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By: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness

First published in Blackwood’s magazine as a three part serial in 1899 and published in 1902, Heart of Darkness centers on the experiences of protagonist Charles Marlow as he is assigned the duty to transport ivory down the Congo River. Conrad cleverly uses foreshadowing as a technique to convey the novella’s themes of hypocritical imperialism, the contradictory views on civilized as opposed to barbaric societies, racism, and the conflict between reality and darkness. Set in the second half of the nineteenth century, the story begins with the introduction of protagonist Charles Marlow, who is on board a boat harbored in the River Thames...

Typhoon by Joseph Conrad Typhoon

First published in 1902 as a serial in Pall Mall Magazine, the adventure novel follows the disrupting events onboard a steamboat after it takes a perilous course at sea, which triggers a state of mayhem onboard the steamer. Furthermore, the incident prompts the crew to gradually reveal their true nature which is brought to light in the time of crisis. Interestingly, the tale is believed to possess some autobiographical elements taken from Conrad’s own experiences at sea, which provide the novel with a strong foundation, as he effectively uses personification, imagery, and descriptive language to accurately illustrate the danger and chaos instigated by a powerful storm at sea...

The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad The Mirror of the Sea

The Mirror of the Sea is a collection of autobiographical essays first published in various magazines 1904-6. Conrad early in his life earned his bread as a Master Mariner in sailing ships. In his Author’s Note to this work, Conrad states,”Beyond the line of the sea horizon the world for me did not exist….Within these pages I make a full confession not of my sins but of my emotions. It is the best tribute my piety can offer to the ultimate shapers of my character, convictions, and, in a sense, destiny—to the imperishable sea, to the ships that are no more, and to the simple men who have had their day.”

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad Nostromo

Señor Gould is a native Costaguanan of English descent who owns the silver-mining concession in Sulaco. He is tired of the political instability in Costaguana and its concomitant corruption, and puts his weight behind the Ribierist project, which he believes will finally bring stability to the country after years of misrule and tyranny by self-serving dictators. Instead, the silver mine and the wealth it has generated become a magnet for local warlords to fight over, plunging Costaguana into a new round of chaos...

The Nigger of the Narcissus by Joseph Conrad The Nigger of the Narcissus

This is the story of a voyage of a merchant sailing ship from Bombay to England, set in the very late 19th century. “It was a bad winter off the Cape that year.” From Wikepedia: “The novel is seen as an allegory about isolation and solidarity, the ship’s company serving as a microcosm of a social group.” As to the title, one can only ask, “What WERE you thinking?” (Introduction by Tom Crawford) Note from the reader: The preface (all but the first three minutes of Section 0) have nothing to do with the sea, the Narcissus, or seamen. Most listeners will want to begin with Chapter 1, and listen to the preface last, if at all.

The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad The Secret Sharer

A young untested ship captain finds a man named Leggatt clinging to the side of his ship. The Captain makes the unusual decision to hide Leggatt in his quarters. What is he thinking? Conrad will tell us. - The Secret Sharer was first published in the August and September 1910 issues of Harper’s Magazine

Chance by Joseph Conrad Chance

Apparently a two part story about a Damsel and a Knight, perhaps a damsel who depends upon the kindness of strangers. It was originally entitled "Dynamite" and first published by installments in the New York Herald. The book itself was the biggest commercial success for Conrad up until that time, 1913. It allowed Conrad for the first time to settle his financial affairs. The author's disdain for people who live on the land is apparent. A new understanding of the word "enthusiastic" is promulgated. And it is a love story. Let us see how the tale goes.

An Outcast Of The Islands by Joseph Conrad An Outcast Of The Islands

An Outcast of the Islands is the second novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1896, inspired by Conrad's experience as mate of a steamer, the Vigar. The novel details the undoing of Peter Willems, a disreputable, immoral man who, on the run from a scandal in Makassar, finds refuge in a hidden native village, only to betray his benefactors over lust for the tribal chief's daughter. The story features Conrad's recurring character Tom Lingard, who also appears in Almayer's Folly (1895) and The Rescue (1920), in addition to sharing other characters with those novels...

