Ethics and politics in Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent And Bozorg Alavi’s Her Eyes

Document Type : Research Papers


1 University of Tehran

2 University of Kharazmi


In this paper, the writers try to compare two authors, the Iranian leftist, Bozorg Alavi (1904-1997) and the Polish Joseph Conrad (1857-1924). Although these two writers have different attitudes to Socialism and the question of revolution, both share Romantic idealism and a tragic sense of personal and social life. Moreover, they both are precursors of modernist novel in their countries, and share a humanistic attitude to life, however, both are intellectual elites and their relation to their homeland is problematic. All this make possible a comparative study of these two writers. Their political proclivities tint their view of life and politics and thus they have a dissimilar view of nationalism and socialism, two political subjects they are entangled with. The very same political attitude colors their view of human agency and the ethics of human responsibility. However, each writer critiques and questions the premises of his political belief in his work, which is the most characteristic modernist attitude they share. The paper will bring similarities, differences and contradictions in Conrad and Alavi’s views to politics and individual ethics into focus and conclude that the reason for greatness and fame of these two writers is their attempt at reaching an understanding of humanity rather than reporting on the political taste of a people or time.


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