Joseph Conrad has come into his own. The three stories contained in this volume take rank with the most mature and romantic of his work. The charming love and adventure of the life which he depicts in remote places confirm the growing belief that he is among the greatest of living creative writers.read more
Polish author Joseph Conrad is considered to be one of the greatest English-language novelists, a remarkable achievement considering English was not his first language. Conrad’s literary works often featured a nautical setting, reflecting the influences of his early career in the Merchant Navy, and his depictions of the struggles of the human spirit in a cold, indifferent world are best exemplified in such seminal works as Heart of Darkness, Lord JimM, The Secret Agent, Nostromo, and Typhoon. Regarded as a forerunner of modernist literature, Conrad’s writing style and characters have influenced such distinguished writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, and George Orwell, among many others. Many of Conrad’s novels have been adapted for film, most notably Heart of Darkness, which served as the inspiration and foundation for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now.read more
Reviews for "Twixt Land and Sea Tales
I do like Joseph Conrad. He is a great storyteller. The stories in this volume are engaging and enjoyable as his other works.The central theme of most of Conrad’s works is the civilized western individual confronting a foreign, less sophisticated culture alone. He produces a very modern character analysis and highlights how a civilised man, removed from his society, regresses to his raw emotions often with tragic consequences. The common theme in the stories in this particular volume is the central character, alone in a new environment acting as a confidante and extricating himself from a delicate situation. In the first story - A Smile of Fortune - we accompany a young sea captain on his first commission and on his first visit to this port. He is ignorant of the characters in this port and the way business is conducted here. He is immediately impressed by the first businessmen who makes an extraordinary effort to be the first to meet him, but who is hated by everyone in the town. Very quickly we sense that the sea captain will be taken advantage of. When the sea captain becomes romantically interested in the businessman’s daughter, an intriguing web of motives develops. As the story unravels we learn more of the relationships that develop among westerners living in foreign environments. As the title suggests, the story ends favourably but in quite an unexpected way. In the second story - The Secret Sharer - again we are with a young sailor on his first commission, feeling very alone on a ship where the crew has been together for some time. Contrary to normal practice, the new captain takes a night watch to be alone with the ship to get it know it better. On this watch a lone swimmer boards the ship and confides that he is running away from a nearby ship where he has killed a man. Why does the captain choose to protect him, to develop devious behaviours to hide is existence, and eventually make decisions that place the safety of the ship at risk when there is no personal gain for him? The third story - Freya of the Seven Isles – is told by the narrator who is a trusted friend of the central character, the half-caste daughter, on the verge of adulthood, of a Dane living alone on a small, remote island. The father is unable to recognise his daughter’s love for the adventurous English captain who visits regularly, and is overly concerned to maintain good relations with the authorities, represented by the Dutch gunboat captain. When the Dutchman takes a romantic interest in the daughter events turn tragic. So why the title? It is as if the characters are more themselves and at peace when they are on the sea, but once confined to the land, negative emotions come to the fore. The sea seems to represent the positive qualities of man and their free expression to elevate him, while the land brings out man’s dark side. Our lives are spent finding a path between these two opposing forces, and how successful we are determines our ultimate fate.read more
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