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February 05 , 2009

Within the Tides


These are not Conrad's most famous stories.
"The Partner" is a grim tale of human weakness spiralling down to a predictable horror; whereas his humorously baroque "The Inn of the Two Witches" reminds in its tone of Washington Irving in LEGENDS OF THE ALHAMBRA, though set in a later time period.
What happens when you fall so deeply in love so fast that you can't act to save your life? Conrad gives his answer in "The Planter of Malata," in which a successful loner named Renouard confronts the yawning vastness of an empty life. Felicia Moorsom is a bit two-dimensional and a prim and proper Victorian to the nth degree. This tale is a psychological thriller that does not let you breathe until the last line.
The final tale – "Because of the Dollars" – reminds of ALMAYER'S FOLLY and OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS with its shallow-draft vessels penetrating into the heart of remote islands. Captain Davidson is a classic Conrad hero caught in a trap: How he manages to escape it at the cost of a wife who doesn't love him and, by the way, his ability to smile is one of the author's most perfectly taut stories.

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A Personal Record

Conrad's autobiography, which tells of his writing, his childhood, education and perspectives on literature.

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