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The Idea of the Conference
(Instead of Etymology)

Both Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad Korzeniowski assumed that the existential human condition necessitates a "universal squeeze of the hand. Beautifully conceptualized by Melville, it is this idea of friendship as the sine-qua-non of existence that provided the obvious connection between the Organizers of the Conference and the Organizing Office of the Tall Ships' Races Szczecin 2007. All sailors know that at sea, all men and women are part of a commonwealth. At sea, friendship beyond prejudice is a sine qua non of survival: the liquid reality of the human condition, tangible to those sailing the oceans, unconditionally affects everyone.

In June of 2005 the Organizers of both events met in Szczecin and decided to cooperate.The Conference, concentrating on the oeuvre of the two greatest marinists in literary history, will  provide an intellectual backdrop for the joyful meeting of international sailors and fans of maritime culture.  The result: a gam of rare scale and a memorable cultural event. The complementary character of the theory and practice of friendship is unquestionable. Let us all celebrate the event - and by celebrating, let us contribute to its multilayered, complex, and deeply humane message.

Organizing the Conference in the year 2007- the Conrad Year - we strive to create an opportunity for Melville and Conrad scholarship to go beyond the boundaries of national literature and to enter a serious humanist debate on the cultural heritage of both excellent writers, whose contribution to the world culture has rarely been considered jointly. Such a unique meeting of international literary scholars focusing on common themes will help to promote individual and institutional cooperation among Conradian and Melvillean scholars world-wide.

The publication of conference proceedings - a tangible results of such a gam - will certainly be one of many of its desired outcomes. The exchange of e-mail addresses and telephone numbers, which will inevitably ensue, will result in individual growth and, at a more general level, in the international promotion of Conradian and Melvillean Studies. We hope that the organization of the event in Poland will exert an energizing effect upon Polish, German, and Scandinavian Melville and Conrad scholarship, but also decenter the traditionally "national" discourses. To non-Americans, Melville often seems to be monopolized by American scholarship; Conrad, traditionally, is claimed by the British and the Poles. Our hope is that all Conference Participants will come away with a greater understanding of connectedness of Melville and Conrad and of the interconnectivity of all peoples.

Paweł and Milton

See Slideshow-- Conference Program -- The Tall Ships' Races 2007 -- Supporting events