Nigger of the "Narcissus" (Version 2) audiobook

Nigger of the "Narcissus" (Version 2)  by Joseph Conrad cover

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To my readers in America

Nigger of the "Narcissus" (Version 2) by Joseph Conrad

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Summary

Today, we're likely to react to the title of this novella, on whose 'sincerity of expression' Conrad was willing to stake his artisitic reputation, with visceral disgust. There is a sad irony in this, for Conrad's title originally alluded to a rather complex set of meanings, implying that, by virtue of our human nature, we all carry within the fragile vessel that is our idealised image of ourselves a darker being we find troubling, even despicable, but with whom we must eventually come to terms. Indeed, in the couse of this tale of a traumatic sea voyage from Bombay to London, Conrad suggests that in projecting their loathing of their own ambivalent feelings onto their (possibly dying) black shipmate James Wait, the crew of the Narcissus have considerable difficulty seeing the real James Wait behind their confused emotional reactions at all. The novella is remarkable for its knitting together of a stunningly well-realised physical drama involving an imperilled ship with a most discomforting psychodrama that draws in all twenty-six men who sail her. - Summary by Peter Dann

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