and Mirror of the Sea, set it aside until its serial publication in The New York Herald Sunday Magazine in 1911–12, and then reprinted it (with extensive revisions) in book form in 1913.1 In letters to friends and publishers over the lengthy course of writing the novel, he expresses a near desperate financial need to get on with the book. Writing to his friends the Galsworthys on New Year’s Eve, 1906, he quickly dismisses his hopes for a French translation of Heart of Darkness as vanity, or “not serious business” for a 48-year-old man with two children to support after his death, and then writes: “I wish to goodness I could get on terms with Chance quickly. Each day is like a stroke of an inexorable clock to me.”2 Thoughts of fate lead to an investment in Chance.3 A year later, Conrad writes to his publisher, J. B. Pinker: “in regard to my own work I am quite aware that Chance is the main thing.” This is a crucially ambiguous statement suggesting both his need for a singular focus on the project and his sense that literary production for the market is in fact a chancy game. Conrad’s anxiety in the letter supports this second reading, as he pleads with Pinker for more time: “Please don’t place it too soon. I can’t afford to botch such effects as my writing is able to produce. I want time.”4 Finally, his careful delay here aligns his publishing strategy with his description of investment, which he distinguishes from a speculative gamble. He argues for this distinction in a 1913 letter to Alfred Knopf, writing, There are two methods in the publishing business. The first is speculative. A book is a venture. Hit or miss. To a certain extent it must be so. But here and there a writer may be taken up as an investment. More... »

PAGES

27-60

References to SciGraph publications

  • 1989. Joseph Conrad in NONE
  • Book

    TITLE

    Modernism and Market Fantasy

    ISBN

    978-1-349-35164-0
    978-0-230-39153-6

    Author Affiliations

    Identifiers

    URI

    http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1057/9780230391536_2

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    http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780230391536_2

    DIMENSIONS

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