The Queer Surfacing of Captain Brierly: Examining Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim through Sara Ahmed's Queer Phenomenology

  • Kara Hagedorn University of Victoria


Sara Ahmed’s “Orientations: Toward a Queer Phenomenology” (2006) asserts that queer bodies surface in the heteronormative landscape as disoriented in nature. Her theory of queer phenomenology provides a fresh in-strument for exploring Captain Brierly’s queer character in Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim (1899). Captain Brierly’s presence in the text is acute yet fleeting. The abrupt nature of his death by suicide disorients those who speak of his character. The language that describes his temperament breaks through the hetero-masculine mask of the sailors’ disposition and invites a broader queer reading to Conrad’s text.