|Ides of August Album One|
Assistant Professor of English Agata Szczeszak-Brewer was named the "Young Conrad Scholar" in 2008 by the Joseph Conrad Society, and her book Empire and Pilgrimage in Conrad and Joyce is scheduled for publication in December by the University of Florida Press.
The professor offered a closer look at both authors Friday in her talk, "The Myth of Nation: Conrad's Decoud and Joyce's Dedalus."
Stephen Dedalus is Joyce's main character and alter-ego in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Martin Decoud is Conrad's most important character in Nostromo and one whom scholars believe revealed something of Conrad's own nature. Professor Szczeszak-Brewer drew parallels between the two characters and their creators, particularly as they wrestled with the tension between their own calling to be artists and pressure from countrymen to be advocates for nationalism.
"Joyce was influenced by Conrad, though reluctant to admit it," the professor and scholar said, "and both self-imposed exile from smothering cultures. They both rejected ideology about the artist and the state, and both were criticized for not participating in nationalist movements."
Professor Szczeszak-Brewer quoted Joyce's Portrait of the Artist, in which Dedalus says, "I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile and cunning."