Typhoon

( 521 )

Overview

Written in 1903, Typhoon is one of Joseph Conrad's greatest works. All is well on board the steamer Nan Sham until a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure causes Captain MacWhirr to observe that there "must be some uncommonly dirty weather knocking about." With little more warning, the Nan Shan and its crew are plunged into battle with a storm of terrifying proportions.
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Overview

Written in 1903, Typhoon is one of Joseph Conrad's greatest works. All is well on board the steamer Nan Sham until a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure causes Captain MacWhirr to observe that there "must be some uncommonly dirty weather knocking about." With little more warning, the Nan Shan and its crew are plunged into battle with a storm of terrifying proportions.
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Editorial Reviews

David Hagberg
If you liked The Perfect Storm, you will be blown away by Typhoon, Conrad's classic tale.
USA Today
From the Publisher
"Conrad is quite simply the master of all who try to reflect the world of the sea in the mirror of the written word....No one has limned more vividly the courage, the skill, the dreams, and terrors of those who set out upon the waters. He is the Captain." -David Poyer, author of The Med.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592246427
  • Publisher: Wildside Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author


Novelist Joseph Conrad, one of the first English ""modernists,"" was considered by critics to be the single most important innovator of twentieth-century literature. Among his most famous works are Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim.

Scott Brick has recorded over five hundred audiobooks, has won over forty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has twice received Audie Awards for his work on the Dune series. He has been proclaimed a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine as well as Publishers Weekly's 2007 Narrator of the Year.

Biography

Joseph Conrad (originally Józef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. His parents, ardent Polish patriots, died when he was a child, following their exile for anti-Russian activities, and he came under the protection of his tradition-conscious uncle, Thaddeus Bobrowski, who watched over him for the next twenty-five years. In 1874 Bobrowski conceded to his nephew's passionate desire to go to sea, and Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice.

In 1886 he obtained British nationality and his Master's certificate in the British Merchant Service. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he married Jessie George and eventually settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. He continued to write until his death in 1924. Today Conrad is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of fiction in English -- his third language. He once described himself as being concerned "with the ideal value of things, events and people" in the Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus he defined his task as "by the power of the written word ... before all, to make you see."

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jósef Teodor Konrad Walecz Korzeniowski (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 3, 1857
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berdiczew, Podolia, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      August 3, 1924
    2. Place of Death:
      Bishopsbourne, Kent, England

Read an Excerpt

Typhoon


By Joseph Conrad

IndyPublish.com

Copyright © 2004 Joseph Conrad
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1414211503


Chapter One

I

Captain MacWhirr, of the steamer Nan-Shan, had a physiognomy that, in the order of material appearances, was the exact counterpart of his mind: it presented no marked characteristics of firmness or stupidity; it had no pronounced characteristics whatever; it was simply ordinary, irresponsive, and unruffled.

The only thing his aspect might have been said to suggest, at times, was bashfulness; because he would sit, in business offices ashore, sunburnt and smiling faintly, with downcast eyes. When he raised them, they were perceived to be direct in their glance and of blue colour. His hair was fair and extremely fine, clasping from temple to temple the bald dome of his skull in a clamp as of fluffy silk. The hair of his face, on the contrary, carroty and flaming, resembled a growth of copper wire clipped short to the line of the lip; while, no matter how close he shaved, fiery metallic gleams passed, when he moved his head, over the surface of his cheeks. He was rather below the medium height, a bit round-shouldered, and so sturdy of limb that his clothes always looked a shade too tight for his arms and legs. As if unable to grasp what is due to the difference of latitudes, he wore a brown bowler hat, a complete suit of a brownish hue, and clumsy black boots. These harbour togs gave to his thick figure an air of stiff and uncouth smartness. A thin silver watch-chain looped his waistcoat, and he never left his ship for the shore without clutching in his powerful, hairy fist an elegant umbrella of the very best quality, but generally unrolled. Young Jukes, the chief mate, attending his commander to the gangway, would sometimes venture to say, with the greatest gentleness, "Allow me, sir,"--and possessing himself of the umbrella deferentially, would elevate the ferule, shake the folds, twirl a neat furl in a jiffy, and hand it back; going through the performance with a face of such portentous gravity, that Mr. Solomon Rout, the chief engineer, smoking his morning cigar over the skylight, would turn away his head in order to hide a smile. "Oh! aye! The blessed gamp. . . . Thank 'ee, Jukes, thank 'ee," would mutter Captain MacWhirr heartily, without looking up.

