The single Conrad work which best illuminates the primal plan of all his
imaginative works is The Secret Sharer. Heart of Darkness and The Secret
Sharer belong, I think, to the top of the basket—with the greatest short stories
Author: Joseph Conrad
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Category: Literary Criticism
This Norton Critical Edition includes four stories—two set on stormy seas, two on calm seas, all four based on the same incident—that speak to each other in interesting ways. The stories in this Norton Critical Edition maintain the connection and sequencing that Joseph Conrad saw among them. In his “Author’s Note” to ‘Twixt Land and Sea, Conrad writes of his two “Calm-pieces” (“The Secret Sharer” and The Shadow-Line) and his two “Storm-pieces” (The Nigger of the “Narcissus” and “Typhoon”). This edition is based on the first English book edition for the stories and the first American edition for the “Author’s Note” for The Shadow-Line, “Typhoon,” and “The Secret Sharer.” The stories are accompanied by explanatory annotations, a note on the texts (including a list of textual emendations), and a preface. “Backgrounds and Contexts” brings together relevant correspondence and contemporary reviews from both British and American sources. Also included are documents related to Conrad’s sources for the stories, among them Charles Arthur Sankey’s “Ordeal of the Cutty Sark: A True Story of Mutiny, Murder on the High Seas.” To help readers navigate, the editor includes a glossary of nautical terms as well as diagrams of the kinds of ships that appear in the stories. “Criticism” includes fifteen essays representing both new and established voices. The essays are arranged by story, with the focus on Conrad’s major themes—colonialism, narrative, gender, and race. Albert J. Guerard, Lillian Nayder, Mark D. Larabee, Fredric Jameson, F. R. Leavis, and John G. Peters are among the contributors. A chronology of Conrad’s life and work and a selected bibliography are also included.