Echoes of Youth by Joseph Conrad in Graham Swift’s Mothering Sunday Cover Image
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Echa Młodości Josepha Conrada w Mothering Sunday Grahama Swifta
Echoes of Youth by Joseph Conrad in Graham Swift’s Mothering Sunday

Author(s): Sławomir Konkol
Subject(s): Sociology
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: Conrad; Youth; Swift; Mothering Sunday; intertext; extradiegetic heterodiegetic third-person narration; self-referentiality; postmodern romance
Summary/Abstract: The most recent novel of the contemporary British writer Graham Swift in many ways deviates from the style and themes that his audience has come to expect from him over the years. The unusual features of Mothering Sunday (2016) include an exceptionally direct and very detailed reference to Joseph Conrad’s novella, as well as to his writing in general, which takes up a large part of Swift’s unusually short book. The article explores relations between Mothering Sunday and Youth, seen as its very explicitly signalled intertext. I consider Swift’s novel as a continuation of sorts but also a counterpoint to the themes and writing methods employed by Conrad in Youth, as well as the theses the author forms using these means. Admittedly, Mothering Sunday uses neither first-person frame narrative nor does it make any reference to its author’s biography, but both texts are concerned with formative events in the lives of young protagonists, and in both these become a pretext for a reflection on the role of fiction in the functioning of memory as a sense-making device, both in literature and in life.

  • Page Range: 107-123
  • Page Count: 17
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Language: Polish