Almayer's Folly, The Story of an Eastern River
London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1907.
Hardcover. Very good. Second impression of Conrad's first novel, originally published in 1895. Original green cloth stamped in gilt. A very good copy with some rubbing to extremities, small white spot on front board, bookplate of Alfred Fowler on front pastedown. Publisher's description from the Dover edition: "The tale of a man's inability to escape his self-delusion and the tragic results that ensue, Almayer's Folly unfolds with the lush prose and keen psychological insights for which its author is renowned. Set in nineteenth-century Borneo, the novel recounts the brief rise and protracted fall of Kaspar Almayer, a Dutch merchant who has struggled for 25 years to practice his trade in the jungle. Only his daughter, Nina, brightens Almayer's embittered marriage to a Malayan, and he dreams of their triumphant return to civilization — a fantasy undermined by Almayer's own greed and prejudice. This tale of personal tragedy offers a wider perspective on the disastrous effects of colonialism, a view familiar to the author from the worldly wealth of experience he acquired in fifteen years of service as a merchant seaman. Conrad infused his first novel with many of the themes and settings that he would return to again and again in his later fiction: the clash of Western and Eastern cultures, the sovereignty of the natural world, and the consequences of cowardice and racism. A gripping and thought-provoking chronicle, Almayer's Folly abounds in the page-turning excitement that won Conrad his place among the greatest storytellers in English literature."