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Works of Joseph Conrad   By: (1857-1924)

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WORKS OF JOSEPH CONRAD

CONTENTS Nigger of the "Narcissus

Romance

Tales of Hearsay

The Point of Honor

One Day More

Heart of Darkness

Gaspar Ruiz

The Secret Sharer

The Shadow Line

Falk

To morrow

Amy Foster

Youth

End of the Tether

An Outcast of the Islands

A Personal Record

Typhoon

Tales of Unrest

Some Reminiscences

The Rescue

Nostromo

A Set of Six

Under Western Eyes

Lord Jim

Victory

The Inheritors

Chance

Notes on Life and Letters

The Arrow of Gold

'Twixt Land & Sea

Within the Tides

The Secret Agent

Almayer's Folly

THE NIGGER of THE NARCISSUS

A TALE OF THE FORECASTLE

BY JOSEPH CONRAD

COPYRIGHT, 1897, 1914, BY DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

TO EDWARD GARNETT THIS TALE ABOUT MY FRIENDS OF THE SEA

TO MY READERS IN AMERICA

From that evening when James Wait joined the ship—late for the muster of the crew—to the moment when he left us in the open sea, shrouded in sailcloth, through the open port, I had much to do with him. He was in my watch. A negro in a British forecastle is a lonely being. He has no chums. Yet James Wait, afraid of death and making her his accomplice was an impostor of some character—mastering our compassion, scornful of our sentimentalism, triumphing over our suspicions.

But in the book he is nothing; he is merely the centre of the ship's collective psychology and the pivot of the action. Yet he, who in the family circle and amongst my friends is familiarly referred to as the Nigger, remains very precious to me. For the book written round him is not the sort of thing that can be attempted more than once in a life time. It is the book by which, not as a novelist perhaps, but as an artist striving for the utmost sincerity of expression, I am willing to stand or fall. Its pages are the tribute of my unalterable and profound affection for the ships, the seamen, the winds and the great sea—the moulders of my youth, the companions of the best years of my life.

After writing the last words of that book, in the revulsion of feeling before the accomplished task, I understood that I had done with the sea, and that henceforth I had to be a writer. And almost without laying down the pen I wrote a preface, trying to express the spirit in which I was entering on the task of my new life. That preface on advice (which I now think was wrong) was never published with the book. But the late W. E. Henley, who had the courage at that time (1897) to serialize my "Nigger" in the New Review judged it worthy to be printed as an afterword at the end of the last instalment of the tale.

I am glad that this book which means so much to me is coming out again, under its proper title of "The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'" and under the auspices of my good, friends and publishers Messrs. Doubleday, Page & Co. into the light of publicity.

Half the span of a generation has passed since W. E. Henley, after reading two chapters, sent me a verbal message: "Tell Conrad that if the rest is up to the sample it shall certainly come out in the New Review." The most gratifying recollection of my writer's life!

And here is the Suppressed Preface. 1914. JOSEPH CONRAD.

Contents

PREFACE

THE NIGGER OF THE "NARCISSUS"

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

PREFACE

A work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. And art itself may be defined as a single minded attempt to render the highest kind of justice to the visible universe, by bringing to light the truth, manifold and one, underlying its every aspect. It is an attempt to find in its forms, in its colours, in its light, in its shadows, in the aspects of matter and in the facts of life what of each is fundamental, what is enduring and essential—their one illuminating and convincing quality—the very truth of their existence... Continue reading book >>




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