Having just enough imagination to carry him through each successive day, and no more, he was tranquilly sure of himself; and from the very same cause he was not in the least conceited. It is your imaginative superior who is touchy, overbearing, and difficult to please; but every ship Captain MacWhirr commanded was the floating abode of harmony and peace. It was, in truth, as impossible for him to take a flight of fancy as it would be for a watchmaker to put together a chronometer with nothing except a two-pound hammer and a whip-saw in the way of tools. Yet the uninteresting lives of men so entirely given to the actuality of the bare existence have their mysterious side. It was impossible in Captain MacWhirr's case, for instance, to understand what under heaven could have induced that perfectly satisfactory son of a petty grocer in Belfast to run away to sea. And yet he had done that very thing at the age of fifteen. It was enough, when you thought it over, to give you the idea of an immense, potent, and invisible hand thrust into the ant-heap of the earth, laying hold of shoulders, knocking heads together, and setting the unconscious faces of the multitude towards inconceivable goals and in undreamt-of directions.

His father never really forgave him for this undutiful stupidity. "We could have got on without him," he used to say later on, "but there's the business. And he an only son too!" His mother wept very much after his disappearance. As it had never occurred to him to leave word behind, he was mourned over for dead till, after eight months, his first letter arrived from Talcahuano. It was short, and contained the statement: "We had very fine weather on our passage out." But evidently, in the writer's mind, the only important intelligence was to the effect that his captain had, on the very day of writing, entered him regularly on the ship's articles as Ordinary Seaman. "Because I can do the work," he explained. The mother again wept copiously, while the remark, "Tom's an ass," expressed the emotions of the father. He was a corpulent man, with a gift for sly chaffing, which to the end of his life he exercised in his intercourse with his son, a little pityingly, as if upon a half-witted person.

MacWhirr's visits to his home were necessarily rare, and in the course of years he despatched other letters to his parents, informing them of his successive promotions and of his movements upon the vast earth. In these missives could be found sentences like this: "The heat here is very great." Or: "On Christmas day at 4 p.m. we fell in with some icebergs." The old people ultimately became acquainted with a good many names of ships, and with the names of the skippers who commanded them--with the names of Scots and English shipowners--with the names of seas, oceans, straits, promontories--with outlandish names of lumber-ports, of rice-ports, of cotton-ports--with the names of islands--with the name of their son's young woman. She was called Lucy. It did not suggest itself to him to mention whether he thought the name pretty. And then they died.

The great day of MacWhirr's marriage came in due course, following shortly upon the great day when he got his first command.

All these events had taken place many years before the morning when, in the chart-room of the steamer Nan-Shan, he stood confronted by the fall of a barometer he had no reason to distrust. The fall--taking into account the excellence of the instrument, the time of the year, and the ship's position on the terrestrial globe8--was of a nature ominously prophetic; but the red face of the man betrayed no sort of inward disturbance. Omens were as nothing to him, and he was unable to discover the message of a prophecy till the fulfilment had brought it home to his very door. "That's a fall, and no mistake," he thought. "There must be some uncommonly dirty weather knocking about."

The Nan-Shan was on her way from the southward to the treaty port of Fu-chau, with some cargo in her lower holds, and two hundred Chinese coolies returning to their village homes in the province of Fo-kien, after a few years of work in various tropical colonies. The morning was fine, the oily sea heaved without a sparkle, and there was a queer white misty patch in the sky like a halo of the sun. The fore-deck, packed with Chinamen, was full of sombre clothing, yellow faces, and pigtails, sprinkled over with a good many naked shoulders, for there was no wind, and the heat was close. The coolies lounged, talked, smoked, or stared over the rail; some, drawing water over the side, sluiced each other; a few slept on hatches, while several small parties of six sat on their heels surrounding iron trays with plates of rice and tiny teacups; and every single Celestial of them was carrying with him all he had in the world--a wooden chest with a ringing lock and brass on the corners, containing the savings of his labours: some clothes of ceremony, sticks of incense, a little opium maybe, bits of nameless rubbish of conventional value, and a small hoard of silver dollars, toiled for in coal lighters, won in gambling-houses or in petty trading, grubbed out of earth, sweated out in mines, on railway lines, in deadly jungle, under heavy burdens--amassed patiently, guarded with care, cherished fiercely.

