An Outcast of the Islands
Hard Cover. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1896. First Edition. Near Fine.
First edition, first printing, with "this" for "their" on p. 26, line 31; "Absolution" for "ablution" p. 110, line 12; "9" missing on p. 129; and "hate" for "fate" on p. 356, line 26. One of 3000 copies. Publisher's green cloth, spine stamped in gilt, top edge gilt, fore edges and bottom edges of pages untrimmed. Near fine book, with very light toning to spine, mild wear to spine ends and corners of boards, a hint of soiling to rear board, light offsetting to front and rear endpapers, and a touch of spotting to page edges. Overall, a very attractive example. With T. Fisher Unwin advertisement for Conrad titles laid in. Wise 2. A first edition, first printing of Conrad's second book. The "outcast of the islands" is Peter Willems, a man who is caught embezzling from his employer, but given another chance by his wealthy benefactor Tom Lingard, who sets Willems up with a trading post job on the coast of Borneo. In this area, disreputable local figures wish to aid a rich trader named Syed Abdulla in establishing a rival trading post. They conspire to manipulate the morally weak Willems, who has fallen in love with the daughter of a local chieftain, into betraying Lingard's economic interests. An Outcast of the Islands is the second book in Conrad's Lingard trilogy, bookended by Conrad's first book, Almayer's Folly (1895), and The Rescue (1920). An Outcast of the Islands is often compared to Heart of Darkness (1899) due to its similar setting and themes of colonialism and isolation. T. S. Eliot, in his classic poem "The Hollow Men" (1925), quotes lines from both books - "Mistah Kurtz, he dead" from Heart of Darkness and "Life is very long" from An Outcast of the Islands. The book was adapted into a 1951 British film directed by Carol Reed (Oliver!, The Third Man), starring Trevor Howard and Ralph Richardson.