Lord Jim

Lord Jim

Lord Jim

Lord Jim

Excerpt

What a wonderful book this is! I shall never forget my youthful excitement at first reading it. It dazzled me by its color. Rereading it now, that excitement is reborn. The characters are as real to me as ever, and the magnificence of the setting just as bright. This is one of those exceptionally rare books -- and this is the surest mark of a classic -- that is even better when gone through again, after a period of years. So, I can only say to the fortunate reader, this is definitely a book to own.

People are buying and reading Conrad. Dozens of ambitious critical studies and biographies of him are coming forth from pens and presses. His acceptance in the academic world is extraordinary; he is now lectured on in universities everywhere. His novels are being issued in new editions in astonishing numbers, and his stories have even begun to reach the technicolor screen, which takes him to an even broader if less discerning audience.

Only a short time ago, it was very different. Luckless Conrad was always trying to find a ship to go back to sea, to pay off his debts and support his family. His health was bad; he suffered recurrent seizures of malaria first picked up in Equatorial Africa. His literary merits had been quickly recognized by fellow-writers, who became his personal friends: Galsworthy, Henry James, Stephen Crane, H. G. Wells; but his books did not sell. The struggling Conrad was baffled and frustrated by this. Ironically, he enjoyed popular success only at the end of his life; it came with mistaken praise for perhaps his most inferior work, when he was in his sixties and his physical and creative powers were declining. His death (in 1924) was the signal for the customary spate of obituary tributes, after which even his reputation amongst "people of taste" fell to new depths. It has been shrewdly said that during his lifetime, a writer is judged by his last book -- and Conrad's last was not too good -- whereas after his passing he is truly . . .

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