A cross swell had set in from the direction of Formosa Channel about ten o'clock, without disturbing these passengers much, because the Nan-Shan, with her flat bottom, rolling chocks on bilges, and great breadth of beam, had the reputation of an exceptionally steady ship in a sea-way. Mr. Jukes, in moments of expansion on shore, would proclaim loudly that the "old girl was as good as she was pretty." It would never have occurred to Captain MacWhirr to express his favourable opinion so loud or in terms so fanciful.

She was a good ship, undoubtedly, and not old either. She had been built in Dumbarton less than three years before, to the order of a firm of merchants in Siam--Messrs. Sigg and Son. When she lay afloat, finished in every detail and ready to take up the work of her life, the builders contemplated her with pride.

"Sigg has asked us for a reliable skipper to take her out," remarked one of the partners; and the other, after reflecting for a while, said: "I think MacWhirr is ashore just at present." "Is he? Then wire him at once. He's the very man," declared the senior, without a moment's hesitation.

Next morning MacWhirr stood before them unperturbed, having travelled from London by the midnight express after a sudden but undemonstrative parting with his wife. She was the daughter of a superior couple who had seen better days.

"We had better be going together over the ship, Captain," said the senior partner; and the three men started to view the perfections of the Nan-Shan from stem to stern, and from her keelson to the trucks of her two stumpy pole-masts.

Captain MacWhirr had begun by taking off his coat, which he hung on the end of a steam windlass embodying all the latest improvements.

"My uncle wrote of you favourably by yesterday's mail to our good friends--Messrs. Sigg, you know--and doubtless they'll continue you out there in command," said the junior partner. "You'll be able to boast of being in charge of the handiest boat of her size on the coast of China, Captain," he added.

"Have you? Thank 'ee," mumbled vaguely MacWhirr, to whom the view of a distant eventuality could appeal no more than the beauty of a wide landscape to a purblind tourist; and his eyes happening at the moment to be at rest upon the lock of the cabin door, he walked up to it, full of purpose, and began to rattle the handle vigorously, while he observed, in his low, earnest voice, "You can't trust the workmen nowadays. A brand-new lock, and it won't act at all. Stuck fast. See? See?"

As soon as they found themselves alone in their office across the yard: "You praised that fellow up to Sigg. What is it you see in him?" asked the nephew, with faint contempt.

"I admit he has nothing of your fancy skipper about him, if that's what you mean," said the elder man curtly. "Is the foreman of the joiners on the Nan-Shan outside? . . . Come in, Bates. How is it that you let Tait's people put us off with a defective lock on the cabin door? The Captain could see directly he set eye on it. Have it replaced at once. The little straws, Bates . . . the little straws. . . ."

The lock was replaced accordingly, and a few days afterwards the Nan-Shan steamed out to the East, without MacWhirr having offered any further remark as to her fittings, or having been heard to utter a single word hinting at pride in his ship, gratitude for his appointment, or satisfaction at his prospects.

With a temperament neither loquacious nor taciturn, he found very little occasion to talk. There were matters of duty, of course--directions, orders, and so on; but the past being to his mind done with, and the future not there yet, the more general actualities of the day required no comment--because facts can speak for themselves with overwhelming precision.

Old Mr. Sigg liked a man of few words, and one that "you could be sure would not try to improve upon his instructions." MacWhirr satisfying these requirements, was continued in command of the Nan-Shan, and applied himself to the careful navigation of his ship in the China seas. She had come out on a British register, but after some time Messrs. Sigg judged it expedient to transfer her to the Siamese flag.

At the news of the contemplated transfer Jukes grew restless, as if under a sense of personal affront. He went about grumbling to himself, and uttering short scornful laughs. "Fancy having a ridiculous Noah's Ark elephant in the ensign of one's ship," he said once at the engine-room door. "Dash me if I can stand it: I'll throw up the billet. Don't it make you sick, Mr. Rout?" The chief engineer only cleared his throat with the air of a man who knows the value of a good billet.

The first morning the new flag floated over the stern of the Nan-Shan Jukes stood looking at it bitterly from the bridge. He struggled with his feelings for a while, and then remarked, "Queer flag for a man to sail under, sir."

