Transnationalism has often been regarded as a product of today’s increasingly globalized world, the consequence of closer interactions brought about by the breaking of geographical, economic and cultural barriers which have resulted in ‘a fluidity of constructed styles, social institutions and everyday practices’ (Vertovec 1999: 6). It is, therefore, a relatively recent concept, originating with the development of advancing means of transport and communication. However, in its literary declination and in its intellectual and narrative forms, as the expression of global relations articulating the interaction of cultures and ideas through scholarly thought and fictional representations, transnationalism is a much earlier concept. Joseph Conrad described the world as ‘in a state of transition’ (Conrad 1926: 130), a perception that was not confined to geographical movement, but instead encompassed the philosophical, psychological and political changes that populate his fiction. In his essay ‘Travel’, first published in December 1922 as a Preface to Richard Curle’s Into the East: Notes on Burma and Malaya, Conrad affirmed that traveling had changed since, he said, ‘this earth [is] girt about with cables, with an atmosphere made restless by the waves of ether, lighted by that sun of the twentieth century under which there is nothing new left now, and but very little of what may still be called obscure’ (Conrad 1926: 128).2 There was no place in the world that had not been explored or was not known. Modern traveling had lost the charm and the spirit of adventure; it could not light up imagination anymore. And yet, in Conrad’s opinion, the traveller – and the writer – should continue to be ‘sensitive, meditative, with delicate perceptions and a gift for expression’ (Conrad 1926: 134).

“Introduction” to Migration, Modernity and Transnationalism in the Work of Joseph Conrad

Tania Zulli
2021

Abstract

Transnationalism has often been regarded as a product of today’s increasingly globalized world, the consequence of closer interactions brought about by the breaking of geographical, economic and cultural barriers which have resulted in ‘a fluidity of constructed styles, social institutions and everyday practices’ (Vertovec 1999: 6). It is, therefore, a relatively recent concept, originating with the development of advancing means of transport and communication. However, in its literary declination and in its intellectual and narrative forms, as the expression of global relations articulating the interaction of cultures and ideas through scholarly thought and fictional representations, transnationalism is a much earlier concept. Joseph Conrad described the world as ‘in a state of transition’ (Conrad 1926: 130), a perception that was not confined to geographical movement, but instead encompassed the philosophical, psychological and political changes that populate his fiction. In his essay ‘Travel’, first published in December 1922 as a Preface to Richard Curle’s Into the East: Notes on Burma and Malaya, Conrad affirmed that traveling had changed since, he said, ‘this earth [is] girt about with cables, with an atmosphere made restless by the waves of ether, lighted by that sun of the twentieth century under which there is nothing new left now, and but very little of what may still be called obscure’ (Conrad 1926: 128).2 There was no place in the world that had not been explored or was not known. Modern traveling had lost the charm and the spirit of adventure; it could not light up imagination anymore. And yet, in Conrad’s opinion, the traveller – and the writer – should continue to be ‘sensitive, meditative, with delicate perceptions and a gift for expression’ (Conrad 1926: 134).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/742009
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