This article is an analysis of the way in which the image of Russia is constructed in Joseph Conrad's fiction. Examined in the context of some of the key statements representing the ideological and literary standpoint of Polish Romanticism, Conrad's view of Russia is usually characterized as second-hand and stereotyped. The author of this article finds this judgment too severe and argues for a more nuanced approach to the problem. First of all, it is necessary to distinguish between Conrad's handling of Russian themes in his fiction and in his political journalism. Whereas the latter - especially the article 'Autocracy and War' - appears to mirror the anti-Russian clichés and topoi that functioned in the 19th-century Polish mentality, his novels contain anything but a simplistic view of Russia. The best proof of the profound complexity of Conrad's image of Russia can be found in 'Under Western Eyes'. Consequently, an analysis of the multidimensional structure of that novel constitutes the bulk of this article.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.