Through courage and integrity, a first mate earns the title Lord Jim. 2 cassettes.Amazon.com Review
When Lord Jim first appeared in 1900, many took Joseph Conrad totask for couching an entire novel in the form of an extendedconversation--a ripping good yarn, if you like. (One critic in TheAcademy complained that the narrator "was telling that after-dinnerstory to his companions for eleven solid hours.") Conrad defended hismethod, insisting that people really do talk for that long, and listen aswell. In fact his chatty masterwork requires no defense--it offers up notonly linguistic pleasures but a timeless exploration of morality.
The eponymous Jim is a young, good-looking, genial, and naive water-clerkon 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 incharge of the deck." He also harbors romantic fantasies of adventure andheroism--which are promptly scuttled one night when the ship collides withan obstacle and begins to sink. Acting on impulse, Jim jumps overboard andlands in a lifeboat, which happens to be bearing the unscrupulous captainand his cohorts away from the disaster. The Patna, however, managesto stay afloat. The foundering vessel is towed into port--and since theofficers have strategically vanished, Jim is left to stand trialfor abandoning the ship and its 800 passengers.
Stripped of his seaman's license, convinced of his own cowardice, Jim setsout on a tragic and transcendent search for redemption. This may sound likethe bleakest of narratives. But Lord Jim is also touching,elevating, and often funny. Here, for example, the narrator describes theship's captain (proving that clothes do indeed make the man):
He made me think of a trained baby elephant walking on hind-legs. He wasextravagantly gorgeous too--got up in a soiled sleeping suit, bright greenand deep orange vertical stripes, with a pair of ragged straw slippers onhis bare feet, and somebody's cast-off pith hat, very dirty and two sizestoo 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 itcomes to borrowing clothes.This is formidable prose by any standard. But when you consider that Conradwas working in his third language, the sublime after-dinner story that isLord Jim seems even more astonishing an accomplishment. --TeriKieffer ... Read more
Customer Reviews (80)
Lord Jim is Joseph Conrad's greatest tragic work in which hubris and nemesis bring down a Hamlet-like seaman
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was of Polish noble heritage though he was born in the Ukraine. He spent many years in the British navy and was a naturalized English citizen. Conrad wrote brilliant English novels and short stories; often thought in French and dreamed in Russian! Conrad is one of the greatest novelists in all of world literature.
Lord Jim was published to great success in 1900. The story concerns Jim the scion of an English country parson
who has taken to the salt water world. Jim is a romantic who dreams of doing great deeds of adventure and heroism.
The main narrator of the story is Captain Charles Marlow an old sea dog who first meets Jim when the later is earning a meagre living as a water clerk. Marlow relates the tragic story of Jim to a group of listeners. Jim is serving on an old wreck of a ship "The Patna" captained by a drunk. One surreal night of placidity is destroyed when the boat hits a submerged obstacle. On board are five crew members and 800 Muslim pilgrims from Malaya. In a moment of cowardice, Jim jumps overboard leaving the passengers to their fate. The Naval Board revokes Jim's license as well as that of the other four members of the crew. The events of the trial are told by a French sea captain who converses with Marlowe. Ironically the Patna and her passengers survive the night being brought to port in safety.
Marlowe seeks to help the complex Jim find a job despite his disgrace. The young man leaves one job after another as he travels from one remote and filthy seaport after another in Asis and the Dutch East Indies. Marlowe is most successful placing Jim in a job when Stein the respected owner of a trading post on the remote island of Patusan gives Jim a chance for employment. Stein is a brilliant collector of rare butterflies and an intellectual man of means.
When Jim arrives on Patusan he is protected from harm by the use he makes of a ring given him by Stein. Doramin the old island chieftan is a friend of Stein; gradually Jim is accepted into Patusan society winning the love of
Jewel the daughter of the evil old trader named Cornelius. Jim also becomes the best friend of Dormain's son
Dain Warus. The natives admire Jim and dub him "Tuan" or "Lord" Jim. He becomes the white leader of the native community. Jim leads the natives in their conquering of a hated rajah; prosperity is returned to the island paradise Jim calls home. He has respect, a good woman's love and the admiration of his fellows. Jim has no desire to return to white society.
Big trouble intrudes into paradise with the appearance of the odious pirate Gentleman Brown. Years later a moribund Brown will tell Marlowe the story of Jim's final days. Jim allows Brown to escape and Dain Warus is slain by the pirates. Old Cornelius proves to be a Judas collaborating with Brown in plotting mayhem and murder in the island community. Jim knows he has for the second time in his short life let down his friends! Jim bares his breast to old Doramin who shots and kills the young Englishman. This tragic death was Jim's form of repentance for his misdeeds. Lord Jim may be viewed as a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ who dies so that others might live.
Conrad takes the late Victorian adventure tale and turns it on its head! He uses multiple narrators to tell the story though the chief narrator is Marlowe (who stands in for Conrad). The novel is rich in metaphor (particularly using insect and bird imagery in referring to characters) and the pitiless apathy of nature to the fate of humanity. The godless Conradian cosmos reminds this reader of similar beliefs posited by Thomas Hardy in his many novels. Many of the passages deal with Conrad's thoughts on such topics as: honor; the human community linked in this story by the fellowship of seamen and their craft; death, love and man's place in the scheme of things.
