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The Dawn Watch by Maya Jasanoff

The Dawn Watch

The Dawn Watch by Maya Jasanoff
Hardcover
Nov 07, 2017 | 400 Pages
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    Nov 07, 2017 | 400 Pages

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    Nov 07, 2017 | 400 Pages

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Praise

“Enlightening, compassionate, superb” —John Le Carré

“Excellent—an engrossing, heartfelt exploration of the ragged frontier between public history, private experience, and imagination, from which the greatest literature is drawn. As Jasanoff charts the genesis of Conrad’s most enduring novels of moral and political corruption, she makes us see his century-old dark vision of modernity as a sort of prophecy of our times.” —Philip Gourevitch

“[A] brilliant study . . . The Dawn Watch will win prizes, and if it doesn’t, there is something wrong with the prizes.” —The Guardian

“[Jasanoff] Skillfully integrates details of Conrad’s life and accounts of his four greatest works, linking the challenges and forces that lie behind and within the novels to those of the 21st century…A powerful encouragement to read his books.” The Economist

 “This is an unobtrusively skillful, subtle, clear-eyed book, beautifully narrated…It is Jasanoff’s warmth towards her subject that comes through.”Financial Times

“[Conrad’s] life story has been told many times, but Maya Jasanoff’s stands out for its vivid and imaginative writing…she provides rich background details on multiple topics…her attempts to reveal the hidden springs of Conrad’s fiction are often perceptive.”Sunday Times (UK)

“A great biography of Conrad for our times could never be just a biography of Conrad. The Dawn Watch is a scholarly trip to the birthplace of the books themselves, and an extraordinary meditation on Conrad’s place in our consciousness. Jasanoff is erudite, passionate and wise: she has it all.” —Juan Gabriel Vásquez

 
“So well written…This is a biographer who has done her homework and her legwork for a book that creates a Conrad for our time. Enjoy it—how rarely can one say that about a work of scholarship.”The Times (UK)

Deftly melding biographical narration, historical analysis, and literary explication, Jasanoff lets readers glimpse in Conrad’s fiction the fate of vulnerable individuals who ventured too far in a world rapidly losing its boundaries. And as one who—despite the cost and the danger—has retraced many of Conrad’s journeys, Jasanoff compellingly asserts the novelist’s continuing relevance as an interpreter of our (post)modern geopolitical and cultural perplexities.” —Booklist (starred review)

“An absorbing biography melds history and literary analysis… In rich detail, Jasanoff skillfully contextualizes his work within ‘a chain of historical events’ that led to profound social and political change…An insightful perspective on Conrad’s life and turbulent times.”—Kirkus

The Dawn Watch takes the reader seamlessly through Joseph Conrad’s extraordinary life and voyages, showing us that our globalized world was fundamentally shaped in his lifetime a century ago—and that his pen still illuminates its beating heart. This is a wonder of a book that merges vivid travel, scholarly biography, and sharply observed history. Everyone searching for an understanding of our world today and the voice of one of the twentieth century’s most evocative writers should set sail with Maya Jasanoff.” —Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)

“A book as beautiful as it is learned. Teeming with new discoveries, Jasanoff’s Dawn Watch is an astonishing tour of Conrad’s world, from Kraków to Kinshasha, from London to Singapore. To read it is to be a stowaway in the hull of a ship sailing from Conrad’s times to our own, as swift as the wind.” —Jill Lepore

“In Dawn Watch, Maya Jasanoff has fashioned a singular craft for exploring the rapids and crosscurrents of a newly globalized era. The journey is intellectually exhilarating, and brings us to a richer understanding not only of Conrad’s world but our own.” —Kwame Anthony Appiah
 
“Maya Jasanoff’s masterpiece….one of the most important books on colonialism to be written in our time, and by one of our most brilliant young historians.” —William Dalrymple, The Gurdian

“Like Sven Lindqvist’s “Exterminate all the Brutes,” The Dawn Watch lifts Conrad out of the “great tradition” of lit-crit to attempt something larger and more ambitious: demonstrating that his world is ours – and vice-versa. Maya Jasanoff is an eloquent historian and an erudite storyteller; she almost persuaded me to re-read Nostromo.” —Geoff Dyer

“Jasanoff has done her research on sea and land as well as in the archives, and her book is often thrilling to read as it travels the world with Conrad. An admirable and profoundly meditated biography, worthy of its subject.” —Claire Tomalin

“A guided tour of the underside of empire, led by the fiction of Joseph Conrad and the erudition of Maya Jasanoff, The Dawn Watch is history, biography, and adventure story. Filled with fresh insights and information, it offers some timely lessons about the DNA of ‘globalization.’” —Louis Menand

“Enthralling – a major achievement, an unforgettable voyage, an historic circumnavigation of Conrad’s whole life. I loved the big historical and intellectual panorama, Conrad sailing through the stormy history of maritime globalization and colonization, freshly framed, wonderfully researched and often angrily argued too. The whole book is constantly pierced by the most vivid and memorable close-ups, shafts of biographical sunlight through those dark historical storm-clouds. The section on Heart of Darkness, seems to me an absolute masterpiece. Historical narrative, literary analysis and complex post-colonial argument combined in the most thrilling way.” —Richard Holmes

“Written with all the immediacy of a fast-moving novel, yet also with all the acuity and scholarship one would expect from one of the most brilliant historians of her generation, The Dawn Watch gives us superb new insights into the mind and life of one of the greatest writers in the English tongue. The issues of which Joseph Conrad wrote with such penetrating prescience a century ago – terrorism, racism, interventionism, alienation – are the ones we worry about today, indeed perhaps more so now than at any time since he laid down his pen. This is the definitive biography, but also a fine work of literature in itself.” —Professor Andrew Roberts, Lehrman Distinguished Lecturer at the New-York Historical Society

The Dawn Watch takes the reader seamlessly through Joseph Conrad’s extraordinary life and voyages, showing us that our globalized world was fundamentally shaped in his lifetime a century ago—and that his pen still illuminates its beating heart.  This is a wonder of a book that merges vivid travel, scholarly biography, and sharply observed history. Everyone searching for an understanding of our world today and the voice of one of the 20th century’s most evocative writers should set sail with Maya Jasanoff.” —Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), author of Sea Power

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