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Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

Lord Jim (1900)

by Joseph Conrad

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7,35289844 (3.69)285
This is a novel about a man's lifelong efforts to atone for an act of instinctive cowardice. Young Jim, chief mate of the Patna, dreams of being a hero. When the Patna threatens to sink and the cowardly officers decide to save their own skins and escape in the few lifeboats, Jim despises them. But at the last moment, dazed by horror and confusion, he joins them, deserting the 800 Muslim passengers to apparent death. Tormented by this act of cowardice and desertion, Jim flees to the West. Living among the natives in Patusan, a remote trading post in the jungle, he is able to cease sacrificing himself on the altar of conscience. When he defends Patusan against the evil "Gentleman Brown," his efforts create order and well-being, thereby winning the respect and affection of the people for whom he becomes Tuan, or Lord Jim.… (more)

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» See also 285 mentions

English (79)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (89)
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As with Almayer's Folly, Conrad's first novel, Lord Jim features yet another vagrant soul who is lost in his own society, driven from it, in fact, and left to create an entirely new world among Malays and Bugis in a remote village, Patusan. Jim's psyche is fractured, beyond repair. The weakness exhibited in his early fall from grace comes back to destroy him after he has seemingly righted his life.

This psychological expose is told mostly through the narration of Marlow, a merchant captain who befriends Jim after his honor is irreparably destroyed at a court of inquiry. But Marlow is not the only figure to give the reader glimpses of Jim. There are multiple perspectives. And at one point, even an unseen narrator who reflects on the reflections of Marlow.

Written at the dawn of the twentieth century, Jim's story is a seminal one for a century of Western protagonists educated to be Romantics but conditioned by skepticism and cynicism to expect the worst results possible. Jim's fate, psychological growth arrested and dashed at the very moment of seeming successful, became the tale of many would-be adventurers who found despair and isolation at their end rather than love and acceptance.

( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
Long on my list to read, I took the last three weeks to seclude myself for longer spates of time. I was captured by the exquisite descriptions nestled in unending sentences. I would be absorbed in the tale when a phrase would stop me and I would have to reread it two or three times to digest its depth.
"You take a different view of your actions when you come to understand, when you are made to understand every day that your existence is necessary - you see, absolutely necessary - to another person."

It is now on my "Read" shelf, but will return in a few years to the one entitled, "Read again"
( )
  hbuchana | Oct 5, 2019 |
This is a story about someone telling a story about someone's life, & sometimes someone else is telling him the story, & it gets confusing. Maybe it's just me. Not thrilled. :( ( )
  CAFinNY | Apr 26, 2019 |
As in Heart of Darkness and some of his short fiction, Conrad has a man named Marlow narrate the story to a group of contemporaries. Here we learn of Jim, an earnest and able young seaman who, at least in his own eyes, betrays the moral code he was born under, and spends the rest of his life trying to put that failure behind him and atone for it.

As first mate on a ship carrying Muslim pilgrims to Mecca, Jim is on night watch when the vessel strikes something, possibly the floating remains of a wreck, and begins taking on water. In the ensuing confusion, Jim's conscience is wracked--there are clearly not enough lifeboats to save all the passengers and crew. Most of the pilgrims are asleep and unaware of the danger. Should they be alerted, or allowed to go peacefully down with the ship? What is Jim to do? The captain and other officers having already made the decision to abandon the ship, they urge Jim to join them in their lifeboat. Although he does not make a conscious decision to do so, he finds himself in the lifeboat with them, having mindlessly jumped or been pitched over the side by the violent motion of the ship. Regardless of the "facts" so vehemently demanded by the official inquiry later on, this is an outcome for which Jim can never forgive himself. Ultimately he removes himself from civilization, with the help of Marlow and his contacts, finding a sort of refuge among native people in a remote village, presumably somewhere in Indonesia, where he brings an end to a local conflict and finally seems to have escaped the shadow of his past. To the grateful inhabitants, he has become Tuan (Lord) Jim. But (no surprise) this is only a relatively happy interlude in the man's full life story.

The novel is full of the descriptive passages Conrad did so well, of symbolism and philosophical musing, and of diversions from the main tale. The latter are never irrelevant, but some are more engaging than others. The reader is always getting Jim's story from at least one remove, as Marlow does not have personal knowledge of all of it himself. Nevertheless, he takes a life-long interest in Jim, feeling it is his duty to tell and interpret what he does know, to dispel rumors and assumptions among his fellow sailors, and to somehow "understand" Jim, who despite being "one of us", had repeatedly behaved otherwise. Taken down to its bones, this is a pretty simple, almost Shakespearean, tale of guilt, penance and retribution, with enough ambiguity and social commentary thrown in to make it very interesting.
Reviewed February 2017 ( )
4 vote laytonwoman3rd | Mar 25, 2019 |
Aquí mi reseña. ( )
  LuisBermer | Sep 2, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (105 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Conrad, Josephprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, J. DonaldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hampson, RobertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monod, SylvèrePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monsarrat, NicholasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mursia, UgoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prinzhofer, RenatoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siciliano, EnzoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stafford, EdForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LyndIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watts, CedricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"It is certain my Conviction gains infinitely, the moment another soul will believe in it."

To Mr. and Mrs. G. F. W. Hope
With Grateful Affection
After Many Years
Of Friendship
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He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull. His voice was deep, loud, and his manner displayed a kind of dogged self-assertion which had nothing aggressive in it. It seemed a necessity, and it was directed apparently as much at himself as at anybody else. He was spotlessly neat, apparelled in immaculate white from shoes to hat, and in the various Eastern ports where he got his living as ship-chandler’s water-clerk he was very popular.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441615, 0141199059

Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909438030, 1909438162

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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