Conrad greatly influenced twentieth century ways of telling a story through innovative storytelling methods. Conrad is not an easy writer to read but he was a poet of the pen in exploring the depths of the heart of darkness pumping in the breasts of human beings. Conrad is best enjoyed by mature readers. If you have not read him since your high school English teacher forced you to do so pick up this excellent new edition by Penguin and explore Jim who is one of us!
A Martyr's Tale
Jim is a youthful, handsome, water clerk aboard the Patna, a vessel escorting 800 Islamic individuals to Mecca.He supposedly has his entire career ahead of him.With no warning, the Patna collides with something on the Asian waters and it appears that the Patna is about to founder.Jim jumps off the vessel, along with a number of ship officers in order to save their own skins.
Jim, along with his fellow mates survive.The abandoned "unfortunate" 800 others face a certain death.It does not seem to matter that the whole lot of them are eventually rescued.It is solely Jim who readily accepts the onus of "coward,"which Jim is labeled after an official naval inquest into the incident.Besides losing his seaman's license, Jim must suffer the rest of his days seaching for a way to rehabilitate his sullied reputation.
Jim escapes to an obscure East Indies island, called Patusan, where the natives come to view Jim as a god.They call Jim "Tuan,"which means lord...in other words he becomes "Lord Jim."During his escape to Patusan, our new lord gets involved in a war to ovethrow the evil Rajah.A rehabilitated character is sure to follow the newly anointed "hero."
While the book has interesting characterizations and is holding to a certain extent, I found Conrad's emphasis on Jim's Christ-like martyrdom a little much.Jim seems to revel in his suffering which I, for one, do not find particularly heroic.
It remains a masterpiece, even after the fourth reading
Lord Jim is a masterpiece, encompassing almost all that Conrad has ever written. Jim is a young seaman with an exagerated feeling for his own romantic courage. Yet this courage abandons him in the moment he can prove himself, when he and his fellow officer abandon a passanger ship on the sly, believing that it will sink. Yet the ship is rescued and Jim put to trial. His fellow officers all slink away rather than stand trial, while he is stripped of his rank.
He tries to flee his own notority, but in vain. Wherever he goes, soon somebody will arrive who knows him and that unfortunate incident. Until finally he escapes to a small Malayan kingdom, where no-one knows him. He becomes the benevolent de-facto ruler of the place. Until one day he commits an error of judgement. This time he faces the consequences of his error. Thus he dies.
Conrad leaves no doubt that Jim dies in vain, yet in peace with himself. Conrad does not deliver a final judgement on whether Jims romantic ideals are misguided or not. The book all in all is a great lamento for the lost age of romanticism. Thus the narrator Marlow does not hide his liking of the young man and his romantic desires, yet he does not shy away from also showing the loss and desolation Jim inflicts on others by his decision for sacrifice his life for his honour.
The reader is left with these conflicting emotions, there is no clean resolution to the book. And this is what makes it great.
Unlike others, I did not find this book to long or to dense. Rather the long descriptive passages give the book this slow pace which is so essential to the unfolding of this narrative.
Read this book and you will see the world with other eyes.
A Tale of the White European's Greatness -- "one of us-ness".
There should be a Joseph Conrad revival. How this man could write! No less than H. L. Menken, the great critic, essayist, and scholar (of "The American Language"), of the first quarter of the twentieth Century,said of him: "He was the greatest artist who ever wrote a novel".
Most know of Conrad's Polish origin -- upper middle-class -- Polish being his first language; and that he learned and wrote exquisitely in English.
The first part of his life, he spent at sea, working up from seaman to mates, to skipper, in both steam and sail; and the latter part in writing fiction about it all. He was so good, Ford Maddox Ford wanted to collaborate with him, and did.
His "Lord Jim" was emblematic of the White man's superiority -- although Conrad doesn't hammer at it.
Jim, presented by Conrad as being in his mid-twenties, was white in everything, including white garb and blond of hair color. And more than once Conrad uses the expression in referring to him that, "He was one of us". The context here being that he was a white, educated, upper middle-class, Christian, heterosexual, and central European -- in this case English. That is we, who more than any other, ventured out in commercial enterprise and curiosity and hooked the world together.
This high adventure tale, "Lord Jim", is woven by Conrad in a non-linear way, with many back cuts and forward cuts, andjarring story surprises that the author has masterfully teased us with. In the first half Jim gets into some quite serious life difficulty and the second half deals with his redemption.
This is one of Conrad's "up river" stories, and in this case Jim becomes "Yuan Jim" or Lord Jim to the river people for his bravery, great character and great competence. It shows that this white man from Europe has what it takes to straighten things out among the native Javanese. But Conrad is not Eurocentric here as some of his admirable characters are Indonesians; and of his most despicable, one is a Portuguese. Conrad weighs fairly all races and ethnicities that he has come across and writes about. There is also an interestingly and originally developed "love angle" in this story.
In his other yarns as well, such as Heart of Darkness, The Secret Sharer, Youth, Nostromo, etc., Conrad is not only superb at plot architecture and structure, but at character development as well as conveying the mood of the ambience; and in doing all this with the most striking and sublime -- not necessarily economical -- language.
But the most important element in his writing is elusive, is often just beneath the situational surface, and is a profound one. It sometimes seems the action of his high adventure tales may be, in part, a vehicle for conveying in a symbolic way the conflicts of the broader human condition with fate and the resolution of those.
This book came as promised in a very timely fashion.It was in good condition.
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