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Victory (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) Paperback – November 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0140189780 ISBN-10: 0140189785

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140189785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140189780
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,032,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“I am glad that I am alive, if, for no other reason, because of the joy of reading this book.” —Jack London

From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Joseph Conrad is my favorite novelist.
Arline Curtiss
With _Victory_ Joseph Conrad has written a novel of breath taking suspense, which also contains a very touching love story.
IRA Ross
This is a very complex book even if the story is incredibly simple.
Dan Harlow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By John K. Olson on July 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Victory presents a philosophical story of a man who learns that his own philosophy has robbed him of a life worth living. The novel is Conrad's answer to the prevailing view that only facts matter, that emotions such as love have no basis in reality.

The protagonist, Axel Heyst, is the son of a philosopher who once wrote, "Of the strategems of life, the most cruel is the consolation of love." His philosophy Conrad compares to a "terrible trumpet which had filled heaven and earth with ruins..."After his father dies, Heyst wanders the globe, looking "only for facts" until he becomes enchanted with a South Sea archipelago. Therafter, he is drawn to two people who provide models of friendship and love. Morrison, a small craft owner whose generosity has left him bankrupt, Heyst helps out of his bind only to fail to understand why the man is so grateful and anxious to repay him. But it is the girl Lena who fills him with an emotion that he cannot express or understand until the novel's end. After rescuing her from a life of exploitation, Heyst takes her back to his island where he is determined to live apart from the world.

It's only after his island is invaded by two criminals that Heyst discovers how much his actions toward Morrison and Lena were motivated by love. When he learns that the jealous hotelkeeper, Schomberg, has told everyone that "the Swede" had swindled his friend out of all his money before sending him to England to die, Heyst becomes upset, even though he had never cared what the world thought of him. When the malefactors Jones and Ricardo threaten Lena's life, he at last becomes involved in the world that he had left behind.

Suspenseful and chilling, Heyst's fight with the criminals ends with a victory having multiple meanings.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on July 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Victory" is not so much a conventional novel as a fable, with strong influences of the Bible, Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Shakespeare's "The Tempest". This story is absolutely marginal, that is, it occurs to people who inhabit the margins of the world, the margins of society, and within the margins of a common life. The characters also operate in one or the other of the two extremes of morality. Axel Heyst, a Swede son of a bitter and disenchanted philosopher, is extremely influenced by the parental way of thinking, to the point that he follows the advice provided by his dying father. When Heyst, disconcerted at the foot of the bed, asks him what is the proper way to live, Heyst senior answers: "Look on, and make no sound". So, after his father dies, Axel emigrates to the colonies in Southeastern Asia, where he makes a living as a merchant, coming and going about the islands. Heyst is a distant but kind guy, always with a smile on his face and willing to help others, but always refusing any kind of intimacy. One day, he enters a business about a coal mine with an associate, the death of whom (not a murder) he is later accused of provoking, which gives him a reputation throughout the islands as a mysterious, somewhat mischievous man. His main detractor is a hotel keeper, one Schomberg, a hateful, coward, and calumnious man. After the business goes broke, Schomberg escalates his tirades about "that Swede", slowly developing an irrational hatred towards him. Meanwhile, unaware of his reputation and of Schomberg's hatred, Heyst decides to stay on the remote island where the coal mine used to be, totally isolated from humanity, except for the silent and shadowy company of his servant, Wang.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher A. Smith on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Victory is in many ways more fluid and readable than Conrad's more dense works (for comparison sake I'd previously read Heart of Darkness and Conrad's collection of short stories Tales of Unrest.) In Victory we have Conrad's standard fare of tragedy and man's isolation, but in this case wrapped in a tale of adventure and swept along by an uncharacteristically eventful plot.
Conrad's works have, of course, been reviewed to exhaustion; the only thing that I could hope to add would be my emotional response to the novel as a reader.
Personally through the majority of the novel I found Heyst to be the only truly well defined character. Much of what we learn of him is revealed indirectly through the observations of others, but somehow Conrad manages to use this method to flesh out a complex and intriguing figure in Heyst. The remanding characters, while interesting, serve mostly as scenery. The villains Jones and Ricardo, while interesting, struck me not so much as human characters but as forces of impending doom; they could have as easily been an approaching storm or a plague or any other brand of natural disaster. The girl Lena in the end is the one exception; perhaps the one thing that I found most gratifying is the way in which her character developed as the novel neared its climax.
The Penguin Classics version is well footnoted for those of you (like me) that would have missed some of the more obscure Biblical references and allusions to Paradise Lost. The notes also comment on the narrator's shifting viewpoint, and on revisions Conrad made to subsequent editions. For those readers interested in an insight into Conrad's thinking I'd recommend this version.
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