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Lord Jim Paperback – September 5, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1619493117 ISBN-10: 161949311X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. In 1874 Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice. In 1886 he obtained British nationality. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. He continued to write until his death in 1924.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Classics LTD (September 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161949311X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619493117
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr Tathata on February 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
From the vantage point of the 21st century, I often wonder about the life of a sailor in the 2nd half of the 19th century, when ports of call existed on every continent, and commercial trade conventions were long established, and far-off exotic locales were familiar places to the peripatetic seaman. How different is the local culture and life of the great seaports than those land locked communities in the heartlands, far from either river or railroad. How many wandering storytellers come to such communities with stories of extreme duress and moral complexity? What do such isolated communities know and understand of the complicated, difficult, and often imperfect ethical conundrums that confront the worldly wise and often, world weary in their wanderings across the seas.

Lord Jim is a fascinating, complex psychological character study of someone who bore on his back the burden of absolute, utter disgrace, yet who longed for an opportunity to demonstrate, at least to himself, if no one else, that his one great moral failure should not define the whole of his character. And thus he remained true to himself, to the bitter end. When all his colleagues ran off to avoid standing up and being held accountable, exposed to public scrutiny, public contempt, and public ridicule, Jim alone answered for his actions to the high maritime court. And when he had made that ill-fated bargain with a human devil incarnate, Gentleman Brown, that turned out SO badly, once again, he alone, stood up before the high judge and accepted his responsibility, and the final, inevitable decree. He could have fled, but instead, like Socrates, he saw nothing to flee to. He had acted thusly, he accepted his responsibility, and he held himself accountable to others whom had placed their faith and trust in him.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By reader 451 on August 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Honour, like virtue, or like reputation, is more easily lost than regained. Such is the premise of Lord Jim. Conrad himself half-admits in his cover note that this is probably his best novel. For more than an absorbing tale of guilt, love, and adventure, it is also a book that asks big and incisive questions. What is honour? Is there such a thing in life as principle? Or rather can one live without principles and, if not, then what if one has to die for them?

Jim is young and idealistic, a talented and unafraid sailor, but he has made an early mistake, a lapse that caused him to abandon ship at the wrong time. Relegated to the fringe of the mariners' community, he drifts into in a lost corner of the Indonesian islands. It is there that he becomes Lord Jim, a pacifier, an arbiter among the local folk, a living legend. The lost province of Patusan, besides, is where he finds romance in the person of the smart, attractive, and spirited half-caste Jewel. Yet as strife re-emerges in the shape of a pirate raid on the town, Jim is soon torn between the defence of his patiently rebuilt self-regard and his love and life's salvation.

Lord Jim is told in two parts, both drawing minutely and to striking effect from Conrad's personal experience of the sea and the tropics. First comes the strange and paradoxical shipwreck of the Patna, a transport for Meccan pilgrims on which Jim acts as skipper. Then the book follows Jim in his subsequent drift and his reinvention in Patusan. The story is told by sea captain Charles Marlow, the same narrator Conrad has in Heart of Darkness, here however developed as a character at greater length and to greater effect.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Togar on September 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Conrad, unlike most novelist, emphasizes the shortcomings of his heros. Lord Jim, a character of immense ability, comes to be defined by his failures. This is a monumental work of weakness, redemption, and ultimately, tragedy.

This is not a book for high school students. Teachers and administrators who assign it do their students a disservice. Stick to Heart of Darkness, which contains many of the same themes and literary merit, without what to high school students is over the top "wordiness." Lord Jim should be enjoyed at the individual's chosen time and pace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan Harlow on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
" ...there are as many shipwrecks as there are men ..."

Imagine, for a moment, that it was Brown's sunken schooner which makes its way back to the beginning of the novel and becomes the wreckage that caves in the Patna's bulkhead ("as though the ship had steamed across a narrow belt of vibrating water and of humming air"), thus setting the events in motion all over again. This novel would then be a wholly contained circle of doomed fate and circumstance destined to play out the same way over and over, time after time. Perhaps this is why Conrad chose to not only describe Jim as "inscrutable" but also to tell the story through Marlow - a story within a story so that Jim, in essence, more easily becomes us ("one of us" and, truly, "any of us") and Marlow becomes a sort of God who dispassionately watches us folly.

The nested storytelling, the subtle wordplay, the idea that "three hundred miles beyond the end of telegraph cables and mail-boat lines, the haggard utilitarian lies of our civilization wither and die, to be replaced by pure exercises of imagination" creates an unreality that speaks to a truth of our own being better than if we were given an exact replica of Jim. Conrad gives us something infinitely better than an anatomically perfect recreation of a man who, for all the reasons and complexities that make a person a person, fails in his honor and shipwrecks his future - we get "the exact description of the form of a cloud" - a cloud in which we each see something different but is just simply a cloud - just simply us.

Ultimately, for me, the novel was about chances, specifically the chances that are missed in life; the missed chances we always remember and can never let go of and forgive ourselves for.
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