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‘Conrad Under California Skies’

January 18, 2010

The often pessimistic Joseph Conrad, author of such dark and prophetic works as Nostromo and Heart of Darkness, might have found it mildly ironic that a group of academics was studying him in the brightness of a Southern California winter. Last week, more than 40 scholars from 10 countries met at Chapman for “Conrad Under California Skies,” an international conference organized by Richard Ruppel, Ph.D., professor of English and president of the Joseph Conrad Society of America. They presented papers on Conrad’s style, philosophy, politics and — on the 100th anniversary of his breakdown — illness and psychology. About 30 papers were presented at the Jan. 7-10 event. Participants also screened two film versions of Conrad’s The Secret Sharer, also marking a 100th anniversary. Conference attendees later visited The Huntington Library in San Marino and were given a private tour of the research library. “The conference was intellectually rich and included some of the best-known Conrad scholars in the world. Several participants noted that Chapman was an exceptionally fine host,” Dr. Ruppel said. The selected proceedings will be published sometime this year.

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