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The Shadow-Line: A Confession by Joseph…
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The Shadow-Line: A Confession (1917)

by Joseph Conrad

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9511513,106 (3.66)47
  1. 00
    The House of Paper by Carlos María Domínguez (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: The only connection between an earnest Edwardian novella and a rather wistful Latin American one is that the former plays an essential part in the latter. Shadow Line is the most accessible Conrad that I've read and though it's short on subtlety it's a rattling good story; Paper House has a melancholy charm.… (more)
  2. 00
    The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad (cf66)
  3. 00
    Youth by Joseph Conrad (cf66)
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» See also 47 mentions

English (9)  Italian (5)  Spanish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Un libro en el que la mayor parte de la accion es una falta de accion opresora.
Con la excusa de tratar el paso de la juventud a la madurez del protagonista, trata tantos temas humanos que es dificil enumerarlos.
Es increible que cree esa atmosfera y trate todo lo que trata en tan pocas paginas ( )
  trusmis | Apr 30, 2016 |
The Shadow Line Joseph Conrad
★★★

This is a novella told from the point of view of an older man looking back at a pivotal moment in his left when he crossed the shadow line between youth and adulthood.

On the very day he decides to quit his position as a first mate on a ship in the Orient and to return to England he learns he is wanted as the only man considered able to captain a ship whose Captain has recently died, unable to resist the young man travels to join his new crew only to discover that things are not what they seem.

His first voyage is marred with set backs, the crew suffer from Malaria, there is no wind to travel and his first mate appears to be under the delusion that the previous captain had tried to kill them all.

Having previously read Heart of Darkness I was expecting this to be a struggle to read however it was a solid straightforward narrative with light hearted moments as well as tension, what really came across was how the un named narrator still felt guilty for events he had no control over.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
A young sea captain gets his first command after he quits his comfortable position as first mate somewhere in South East Asia. This command tests him to the limit and takes him over the shadow line, that line that separates insouciant youth from responsible maturity. The days are filled with a curious mix of inactivity and tension, as their ship barely moves due to lack of wind and the crew get sick one after the other. To top it all off his first mate is sure the ship is haunted.

The book is written from the perspective of the young captain. His struggle with the loneliness of command, the separation of himself from those under his command, his doubts and feelings of guilt for things beyond his control are a nice read, though at times quite a rambling one.
( )
  sushicat | Jan 14, 2016 |
Short but gripping. An insight into how the crew of a ship must pull together to survive, no matter what is thrown at them. As ever, Conrad's understanding of human nature is to the fore, and his language as elegant as ever. ( )
  missizicks | Oct 2, 2015 |
I picked up this book much too casually and without any forethought, and because of this, didn’t give to the book the time and energy that it deserved. This is one of Conrad’s later stories, and happens to have a lot of autobiographical elements, in that it focuses on a young man who gets a commission to lead a ship into the Orient. Conrad’s first command was to sail a ship called the Otago from Singapore into Bangkok. Despite the death of the previous captain and the less-than-auspicious circumstances, Conrad decides to lead the ship anyway. The ship only managed to cover 800 miles in three weeks, and every crew member except Conrad and the onboard cook were stricken with debilitating fever.

“The Shadow-Line” supposedly refers to the anonymous protagonist’s transition from callow boyhood to maturity when he takes up command of the ship and all that entails. The main character certainly does take an exceeding amount of pride in his first role as captain. However, different readings inevitably produce different interpretations – and the story has been taken as everything from a metaphor for the outbreak of World War I to some sort of meditation on the supernatural.

The store never really “goes anywhere.” It works well as a psychological study of a character, but I think this takes a longer story - something more on the order of “The Heart of Darkenss,” which at least *felt* longer and more developed. There, you came away knowing the kind of people that Marlow and Kurtz were. Here, that development was lacking, and what almost never happens while reading a book happened to me – I didn’t even feel compelled to finish the last several pages. Maybe I’ll pick this up again in several more years, and be more cautious of the kind of fiction Conrad is interested in writing. ( )
1 vote kant1066 | Aug 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Conradprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fernández Salgado, BenignoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Göske, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hawthorn, JeremyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Iglesias Francos, Ana IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
"Worthy of my undying regard"
'...-D'autres fois, calme plat, grand miroir
De mon désespoir!'

Baudelaire
Dedication
First words
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Nur junge Menschen kennen solche Augenblicke.
Quotations
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Non ci si poteva aspettare dal mondo nulla di originale, nulla di nuovo, di sorprendente, di significativo: nessuna occasione di scoprire qualcosa a proposito di se stessi, nessuna saggezza da acquisire, nessun divertimento da godere. Tutto era stupido e sopravalutato, come lo era il capitano Giles.
La gente ha una grande opinione sui vantaggi dell'esperienza. Ma, sotto un certo profilo, esperienza significa sempre qualcosa di spiacevole, in contrasto con il fascino e l'innocenza delle illusioni.
Io intanto avevo davanti agli occhi l'immagine del povero Burns, così vivido nel suo sfinimento, nella sua impotenza, nella sua disperazione, che mi commuoveva più della realtà che avevo lasciato soltanto un'ora prima. Era un'immagine mondata dei lati negativi del suo carattere, e non riuscii a resistervi.
[dalla Prefazione dell'autore, 1920] No, troppo ferma in me è la consapevolezza del meraviglioso perché io mi lasci in alcun modo affascinare dal mero soprannaturale, che (da qualsiasi parte lo osserviate) è soltanto un oggetto fabbricato ad arte, il prodotto artificioso di menti che non sanno cogliere l'intima, delicata qualità dei legami che abbiamo con i morti e con i vivi, moltitudini senza fine; è la profanazione delle nostre memorie più care; è un insulto alla nostra dignità.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140180974, Paperback)

A young and inexperienced sea captain finds that his first command leaves him with a ship stranded in tropical seas and a crew smitten with fever. As he wrestles with his conscience and with the increasing sense of isolation that he experiences, the captain crosses the 'shadow-line' between youth and adulthood. In many ways an autobiographical narrative, Conrad's novella was written at the start of the Great War when his son Borys was at the Western Front, and can be seen as an attempt to open humanity's eyes to the qualities needed to face evil and destruction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:27 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Written at the start of World War I when his son Borys was at the Western Front, The Shadow-Line is Conrad's effort to open man's eyes to the meaning of war through the story of a young, inexperienced sea captain who crosses the "shadow-line" to adulthood.… (more)

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