"What's the matter with the flag?" inquired Captain MacWhirr. "Seems all right to me." And he walked across to the end of the bridge to have a good look.

"Well, it looks queer to me," burst out Jukes, greatly exasperated, and flung off the bridge.

Captain MacWhirr was amazed at these manners. After a while he stepped quietly into the chart-room, and opened his International Signal Code-book at the plate where the flags of all the nations are correctly figured in gaudy rows. He ran his finger over them, and when he came to Siam he contemplated with great attention the red field and the white elephant. Nothing could be more simple; but to make sure he brought the book out on the bridge for the purpose of comparing the coloured drawing with the real thing at the flagstaff astern. When next Jukes, who was carrying on the duty that day with a sort of suppressed fierceness, happened on the bridge, his commander observed:

"There's nothing amiss with that flag."

"Isn't there?" mumbled Jukes, falling on his knees before a deck-locker and jerking therefrom viciously a spare lead-line.

"No. I looked up the book. Length twice the breadth and the elephant exactly in the middle. I thought the people ashore would know how to make the local flag. Stands to reason. You were wrong, Jukes. . . ."

"Well, sir," began Jukes, getting up excitedly, "all I can say-" He fumbled for the end of the coil of line with trembling hands.

"That's all right." Captain MacWhirr soothed him, sitting heavily on a little canvas folding-stool he greatly affected. "All you have to do is to take care they don't hoist the elephant upside-down before they get quite used to it."

Jukes flung the new lead-line over on the fore-deck with a loud "Here you are, bo'ss'en--don't forget to wet it thoroughly," and turned with immense resolution towards his commander; but Captain MacWhirr spread his elbows on the bridge-rail comfortably.<

Continues...

Continues...


Excerpted from Typhoon by Joseph Conrad Copyright © 2004 by Joseph Conrad. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 521 )
Rating Distribution

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(40)

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(27)

2 Star

(7)

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(46)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 521 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 22, 2011

    Great sea tale

    This story has everything: character who jump off the page, clearer than life, and the best description of a ship and her crew enduring a terrific storm. My favorite Conrad.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2004

    An exciting tale of human nature

    Conrad's masterpiece chronicles the doomed voyage of a steamer in the Indian ocean. It is full of excitement and danger, but is most successful in its portrayal of the personalities and struggles of the captain and his mate. Of all of Conrad's works, this is my favorite.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    To Nightstar

    "I am Foxpaw." Replied the cat.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Join mateclan!

    In this clan you can mate anyone you want apprentices and warriors can mate we need toms and she cats. There are no forever mates. The leader thunderstorm.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Join mate clan part two

    At cocoa result two and the leader is tigerheart not thunderstorm i rp him in luna clan. Sorry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Fireheart to brightfur

    Hi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Brightfur

    Fades and rests. (She can fade into a place where nobody has discovered)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2014

    Hazelkit

    Pads in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2014

    Gigger kit to the two below

    I am with you guys see ya there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2014

    Thunderstorm to foxpaw

    Hi foxpaw i am deputy and nightstar left so im in charge and yes you can join. You can be my apprentice. Im thunderstorm

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Smokiefern

    Takles lightningpool. ""Sivl get out now""

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Nightstorm

    Is this a bad time to ask to join?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Lost

    "I am here with Diamondstream. I am not an assasion. I have a feeling that if Starkit gets a little to excited she will run away." He said calmly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Starkit

    She looked around

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Lightiiningclaw

    Or last

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Lightiningclaw2

    "She's here for me." He growls back. (I joined yesterday)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    To Lightningclaw

    Whe miss you smokiefern

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Lightining2

    Jayclan is going to war. We need help. Bloodclan is up against us. Please help.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    Stormstar to all ooc

    Please do not advertise on our territory! Because you are just as disrespectful, as the cat who advertised on yours. Actually, even more disrespectful. Why? because after I made an apology, you went ahead and did that. I do not know who posted the post, advertising for my clan, but it shouldnt happen again! And please take the post dont from our clan. I will tell the cat who posted the advertisement to take it off this clans, if you do it first. (Once again, i do not know who posted it so it might take till tonight!) Thanks for your cooperation --Stormstar (this was ooc btw)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Fiercefire

    Watched

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