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Almayer's Folly (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – February 13, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (February 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486426777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486426778
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The human heart as recorded in Mr. Conrad’s pages is the human heart of an immense number of men in all ages and in all climes.” —Ford Madox Ford --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Set in eastern Borneo during the 1880s, Almayer's Folly recreates the conflicts of imperial Europe with the colonized East Indies. This edition, first published in 1994, presents Joseph Conrad's first novel freed from seven layers of publishers' and typists' corruptions. Complete textual and contextual histories, full annotation and two regional maps are provided. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Almayer's Folly is one of the best novels ever written.
Carool Kersten
It is the start of a series of novels and stories set in South East Asia.
H. Schneider
Almayer's Folly is an excellent introduction to Conrad's work.
Molly Fleming

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Carool Kersten on June 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Loosely based on the life of a Dutch merchant, setting up a trading post along a river in the interior of Borneo, Conrad's novel 'Almayer's Folly' is actually about man's alienation from his environment and eventually himself.
Written during the heyday of western imperialism, when the great powers of Europe subjected the tropics to their rule, the tale of Almayer explores how the tropics actually devoured the individual westerner.
The main character of the book is a man obsessed. Chasing a dream, he completely loses touch with reality. Although on the surface it may seem that he is a white man gone native, Almayer hasn't got a clue what he is dealing with. He is blind to the schemings of his Malay wife and equally oblivious to the fact that his daughter is drifting away from him.
Admittedly, the book has 'orientalist' overtones but, then, Joseph Conrad is both a man of his time and a master of poweful prose, not a politically-correct scholar. The stereotypical mystique of Asia and the inscrutable oriental are exploited as a literary means to descend into the deeper levels of man's psyche. Just like the 'true heart' of Borneo and its inhabitants is hidden under layer upon layer of deceiving images, so is the core of each and every individual. The scariest place to travel is not the interior of an Indonesian Island, but the inner reaches of our own soul.
Almayer's Folly is one of the best novels ever written. Not only because of the author's masterful portrayals of character, but also due his astounding command of English. It is hard to believe that Conrad's first and second language were Polish and French: he only learned English as an adult. It is this combination of psychological understanding and extraordinary use of language that make him into a literary genius.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was Conrad's first novel, and I think it's an underappreciated jewel. It's written with a typical Victorian plotline, and one part of it has a romantic couple seeking their own happy ending, but don't be mistaken - it's real Conrad, so there's the glorious Conradian gloom, fear and descent into madness, too. It's a tale about a Dutchman in a business-gone-bad stranded in the Indonesian boondocks with his witch-like Malay wife who wishes him all the ill in the world. His only hope in life anymore is for his beautiful daughter and he dreams constantly of getting her educated and married off back in Amsterdam so he can wash his hands of his island nightmare and go back to normal life in Europe. But she grows up, grows distant to him, and he's clueless about the reality that she's adopted the local style and wants to be there. A handsome Balinese prince seeks her hand and the plot cranks into motion, spinning to a thrilling climax. It's an interesting study of problems of interracial, intercultural interaction, as valid today as it was in the late 19th century. The visual picture it paints of the old Dutch East Indies - the rivers, the tangled jungle flowers and the wildlife is another of its finest points.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Molly Fleming on July 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was surprised to find out this was Conrad's first book. I expected an awkwardness of a writer refining his skill, but what I found was a captivating, accessible and satisfying story. It has suspense and romance as well as the tragedy that Conrad is known for. I think the young characters and themes make this book far more accessible to a young person than the standard required Conrad novel--Heart of Darkness. Almayer's Folly is an excellent introduction to Conrad's work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on November 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Almayer's tragedy is that he has become mired in an enterprise which has not paid off. His supply station just doesn't make him rich as he had hoped. In the meantime he has taken a wife, a Malay, and they have a daughter. So Almayer is mired in Malaysia in more ways than one. Almayer dreams of Europe but it is unlikely he will ever return. His fate is to rot in the tropics. Conrads tale of a hopeless colonial exploiter is interesting for its unsentimental, unidealized view of the whole colonial enterprise. It is seen as being a losing situation for both sides. Both cultures suffer. The most tragic figures are those whose heritage is divided between both cultures, exploiter and exploited. (This is something this years Nobel Laureate 2001 V.S. Naipaul, who is often compared to Conrad, writes about.) Conrads book has an appealing exotic side to it as well though. The descriptive writing of the winding rivers and foliage and the entire tropical setting is tempting as it attracts interesting types and seems to offer a life of indolence and easy riches and forbidden pleasures but of course there is a backlash. The plot itself is a winding river with many turns. Not a perfect book but an interesting book to read after having read many of Conrads later books. Conrad in his autobiographical A Personal Record describes his meeting with the character who inspired the fictive Almayer as being the beginning of his writing career. The whole colonial enterprise seemed to be embodied in the attitude and fate of that one isolated figure for him. I guess for that reason we can thank Almayer for existing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Almayer's folly is a powerful beginning to Conrad's second profession, writing. Since the story was written so close to Conrad's adventurous youth (the spring for his most powerful works), it provides the rawest expression of Conrad's views. Almayer, the prototype of Tuan Jim, takes the "leap" when he marries the Malay captive for promised wealth. This transgression drops his character into contact with the cold truths of nature; truths which dispel any artificial illusions or meanings. For Almayer, these illusions entailed sucess and fame in Europe, a place that he had never visited but only heard about from his mother. Superficially, this journey towards inner truth involves a journey into the wilds of Borneo, but,like in future Conrad works, we quickly realize that the journey is inward into the pysche of Almayer. Overall, an excellent introduction to Conrad.
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Almayer's Folly (Dover Thrift Editions)
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