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Youth: A Narrative


Youth: A Narrative


Many chronicles have been written about life at sea, but few, if any, can compare with Joseph Conrad's masterpiece, Youth: A Narrative. It can be found on countless lists of the finest literary works of all time, and is one of his major achievements.

Conrad was one of the most psychologically subtle of English novelists, and his century-old portrait of Marlowe, second mate aboard the Judea is unforgettable. Marlowe is a strange mixture of meticulousness and stupidity, shyness and guts, small-mindedness and fair play.

One hundred and ninety miles out from Java Head, the gases in the hull explode and blow up; Marlow is hurled into the air and falls on the burning debris of the deck.

After extraordinary repairs, the ship is finally sea-worthy: but the rats abandon the Judea and a new crew is brought in from Liverpool (because no sailor will sail on a ship abandoned by rats).

That delicate psychology is probably the thing for which Conrad is best known: he has endured because of the beauty of his writing and the insight he gives into the human condition.

This is one of Joseph Conrad’s finest stories, and remains as transcendent as ever in this beautifully realized 21st century digital edition; as relevant today as when it was first published more than a century ago.

JOSEPH CONRAD (1857-1924) was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly tragic sensibility to his modernist literature. He is known to have influenced D.H. Lawrence, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway T.S. Eliot and Philip Roth. Among his most notable works are Heart Of Darkness, Lord Jim, The Secret Agent, Under Western Skies, and Typhoon.

“But read Conrad…he must be lost indeed to the meaning of words who does not hear in that rather stiff and somber music, with its reserve, its pride, its vast and implacable integrity, how it is better to be good than bad, how loyalty is good and honesty and courage, though ostensibly Conrad is concerned merely to show us the beauty of a night at sea…”

-Virginia Woolf

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