The masterpiece of Joseph Conrad's later years, the autobiographical short novel "The Shadow-Line "depicts a young man at a crossroads in his life, facing a desperate crisis that marks the "shadow-line" between youth and maturity.This brief but intense story is a dramatically fictionalized account of Conrad's first command as a young sea captain trapped aboard a becalmed, fever-wracked, and seemingly haunted ship. With no wind in sight and his crew disabled by malaria, the narrator discovers that the medicine necessary to save the sick men is missing and its absence has been deliberately concealed. Meanwhile, his increasingly frightened first mate is convinced that the malignant ghost of the previous captain has cursed them. Suspenseful, atmospheric, and deceptively simple, Conrad's tale of the sea reflects the complex themes of his most famous novels, "Lord Jim "and "Heart of Darkness.
About the Author
Joseph Conrad [born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski] (1857-1924), was a Polish born mariner and writer who, after a turbulent youth, moved first to France and then Britain. He spent most of his twenties and thirties working on various ships, from wealthy three-masters to rusty steamers, voyaging around the world and rising in rank until he attained a master's certificate in 1886. The same year Conrad took British nationality. His marine career came finally to an end in 1894 due to increasing importance of steam sail, for which Conrad's qualifications were not satisfactory.He then began his literary career, for he was drafting stories in his spare time even when working at sea. After a slow start, the major success came between 1897 and 1911 with publications of short stories and novels such as 'Youth' (1898), Lord Jim (1899), Heart of Darkness (1899), Typhoon (1902), Nostromo (1904), The Secret Agent (1907), 'The Secret Sharer' (1910) and Under Western Eyes (1911).Conrad's works were influenced by his sea voyages and adventures, and his novels often revolve around the significance of imperial enterprises and the moral dilemmas they inflict. The echoes of his Polish upbringing in a difficult political time may be traced in the underlining sense of isolation, embattled honour, and political disillusionment prevailing many of his works.Because of the exotic settings and adventurous plots of Conrad's works on one hand, and the moral complexity of his characters on the other, many of his works became an inspiration for stage and film adaptations.