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Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad

By Joseph Conrad

Hailed as considered one of Joseph Conrad's most interesting literary achievements, this can be the tale of a tender guy unwittingly stuck within the political turmoil of pre-Revolutionary czarist Russia.

A gripping novel that eventually questions our capability for ethical energy and the depths of human integrity. This new version contains remark and a analyzing crew advisor.

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Extra resources for Under Western Eyes

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In the culture of the nineteenth-century intelligentsia, Ilia E. Repin’s Barge Haulers on the Volga (1870–73) (figure 3), for example, was democratic, progressive, and Russian, while works such as the Execution by the French of Russian Patriots in Moscow in 1812 were aristocratic, autocratic, and European. Ragged, dirty, and beaten down, Repin’s barge haulers find degradation and oppression in a reality that resembles a desert wasteland. They strain against the weight of a traditional barge while a modern steamship and its labor-saving potential plies the river far off in the distance.

They needed to define the role of art and artists in a place where the aristocratic institutions and neoclassical aesthetics of the early nineteenth century, the public structures, moral values, and political ideologies of the nineteenth-century intelligentsia, and the new commercialized mass culture all coexisted by the early twentieth century. What should art represent in an age of political strife, social turmoil, and cultural transformation? Who was an artist, and which 18 | The Wars against Tradition public should the artist serve?

Boundaries between art groups were not etched in stone, for smaller groups formed and dissolved, and artists often belonged to several groups at once, attracted by ties of kin, professional obligation, or friendship. The milieu was a less well-defined subculture made up of groups and individuals who shared similar aesthetic values. 9 Imperial Russia’s art groups served to mediate between individual artists and the public. In an evolving art culture, they provided the institutional structure, common culture, and professional community to identify and ensure access to an art-appreciating audience that was often fragile, undeveloped, or changing rapidly in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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