Book cover Shadow-Line

Dedicated to the author's son who was wounded in World War 1, The Shadow-Line is a short novel based at sea by Joseph Conrad; it is one of his later works, being written from February to December 1915. It was first published in 1916 as a serial and in book form in 1917. The novella depicts the development of a young man upon taking a captaincy in the Orient, with the shadow line of the title representing the threshold of this development. The novella is notable for its dual narrative structure. The full, subtitled title of the novel is The Shadow-Line, A Confession, which immediately alerts the reader to the retrospective nature of the novella...

Book cover The Arrow of Gold A Story Between Two Notes
Book cover The Rescue A Romance of the Shallows
Book cover Falk A Reminiscence

By: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau Confessions

Considered to mark the emergence of a new literary form, the unvarnished autobiography, Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau was first published in 1782, four years after his death. The philosopher and educationist whose political philosophy is credited with having inspired the French Revolution, Rousseau was a man of immense wit, talent and depth of thinking. His skill in art, music, literature and cooking along with his magnificent body of work in philosophy, politics, education and sociology have made him a legendary figure...

Book cover The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau

By: Wilkie Collins (1824-1889)

The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins The Frozen Deep

The Frozen Deep is a story of a love triangle between Clara, Frank and Richard, spiced up with dangerous expeditions, mysterious visions and life-threatening circumstances. The end is as surprising and unexpected as we are (or are not) accustomed to in Collins' books.

By: James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)

Book cover The Two Admirals

By: Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950)

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini Captain Blood

An adventure novel with an unexpected hero, Captain Blood follows the unintended journey of chivalrous and well-educated gentleman Peter Blood, who without much choice was plunged into the world of piracy forcing him to leave his tranquil lifestyle behind. Sabatini first introduced his protagonist in a series of eight short stories published in magazine installments, until later weaving them together in 1922 as a novel. Set in the late 17th century, the novel begins with the image of Peter Blood, a physician, casually attending his geraniums and smoking a pipe...

The Sea Hawk by Rafael Sabatini The Sea Hawk

First published in 1915, The Sea Hawk follows the adventures of its protagonist Sir Oliver Tressilian, as he is unjustly betrayed and left to the mercy of others by his selfish brother, who seeks only to save his own skin no matter the cost. Exploring various themes including betrayal, vengeance, sacrifice, injustice, and tormented love, the novel successfully demonstrate Sabatini’s exceptional flair for adventure. Set in the late 16th century, the tale begins with the introduction of Sir Oliver Tressilian, a wealthy gentleman who lives together with his brother Lionel, haunted by his family’s bad-tempered reputation...

By: Howard Pyle (1853-1911)

Book cover Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

Swashbuckling tales of legendary pirates, buccaneers, and marooners, terrors of the Spanish Main.

By: Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894)

Fighting the Whales by Robert Michael Ballantyne Fighting the Whales

A fatherless boy joins the crew of a whaling ship in order to earn a living for himself and his mother. Beyond being a fascinating depiction of a now-alien time, occupation, and culture, it’s also a rousing adventure story. One is left with the impression that hunting and catching a whale in a sailing ship was akin to you or me being stalked, ambushed, and killed by a shoebox full of mice.

Fast in the Ice by Robert Michael Ballantyne Fast in the Ice

At the age of 16 Ballantyne went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company. His rule in writing, being in every case, was to write as far as possible from personal knowledge of the scenes he described. In this book he details the lives of the crew as they must overwinter in the frozen north including their meetings with Eskimos and bears and their struggles with disease. This is a realistic account of what life was like for the explorers of the Arctic.

The Madman And The Pirate by Robert Michael Ballantyne The Madman And The Pirate

R. M. Ballantyne (April 24, 1825 – February 8, 1894) was a Scottish juvenile fiction writer. Born Robert Michael Ballantyne in Edinburgh, he was part of a famous family of printers and publishers. At the age of 16 he went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company. He returned to Scotland in 1847, and published his first book the following year, Hudson’s Bay: or, Life in the Wilds of North America. For some time he was employed by Messrs Constable, the publishers, but in 1856 he gave up business for the profession of literature, and began the series of adventure stories for the young with which his name is popularly associated.

