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May 15 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The next seminar in PUNO’s Polish History Seminar series will take place on Wednesday, 15 May at 6.30pm. Please find details below.

On Saturday 18 May, PUNO’s Unit of European History hosts an online conference titled ‘The Politics of History and Memory in Poland in the 20 and 21st Century – Between Continuity and Change’. For details and to register, visithttps://www.tickettailor.com/events/polishuniversityabroadpuno/1221922

Best wishes,


15 May 2024 Professor Robert Hampson (Institute of English Studies, University of London)

Conrad and the Polish problem


The talk will start with ‘The Shadow of 1863’: it will begin with Conrad’s parents, Apollo and Ewa Korzeniowski – their political activities in relation to Polish independence; the hopes they placed on their son, Konrad; and Apollo’s role in relation to the Central National Committee. It will consider Conrad’s sense of himself as a child growing up in the shadow of 1863 and also why he left Poland. The next section, ‘Emigration of the Talent’, will begin with Orzeszkowa’s 1899 criticism of Conrad and the charge of desertion. It will discuss Conrad’s work of reminiscence, A Personal Record, which he began in 1908, as a response to Orzeszkowa and to a more recent criticism (by Robert Lynd) that he was a man ‘without either country or language’. A Personal Record asserts the continuity of Conrad’s life as a sailor and as a writer, while also bringing Polish life and history into English literature. It displays Conrad’s commitment to Poland, but also his pessimistic sense of the prospects of Polish independence. The third section, ‘Autocracy and War’, will begin with Conrad’s response to the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) in the form of his 1904 essay ‘Autocracy and War’. It will consider how he subsequently takes on the role of a public intellectual in relation to ‘the Polish problem’ with ‘A Note on the Polish Problem’ (1916) and ‘The Crime of Partition’ (1918). The role of Józef Retinger will be considered here. The final section, ‘Poland Revisited’ will focus on Conrad’s 1914 visit to Poland and the essay he wrote of that title. It will consider his engagement with his father’s legacy and his own sense of complex, multiple loyalties.

Robert Hampson FEA, FRSA is a Research Fellow at the Institute for English Studies and Professor Emeritus at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of three monographs: Joseph Conrad: Betrayal and Identity; Cross-Cultural Encounters in Conrad’s Malay Fiction; and Conrad’s Secrets, which won the Adam Gillon Award from the Joseph Conrad Society of America. He co-edited Conrad and Theory with Andrew Gibson, Conrad and Language with Katherine Isabel Baxter, and The Reception of Joseph Conrad in Europe with Véronique Pauly, and has recently published a critical biography, Joseph Conrad, with Reaktion Books. His latest book, Joseph Conrad, From Cosmopolitanism to Transnational Activism was published this year (2024) by Palgrave Macmillan. He is Chair of the Joseph Conrad Society (UK) and recipient of the Ian P. Watt Award for Excellence from the Joseph Conrad Society of America.

To register for this and other PUNO events, please visit:https://www.tickettailor.com/events/polishuniversityabroadpuno


May 15
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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