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In Joseph Conrad’s famous novel of exploration and daring, a young man yearns for heroism but is haunted by his cowardly past. Our protagonist, Jim, has spent a life at sea and has quickly risen through the ranks to become chief mate. While serving onboard the vessel Patna, Jim gets the chance to prove his mettle when the ship begins to sink. In the chaos, Jim and the rest of the crew abandon the vessel, afraid for their lives. The Patna, however, does not go down—and as a result Jim is forced to endure an official inquiry. As punishment for abandoning his post, Jim loses his certification. During this desperate, melancholy time, Jim meets Marlow, a stranger who slowly befriends him. Marlow gradually learns of Jim’s painful past and offers to help him by appointing him to a post in the remote, exotic land of Patusan. Though he hopes for a fresh start, Jim realizes that the past continues to pursue him even in Patusan. Conrad’s masterful novel illuminates the ways in which our past remains with us, and how the consequences of our decisions resonate forever.
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Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born to a poor family in Poland. His father was a passionate playwright, and instilled in his son a fervent love of reading. Sadly, Conrad lost both parents by the age of eleven, and was sent to live with an uncle. Seeking a life of adventure, Conrad became a merchant seaman and traveled the world for many years. His experiences abroad, in foreign lands and among many cultures, would serve as inspiration for some of his most famous writings. After extensive service on British ships, Conrad was awarded English citizenship in 1886. He chose, however, to return to the sea, traveling to Africa to fulfill a childhood dream. In the 1890s, Conrad finally settled down in England and began to write, drawing on his many impressions of life and people around the world. He would publish several novels, among them Lord Jim, Nostromo, and Heart of Darkness. Conrad's writings are more than simple tales of adventure, often making use of extreme and unusual settings to explore the heights and depths of human nature. Controversial and provocative, Conrad is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the modern novel.Back to top
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When this novel first appeared in book form a notion got about that I had been bolted away with. Some reviewers maintained that the work starting as a short story had got beyond the writer's control. One or two discovered internal evidence of the fact, which seemed to amuse them. They pointed out ...Back to top
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