Victory: An Island Tale

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Oxford University Press, 1986 - Fiction - 426 pages
In Victory (1915) Conrad returns to the Malay Archipelago, to the setting of his first mature novel, Lord Jim, and in Axel Heyst he creates a hero who is in many ways similar to Jim, a noble altruist destroyed by his ideals. Heyst is emotionally crippled by the influence of his dead father, a sceptical philosopher who has bequeathed to Heyst an attitude to life summed up in the father's dying words: 'Look on - make no sound.' Despite this injunction Heyst allows himself to become inextricably involved with an English Cockney girl whom he rescues from Giancomo's Travelling Ladies' Orchestra and carries off to his isolated retreat on the island of Samburan. His action incurs the fatal wrath of Schomberg, the island's innkeeper, who sends in pursuit of Heyst three demonic strangers whose invasion of his island paradise leads rapidly to the novel's violent and tragic close. Victory was the first of Conrad's novels to be completed after the commercial success of Chance (1914) had transformed Conrad's fortunes and made him internationally famous. It is a more complex example of the literary form which Conrad evolved for Lord Jim: a story of action and high adventure coexisting with an exhaustive study of the psychology of the central character.

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About the author (1986)

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born into a Polish family who lived in the Ukraine. At the age of sixteen he went to sea, and later joined the British Merchant Navy, becoming a Master Mariner and a British citizen in 1886. After twenty years at sea, he came to live in England, where he wrotemany famous novels, including Lord Jim, Nostromo, Heart of Darkness, and The Secret Agent.

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