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THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS: A Tale of the Sea.

London: Heinemann, 1898. First UK edition of his third book. A novella written in 1896 partly based on his experiences of a voyage from Bombay to London. This edition preceded in 1897 by the U.S. edition published under the title, CHILDREN OF THE SEA. (To muddy things up a bit: Heinemann issued 8 copies for copyright prior to release of the U.S. edition, but the actual publication of this UK edition came after that of the U.S.) The novella was serialized in London in The New Review under the title "The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’; a Tale of the Forecastle" from August 1897 to December 1897. Dodd, Mead changed the title to CHILDREN OF THE SEA for U.S. publication, reportedly not because they deemed the word "nigger" offensive, but because they feared a book about a black man would not sell. However, the novella was serialized across the U.S. in periodicals 9 times in 1897 under its original name. (The word remains offensive, still it’s nice to know a story about a black man was apparently well-received.) Conrad’s preface, considered one of his most significant pieces of non-fiction writing, begins with his oft-quoted line, "A work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line." Issued in three bindings, this one being the third, with a 32-page catalog bound in at end headed by Harold Frederick’s ILLUMINATION. There were only 1,519 copies in total. Spine a little darkened, spine ends and corners showing some wear, and the cheap-paper endpapers show a little offset from the binding and two small chips to front edge. Still a solid, tight, copy that is otherwise very good. BASED PARTLY ON HIS VOYAGE FROM BOMBAY TO LONDON.
Item #53745       Price: $500.00   Ask a Question
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