By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

An exciting, compelling, and eerie ballad, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner focuses on the uncanny experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage that has left him with a heavy burden to bear. Furthermore, the poem explores numerous themes including retribution, suffering, salvation, torment, nature, spirituality, and supernaturalism. The poem opens with the appearance of its mysterious protagonist, a skinny old man with a curious glittering eye, as he stops a young man who is on his way to attend a wedding...

By: Sir John Barrow (1764-1848)

Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty by Sir John Barrow Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty

On December 31 1787, the HMS Bounty, a small sailing vessel embarked from Spithead Harbor, England bound for Tahiti. Her mission was sponsored by the Royal Society in London and aimed at picking up breadfruit plants and fruit from Tahiti and conveying them to the West Indies, where it was hoped they would take root and become a commercial crop. The Bounty was an old ship with a young captain and 46 young officers. The captain's cabin was converted into a potting shed for the expected breadfruit cargo...

By: Joshua Slocum (1844-1909)

Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum Sailing Alone Around the World

A sailing memoir written by seaman and adventurer Joshua Slocum, who was the first person to sail around the world alone, documents his epic solo circumnavigation. An international best-seller, the book became a great influence and inspiration to travelers from each corner of the globe. Additionally, Slocum is an example that through determination, courage and hard work any dream can easily become a reality. Written in a modern and conversational tone, the autobiographical account begins with Slocum’s description of his hometown of Nova Scotia and its maritime history...

By: Ernest Shackleton

South! The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917 by Ernest Shackleton South! The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917

The expedition was given the grand title of The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Due to be launched in 1914, two ships were to be employed. The first, the lead vessel, fittingly named the Endurance was to transport the team to the Weddell Sea from where the great explorer Ernest Shackleton and five others would cross the icy wastes of Antarctica on foot. The second ship, the Aurora was to approach the continent from the other side and put down supplies at various points to help the explorers...

By: Logan Marshall

The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters by Logan Marshall The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters

Logan Marshall's book "The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters" gives readers a first-hand account of the greatest sea disaster of all time straight from the survivors of the ill-fated sunken ship. Unlike many of the books about the Titanic that was written recently, Logan Marshall was fortunate that he was able to interview the survivors of the Titanic and access to all the important documents about the ship, including the diagrams, maps and actual photographs related to the disaster...

By: Frank Richard Stockton (1834-1902)

Book cover A Jolly Fellowship

By: Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)

A Prisoner of Morro by Upton Sinclair A Prisoner of Morro

Upton Sinclair, born in 1878 was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author. He wrote over 90 books in many genres. Best known for his muckraking novel, The Jungle, Sinclair also wrote adventure fiction. Many of these works were written under the pseudonym, Ensign Clark Fitch, U.S.N. A Prisoner of Morrow, published in 1898 when Sinclair was but 20 years old, is one of these efforts. The period for this work is the ten-week Spanish–American War which occurred in 1898. Revolts against Spanish rule had been prevalent for decades in Cuba and were closely watched by Americans...

By: Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)

Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett Country of the Pointed Firs

The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) is considered Jewett’s finest work, described by Henry James as her “beautiful little quantum of achievement.” Despite James’s diminutives, the novel remains a classic. Because it is loosely structured, many critics view the book not as a novel, but a series of sketches; however, its structure is unified through both setting and theme. Jewett herself felt that her strengths as a writer lay not in plot development or dramatic tension, but in character development...

Deephaven by Sarah Orne Jewett Deephaven

Sarah Orne Jewett is best known for her clean and clear descriptive powers that at once elevate common-place daily events to something remarkable, and lend dignity and grace to the most humble and homely human character. In Deephaven, go with her on vacation to an unforgettable seaside village where time runs slower and small pleasures are intensified. Much space is given to outdoor rambles and sights and events of daily living that draw you into another era. Jewett’s loving and gentle descriptions of the people and life of Deephaven will make you sorry when the book is over, and long to be able to find that village for yourself.

By: Susan Coolidge (1835-1905)

Book cover Verses

Susan Coolidge was the pen name of Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, who is best known for her What Katy Did series. This is the first of three volumes of her verse.


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