Joseph Conrad’s long experience as a working seaman enriched and deepened his literary gifts, making him the most brilliant and convincing writer of seafaring’s greatest age. In the three sea stories collected here, he makes deft use of the maritime setting to enact moral dramas of men tested by the elements and by one another.
“The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’” has been hailed as Conrad’s earliest masterpiece. When a West Indian sailor on board the merchant ship Narcissus falls ill his condition sparks conflict among the crew, which threatens to erupt in mutiny under the pressure of a terrifying gale. “Typhoon,” the gripping story of a steamship captain who stubbornly steers into a major tempest and the crew’s ensuing struggle to survive the raging waters, is distinguished by one of the most thrillingly evoked storms in all of literature. “The Shadow-Line” is a dramatically fictionalized account of Conrad’s first command as a young sea captain trapped aboard a becalmed, fever-wracked, and seemingly haunted ship—an ordeal that marks for him the “shadow-line” between youth and maturity. Suspenseful, atmospheric, and deceptively simple, this intense story reflects the complex themes of Conrad’s most famous novels, Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness.
Joseph Conrad was born in Berdichev, Ukraine, in 1857. After both of his parents died of tuberculosis, Conrad went to live with his uncle in Switzerland. After attending school in Kraków, he joined the French and then the British merchant marines,… More about Joseph Conrad