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Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

Lord Jim (1900)

by Joseph Conrad

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English (49)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Nice edition with copious notes and a decent introduction. The book moves along nicely in the beginning and the end, but becomes quite dense and slow in the middle. Tuan Jim finds his path to glory after a stumble in his youth, and snatches redemption in the end by facing up at last to his fatal flaw. Marlow narrates and provides the contrasting viewpoint of an older, more jaded, observer, who can still recall his own young, romantic ideals. ( )
  kishields | Sep 30, 2014 |
Conrad pits a flawed man against the primitive where he reigns in honor, while those of his kind hold him out as a coward. He tries to redeem himself and loses his life a better man. Always a good read and a gifted writer. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
i just couldn't get into this book at all. i don't really have a problem that the entire thing is told as a conversation, although it's not my preference for storytelling. in the introduction, conrad explains how people sit and tell yarns into the night and how if the story is interesting then telling it through a dialogue is no problem; i think i agree with him but haven't really been tested. because this is just not an interesting story. there are so many tangents and i just couldn't be brought to care about almost any of it. i think it might have started to get interesting toward the last third or so but was only skimming at that point and just couldn't be made to care. i even read summaries of the chapters online in case i was missing something through my cursory reading and found my mind drifting and my eyes skimming even the summary, which i couldn't bring myself to even finish. i just wasn't interested in this story.

but i do think i might like other stories of his because the writing was nice.

"Henceforce they would be labelled as having passed through this and that place and so would be their luggage. They would cherish this distinction of their persons, and preserve the gummed tickets on their portmanteaus as documentary evidence, as the only permanent trace of their improving enterprise."

"He looked with an owner's eye at the peace of the evening, at the river, at the houses, at the everlasting life of the forests, at the life of the old mankind, at the secrets of the land, at the pride of his own heart: but it was they that possessed him and made him their own to the innermost thought, to the slightest stir of blood, to his last breath." ( )
  elisa.saphier | Jun 30, 2014 |
"Lord Jim" is a combination of high-seas adventure, romance, and psychological character study.

Jim wasn’t born with the title Lord. Quite the contrary, he was an ordinary young guy- smart, ambitious, kind, polite, and friendly. He was the son of a British pastor who grew up in humble surroundings and was eager for life’s adventures.

He left home for a life at sea - full of hope and confidence - with one important message from his father, “Who once gives way to temptation, in the very instant hazards his total depravity and everlasting ruin. Therefore resolve fixedly never, through any possible motives to do anything which you believe to be wrong.”

His father’s advice might have been prophetic. One major mistake, in a moment of panic, alters Jim’s life forever. After a catastrophic accident at sea involving 800 passengers, and a dead crew member, Jim’s short lived career at sea is ruined and so is his reputation. Fortunately, a few wise men believe in him and he gets a second chance at proving himself which leads to a whole different environment of romance, respect, and the title Lord… but inevitably his past comes back to haunt him.

The plot was imaginative, intriguing, entertaining, and stimulating. Set in the wilds of the open sea and lawless untamed remote islands, the book offers colorful descriptions and exotic characters. Conrad’s personal experience as a merchant marine renders credibility to the plot’s details. And his linguistic skills are remarkable. For these qualities, the book rates number 85 on the Modern Library list of best 100 novels.

On the other hand, the story lacks emotion. And "Lord Jim" was not an easy book to read - being told by a third person, often quoting a second person, who occasionally quotes Jim. This creates confusion throughout the narrative as to who is actually in character. The lack of clarity often requires re-reading entire paragraphs to grasp exactly who is being quoted. It is the equivalent of watching a movie where speech is garbled and requires constant re-winds, or viewing a sporting event that requires constant re-plays because it is not clear what really happened. This distraction often prevents getting totally immersed in the story.

"Lord Jim" was first released in the year 1900. I imagine the public was starving for new literature and delighted in the adventures of Conrad’s novels. This was my first attempt at reading Joseph Conrad and despite my rating, I am in no hurry to read his other three highly acclaimed books on the Modern Library list. ( )
  LadyLo | Jun 15, 2014 |
A free audiobook is available from https://librivox.org/

Contains miscellaneous critics opinionsas an 'Afterword'. ( )
  captbirdseye | Mar 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (283 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Conradprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Monsarrat, NicholasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mursia, UgoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prinzhofer, RenatoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siciliano, EnzoForewordsecondary 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 Gratefull Affection
After Many Years
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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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140180923, Paperback)

When Lord Jim first appeared in 1900, many took Joseph Conrad to task for couching an entire novel in the form of an extended conversation--a ripping good yarn, if you like. (One critic in The Academy complained that the narrator "was telling that after-dinner story to his companions for eleven solid hours.") Conrad defended his method, insisting that people really do talk for that long, and listen as well. In fact his chatty masterwork requires no defense--it offers up not only linguistic pleasures but a timeless exploration of morality.

The eponymous Jim is a young, good-looking, genial, and naive water-clerk on the Patna, a cargo ship plying Asian waters. He is, we are told, "the kind of fellow you would, on the strength of his looks, leave in charge of the deck." He also harbors romantic fantasies of adventure and heroism--which are promptly scuttled one night when the ship collides with an obstacle and begins to sink. Acting on impulse, Jim jumps overboard and lands in a lifeboat, which happens to be bearing the unscrupulous captain and his cohorts away from the disaster. The Patna, however, manages to stay afloat. The foundering vessel is towed into port--and since the officers have strategically vanished, Jim is left to stand trial for abandoning the ship and its 800 passengers.

Stripped of his seaman's license, convinced of his own cowardice, Jim sets out on a tragic and transcendent search for redemption. This may sound like the bleakest of narratives. But Lord Jim is also touching, elevating, and often funny. Here, for example, the narrator describes the ship's captain (proving that clothes do indeed make the man):

He made me think of a trained baby elephant walking on hind-legs. He was extravagantly gorgeous too--got up in a soiled sleeping suit, bright green and deep orange vertical stripes, with a pair of ragged straw slippers on his bare feet, and somebody's cast-off pith hat, very dirty and two sizes too small for him, tied up with a manilla rope-yarn on the top of his big head. You understand a man like that hasn't a ghost of a chance when it comes to borrowing clothes.
This is formidable prose by any standard. But when you consider that Conrad was working in his third language, the sublime after-dinner story that is Lord Jim seems even more astonishing an accomplishment. --Teri Kieffer

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:05 -0400)

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Jim, the first mate aboard the Patna, dreams youthful dreams of heroism and of the daring act that will prove his courage. But when the Patna collides with a mysterious obstacle, Jim panics and jumps free. This act of cowardice drives him to exile as a white trader in the remote tropical outpost of Patusan.… (more)

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