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What were the historical circumstances behind Joseph Conrad's history of the fin-de-siècle as a turning point in international history?  In his novels Heart of Darkness (1899), Lord Jim (1900), Nostromo (1904), and The Secret Agent (1907)--each set on a different continent, each engaging with a different imperial power, each anchored in real-world incidents and in his own personal experience--Conrad anticipated some of the defining themes of the twentieth century.

Maya Jasanoff is Professor of History at Harvard.  She is the author of Edge of Empire, a cultural history of British expansion in India and Egypt, which won the 2006 Duff Cooper Prize.  Her recent book, Liberty's Exiles, provides the first global history of the loyalist refugees who fled the United States after the American Revolution.

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