Almayer's Folly: A Story of an Eastern River

Almayer's Folly: A Story of an Eastern River

3.3 3
by Joseph Conrad
     
 

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Almayer’s Folly, Joseph Conrad’s first novel, is a tale of personal tragedy as well as a broader meditation on the evils of colonialism. Set in the lush jungle of Borneo in the late 1800s, it tells of the Dutch merchant Kaspar Almayer, whose dreams of riches for his beloved daughter, Nina, collapse under the weight of his own greed and prejudice. Nadine

Overview

Almayer’s Folly, Joseph Conrad’s first novel, is a tale of personal tragedy as well as a broader meditation on the evils of colonialism. Set in the lush jungle of Borneo in the late 1800s, it tells of the Dutch merchant Kaspar Almayer, whose dreams of riches for his beloved daughter, Nina, collapse under the weight of his own greed and prejudice. Nadine Gordimer writes in her Introduction, “Conrad’s writing is lifelong questioning . . . What was ‘Almayer’s Folly’? The pretentious house never lived in? His obsession with gold? His obsessive love for his daughter, whose progenitors, the Malay race, he despised? All three?” Conrad established in Almayer’s Folly the themes of betrayal, isolation, and colonialism that he would explore throughout the rest of his life and work.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013636200
Publisher:
DB Publishing House
Publication date:
10/04/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
177
File size:
791 KB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) grew up amid political unrest in Russian-occupied Poland. After twenty years at sea with the French and British merchant navies, he settled in England in 1894. Over the next three decades he revolutionized the English novel with books such as Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, and especially Heart of Darkness, his best-known and most influential work.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 3, 1857
Date of Death:
August 3, 1924
Place of Birth:
Berdiczew, Podolia, Russia
Place of Death:
Bishopsbourne, Kent, England
Education:
Tutored in Switzerland. Self-taught in classical literature. Attended maritime school in Marseilles, France

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Almayer's Folly: A Story of an Eastern River 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
comett More than 1 year ago
ALMAYER'S FOLLY (1895), the first of numerous Joseph Conrad novels, sets the mood for things to come. The novel's central character, Almayer, a Dutch colonial, born in Java, has existed in Malaya for twenty-odd years as a trader. Failed venture has followed failed venture with darkness and futility being predominant themes. To add insult to injury, Almayer is despised and browbeaten by his angry Malay wife, but somehow manages to persevere, thanks largely to his belief that Malay's interior is replete with gold. He believes his dream of striking it rich will enable him to spirit his beautiful half-Malay daughter Nina to Europe where both of them will live in a lap of luxury. But even this is potentially problematic given Nina's involvement with Dain, her Malay lover and the man tasked by Almayer to find the riches hidden in the Malay interior. Most characters in this novel, including Almayer and his Arab nemesis, Lakamba, are flawed. Ends justify the means and nobody seems to have any scruples when it comes to enriching themselves or enhancing their positions at the expense of others. And none of this is helped by the distrust and dislike that Europeans, Arabs, and Malays harbour towards each other. Indeed, this all pervasive racism spares nobody and adds to the general air of foreboding. Furthermore, any reader anticipating an exotic and/or romantic setting is sure to be disappointed. Instead, Almayer's house is in a woeful state of disrepair and we read about lizards, uprooted rotting trees, monsoons, and a muddy river that is overflowing. In essence, ALMAYER'S FOLLY is a depressing read, although Conrad's portrayal of human nature's dark side is, unfortunately enough, all too accurate. But while evil, avarice, greed, and exploitation are very real, it is equally true that many are highly virtuous and have accomplished a great deal of good. Sadly, these virtues and characters are missing in this novel. In summing up, those who appreciate novels giving voice to the dark side of the human condition will appreciate this book. But ALMAYER'S FOLLY is not recommended for those who enjoy uplifting stories with happy endings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago