Victory by Joseph Conrad is a dark psychological thriller Like all of Conrad s work his mastery of the English language is immediately evident and he uses descriptive language of which DH Lawrence would be envious especially when describing the villains Victory is also reminiscent of Shakespeare s The Tempest and in turn may have influenced Mikhail Bulgakov s The Master and Margarita Conrad created two of the most devilish animalistic and brutish villains that ever plagued a story and are as bad as characters from Dickey or McCarthy Additionally Victory displays some of the most complex characterizations of Conrad s bibliography A careful student of Conrad s work can see shades of Kurtz in Mr Jones As with many of Conrad s writings this deals with isolation world weariness and distinctions between civilized and native societies and the ironies of atypical behaviors in each Between the antagonists there is a recurring theme of tame versus untamed actions It seems that fans of Conrad enerally fall into two camps those who choose as their favorite Heart of Darkness and those who would select Lord Jim I am definitively in the Heart of Darkness Understanding Women group though I recognize the power of Lord Jim F Scott Fitzgerald said of Nostromo that if he could have written but one book he would have wanted that book to be Nostromo Victory though it deals with many common themes of Conrad s work is a uniue work in his canon and has a charm all its own and I could see where someone could say that it is his or her favorite My victory over Victory by Joseph Conrad was lastasp and hard fought Unfortunately I am not oing to build any triumphal arches to commemorate itI feel like a veteran For a few weeks I have been bombarded with boredom Stabbed with a bayonet of disappointment Outflanked by the characters I didn t care about Shot with conversations which led nowhere To cut a long story short Victory turned out to be almost a defeat It doesn t comfort me much to realize that one of my brothers in arms was Vladimir Nabokov who almost fell in the field of lory too He felt irritated by souvenir shop style and bottled ships and shell necklaces of romanticist cliches in Victory Mind you I m not a recruit It was the fourth novel by Conrad I ve read after Lord Jim Heart of Darkness and Almayer s Folly All of them were masterpieces each in its uniue way I have been always impressed by Conrad s style his ability to depict far away places and express moral dilemmas The uality of writing in Victory is exuisite too which sadly can t be told about the rest though the novel operates on an interesting premise Malay Archipelago between Java and Borneo a Verdammt verliebt girl stolen out of orchestra romance solitude shade andloomy silence Mostly solitudeIf we could distil the beauty of Conrad s language of his descriptions and observations it would taste like nectar of the The Way Between the Worlds (The View from the Mirror, gods I m astonished every time I realize that Joseph Conrad was Polish and started to learn English in his twentiesChances are my musings are being read now by somebody who is about to start his or her literary acuaintance with Joseph Conrad I m begging you on my knees don t begin with Victory This novel mayive you a false image of the truly wonderful writer Have it for an eccentric exotic dessert which will accentuate the taste of the nourishing main dishes you ve had before Conrad himself seemed to be a bit embarrassed by this novel You will sense it for yourself while reading his preface By the way if you are a literary kamikaze and decide to embark on Victory anyway please don t read the introduction before the novel as it reveals too much I was a literary kamikaze myself Orsodimondo whose dazzling review was my inspiration warned me that this is not Conrad s best novel Moreover Orsodimondo s three stars twinkled alarmingly but I was so determined to experience the author s sense of humour and see the portrait of woman so different from his other female characters It looked as if Conrad took into consideration some complaints of his readers and critics As if they approached him and said Look Mr Conrad You write Inverloch Volume 4 great books we like them a lot except for two things they are utterly depressing and misogynistic Could you please do something about that This is of course an imagined situation and its possibility is less than scarce But I had the impression that Conrad was doing his best to fulfil such a reuest There are sparkles of humour in Victory indeed What an impenetrableirl you are Lena with those The Good and Beautiful God grey eyes of yours Windows of the soul as some poet has said The fellow must have been alazier by vocation Nevertheless I found the overall impression devastating The humour exists but only on the surface Conrad s ironical remarks are like rare fireflies in complete darkness Darkness as black as the dress Now and then we must leave the literature of our day and delve deeper in time and in literary style Joseph Conrad has survived time as a classic because his work is classic uality I submerged Victory as into cool deep water to emerge refreshed and moved by the literary experience Woe yes to the man whose heart has not learned to hope or love and is love without hope possible or trust in life Without hope without love without trust life is but a living death Axel Heyst Conrad s hero of Victory is a complex man we are deeply drawn to for he has the heart and he has the high ideals if not the hope or trust In his vulnerable youth Heyst s father stripped him of these tools without which living a meaningful life is a barren if not futile prospect Yet a man s heart is a stubborn thing in its will to beat with red blood Even in his willful isolation a woman s love finds the hermit Conrad indulges in a little formula damsel in distress rescue and Heyst brings Lena to his solitary island of Samburan where they slowly develop a kind of haven Life has a way of being messy and intrusive Conrad knows and so he brings the conflict of the story to the island undeservedly bad reputation following Heyst there in the often comic and villanous figures of Ricardo and Jones This showcases the figures of Heyst and Lena If Heyst s heart does indeed love and passionately so then Lena s heart has within it the unconditional devotion perhaps only a woman can fully express And so woman ives life The tragedy of Heyst is that he so rarely knows how to express his love Perhaps the story ends then in the only way it can in sacrificeThe true victory of this novel is the ift of Conrad s writing Characters have depth and motion plot is not overwhelming but enough to hold suspense dialogue is real and revealing Conrad does plenty of tell not show which writers are today admonished not to do but I loved every moment of the skillful telling He is a master taking on themes and characters that have lasting value I plan to read and reread his other works I enjoyed this novel from the pen of Joseph Conrad it may be my favorite of his works although Conrad has the knack for writing consistently ood novels that makes it hard to rank them Victory s most striking formal characteristic is its shifting narrative and temporal perspective with the first section from the viewpoint of a sailor the second from omniscient perspective of Axel Heyst the third from an interior perspective from Heyst and the final section I found the character of Axel interesting primarily due to his complexity On a superficial level the novel reads like a melodrama suited to a muddled due to his complexity On a superficial level the novel reads like a melodrama suited to a muddled libretto than a serious work of literature But upon reflection the allegorical and psychological implications of the action landscape and narrative structure redeem it as a modern novel worthy to be included with the best of Conrad I am always impressed when the author can make a serious work of literature appear on the surface to be merely a ood story eg Moby Dick The story line follows through a business misadventure the European Axel Heyst ends up living on an island in what is now Indonesia with a Chinese assistant Wang Heyst visits a nearby island when a female band is playing at a hotel owned by Mr Schomberg Schomberg attempts to force himself sexually on one of the band members Alma later called Lena She flees with Heyst back to his island and they become lovers Schomberg seeks revenge by attempting to frame Heyst for the murder of a man who had died of natural causes and later by sending three desperadoes Pedro Martin Ricardo and Mr Jones to Heyst s island with a lie about treasure hidden on the island The ensuing conflict does not end well and has been compared to the ending of an Elizabethan drama where the stage is littered with corpses The robust romanticism of Axel and Lena s story continues to haunt the reader long after one puts the novel downAnother of my favorite writers Joan Didion had this to say about VictoryI often reread Victory which is maybe my favorite book in the world The story is told thirdhand It s not a story the narrator even heard from someone who experienced it The narrator seems to have heard it from people he runs into around the Malacca Strait So there s this fantastic distancing of the narrative except that when you re in the middle of it it remains very immediate It s incredibly skillful I have never started a novel I mean except the first when I was starting a novel just to start a novel I ve never written one without rereading Victory It opens up the possibilities of a novel It makes it seem worth doing From a 2006 interview in The Paris Review Although dreamlike this was a delicious journey through the dilemmas of existence and fate I started this. Axel Heyst a dreamer and a restless drifter believes he can avoid suffering by cutting himself off from others Then he becomes involved in the operation of a coal company on a remote island in the Malay Archipelago and when it fails he turns his back on humanity. .
Ng father installed mistrust towards life into him resulting with the young man somewhat autistic attitude towards life He is content with only observing life However when Heyst stumbles against a desperate Portuguese man he decides to pay his depth This bounds him to his man both in friendship and in a feeling of responsibility For isn t a feeling of responsibility one of the defining characteristics of friendship This friendship is perhaps the very first connection between the reader and the protagonist because it is what makes us emphasize with Heyst and see him as a real person What follow is a sad but memorable tale The sadness of this novel is for most part subtle only reaching its peak towards the end but for me that makes it none the less profoundI have read the Note to the first edition written by Joseph Conrad himself but I m still not certain why this novel is called Victory Taking in consideration the ending and the atmosphere of Shakespearean tragedy one does wonder what the title is supposed to mean Conrad explained it as a some kind of omen saying that The last word of this novel was written on 29 May 1914 And that last word was the single word of the title Those were the times of peace Now that the moment of publication approaches I have been considering the discretion of altering the title page The word Victory the shining and tragic The Horse in Celtic Culture goal of noble effort appeared tooreat too august to stand at the head of a mere novel There was also the possibility of falling under the suspicion of commercial astuteness deceiving the public into the belief that the book had something to do with warOf that however I was not afraid very much What influenced my decision most were the obscure promptings of that pagan residuum of awe and wonder which lurks still at the bottom of our old humanity Victory was the last word I had written in peace time It was the last literary thought which had occurred to me before the doors of the Temple of Janus flying open with a crash shook the minds the hearts the consciences of men all over the world Such coincidence could not be treated lightly And I made up my mind to let the word stand in the same hopeful spirit in which some simple citizen of Old Rome would have accepted the Omen Historical circumstances set aside the title still made me wonder Perhaps Conrad himself acted on an impulse when he choose it Not that it wasn t a ood impulse Stil Who is really victorious I ave the matter some thought and an answer presented itself Why Lena Previously I read several works by Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness Lord Jim Nostromo but never have I met with such a powerful female protagonist This was most refreshing Lena s capability for love and loyalty is all the impressive taken the circumstances of her life This is the first novel of Conrad s that I read featuring a female character that takes things into her hands Lena a young woman who finds herself rowing up and living in the most unhappy of circumstances is anything but a victim Ultimately you could say she s the victim of life but haven t we all yet there is nothing about her that suggest a victim In other Conrad s works that I read female characters were almost always distant figures Lena takes not only her own life at her hands but she is ready to act to save the lives of others Needless to say I really warmed up to her Moreover this character is such an important part of this story Lena offers a fascinating study not only of relationship between the opposing sexes but between a society and an individual Despite being an outcast of some kind Lena has a very strong sense of morality of herself She is very much a defined character and an individualIf I remember the Author s note well Conrad explain that he was inspired by an actual woman when he was creating Lena it was a brief but obviously memorable encounter On one occasion Conrad saw a young women being pinched by her presumably mother while she was performing playing piano on stage This cruelty inflected by one woman to another moved him In a similar way the protagonist of this novel Heyst often called the Swede was moved by witnessing Lena s terror and the abuse inflected on her Like the actual young woman Lena was a performer against her will When the two Heyst and Lena meet there is than longing on her part and pity on his part I saw it as a meeting of kindred spirits and was honestly moved by it Both of them are remarkably innocent Perhaps their innocence might seem absurd to the modern reader but it makes sense in the context of their lives Lena is attracted by Heyst because she senses that he is different from others and vice versa Aren t they clearly different from most people First of all they both lack emotional attachment to other people due to circumstances than to their own personal capacity for such emotions One could say that "Heyst in unemotional yet his life proves it is not really the case His hermit life is something that " in unemotional yet his life proves it is not really the case His hermit life is something that to be examined to be understood and it seems that Lena instinctively understands it perhaps we could call it female intuition Interestingly in their relationship Lena seems to be the active party she is the one who asks for help in a direct way than the Portuguese who had prayed to God but found Heyst instead Nevertheless I wouldn t say that Heyst is completely indifferent and passive If he was where would be the tragedy And there is a lot of tragedy in this novel As a character Heyst might appear passive but paradoxically I think he is a man of strong will It is just that his will was directed towards renouncing the world and now he finds it difficult to find his place in this world For all the ood that exists in his heart and perhaps precisely because of it Heyst is unable to truly become a part of this world The author put it like this It is only when the catastrophe matches the natural obscurity of our fate that even the best representative of the race is liable to lose his detachment It is very obvious that on the arrival of the entlemanly Mr Jones the single minded Ricardo and the faithful Pedro Heyst the man of universal detachment loses his mental self possession that fine attitude before the universally irremediable which wears the name of stoicism It is all a matter of proportion There should have been a remedy for that sort of thing And yet there is no remedy Behind this minute instance of life s hazards Heyst sees the power of blind destiny Besides Heyst in his fine detachment had lost the habit of asserting himself I don t mean the courage of self assertion either moral or physical but the mere way of it the trick of the thing the readiness of mind and the turn of the hand that come without reflection and lead the man to excellence in life in art in crime in virtue and for the matter of that even in love Thinking is the reat enemy of perfection The habit of profound reflection I am compelled to say is the most pernicious of all the habits formed by the civilized man I do recommend Victory especially if you re a fan of Joseph Conrad There are many complex messages and uestions hidden beneath its touching love story and adventurous plot There is much than meets the eye in this one At its core I would say that Victory is a profoundly sad novel with elements of pessimism but somehow it is also a novel that carries a message of hope You will have to wait patiently to A Succession of Bad Days get to the action part of the book the second half of the novel and even longer for everything to unfold the last few pages are the defining one in terms of characters destinies Nevertheless as readers you will be rewarded for your patience for this novel is not only beautifully written but written withreat mastery care and thought I read pretty much everything Conrad wrote back in the 80 s but having booked a holiday in Indonesia I had to take one of his far eastern novels Great to read about the dead calm Java Sea while looking out over the dead calm Java Sea Anyway1 No one writes better than Conrad in English Some are as The Multi-Orgasmic Man good but different Pynchon Dickens even Updike but no one is better2 Only those that haven t read him associate him with adventure books for boys What he is really about is the psychology of life what it takes to be a man the nature of virtue and vice what integrity means how women usally result in something bad happening you know boy s own adventure stuff Otherwise what soing to happen to the Empire and how will you cope with the trenchesBut seriously I m not oing to trivially outline the plot because that wouldn t add anything JC is a writer of immense stature and everybody should read him even women who in my experience don t really et him I read Carol Shields now it s your turn From BBC Radio 4 DramaThe world premiere of Harold Pinter s screenplay of Josef Conrad s last major novel in a special adaptation for radio by Sir Richard EyreIt s 1900 in the Dutch East Indies Disenchanted with life and humanity HEYST A MYSTERIOUS SWEDISH BARON LIVES ALONE ON A a mysterious Swedish Baron lives alone on a islandHe believes he can avoid suffering by cutting himself off from others but his life is altered when he visits the neighbouring island for a doctor s check up Here he meets and falls in love with Lena a young English violinist travelling across the Pacific with a small commercial ladies OrchestraSurrounded by predatory older men including the hotel manager Schomberg she is drawn to Heyst and the sense of mystery that surrounds him Together in the middle of the night they escape by boat to his islandSound Design John Leonard and Wilfredo AcostaDirector Richard EyreNarrator Simon Russell Beale. Struggles to save Heyst from the detachment and isolation that have inhibited and influenced his lifeMarked by a violent and tragic conclusion Victory is both a tale of rescue and adventure and a perceptive study of a complex relationship and of the power of love. .
Joseph Conrad ↠ 3 summary.
Novel with no expectations as I often have recoiled from Conrad s works in the past However after reading his The Secret Sharer and Falk A Reminiscence recently I had become a bit curious His language is d Axel Heyst the Swede is running away but since it is himself he wants to escape from that is clearly an unattainable The Great Passage goal Growing up with his crank of a father a widower in London Town the elder Heyst writes little books of his unpopular philosophy making a small profit from the few who like them and justets by Having fled his native land they didn t understand the Baron s unusual ideas not sure if he deserved that title as nowhere else does either He despises the world and they would dislike him too if he was known But Axel listens to his cold father maybe not the best for him if no other reason than peace of mind The boy feels alone when his father passed away nothing new Always a loner as if life was just a mirage not real nothing to The Beast House / After Midnight get excited over a walking unfeeling machine the detached man floats about on land and sea At last the dreamer arriving in the Dutch East Indies Indonesia with no plans in his aimless life After a failed business collapses heoes to a second rate Inn on a rather unimportant island to hear an all Off Leash (Freelance Familiars Book 1) girls band Zangiacomo s Ladies Orchestra a novelty in the 1890 s they play loud but not well who cares Except the wanderer it hurts his ears besides the women are noirls and their profession is not exactly being musicians The lonely placid Mr Heyst sees a young and pretty damsel in distress the other members are middle aged women being physically hurt by the wife of the Orchestra s leader she seems in need of help Lena the name he I Walk in Dread gives her she wanted something different for a fresh start Alma before didn t mingle with the audience between sessions men of course What worse is the odious inn keeper Wilhelm Schomberg has been harassing Alma Lena and he a married man with a homely wife Mr Heyst working fast with the helpful assistance of Mrs Schomberg she hasood cause her husband is a beast in secret the new couple fly to a remote exotic isle Nobody is happy not the corrupt Mr Zangiacomo or his evil wife or the rest of the notorious band certainly neither is the vile and disappointed MrSchomberg who spreads wild rumors about his enemy Axel Heyst to anyone silly enough to listen yes maybe just the two love birds care An opportunity happens when a trio of desperadoes stay in Schomberg s inn they cause trouble illegal The Life You Save gambling in the back room Pedro as big as an ape and as smart too sleazy Martin Richardo a born killer with delusions of adeuacy and their boss skeletal Mr Jones dead man walking aentleman almost before being asked to leave society for unspecific wrong doings The vengeful Schomderg spinning an elaborate crazy tale of hidden loot on Axel s island so the three criminal travel to the active fiery volcano isle much to the relief of the inn keeper breaking the tranuil isolated existence in the shall we say uniuehoneymooners paradise The couple liked to climb a high mountain reveling in the vast remote empty blue sea below Only the servant Wang for company in their modest house Death awaits the unfortunate on Samburan Island Joseph Conrad shows again his enius a man who learned a new language several and excelled in each What is this for story I have completed it and I still do not know Is it a tale of adventure If that is what Conrad meant it to be it moves too slowly All of the action takes place at the end Is it a romance a love story It cannot be classified as such either The characters are too aloof too lukewarm toward each other Is it meant to be a character study Perhaps but I felt not a thing toward any of the characters neither the primary nor the secondary ones An attachment develops between the expatriate London raised Swede Axel Heyst and Lena an orphaned and destitute fiddle player Axel lives as a hermit on a small island in the Java Sea where he had been manager of a coal company which has one bust Lena is one of an eighteen strong women s orchestra mistreated and bullied by the roup s owner and conductor They are shipped from port to port as cattle as things at the whim of their boss They are to please the men at the shows Now they are playing at a hotel in Surabaya on Java which was at this time a Dutch colony The story covers the period from October 1912 to 1914 These are the two central characters The story evolves around them but I doubt any reader will care a fig for either There are a handful of secondary characters a hotel keeper named Schomberg and a trio of three scoundrels who visit the hotel It is at this hotel where the women s orchestra is playing One of the scoundrels a Caribbean alligator hunter is drawn as a hirsute beast The lead figure of the trio abhors women all women Readers are t o l d of these characters peculiar traits but why they are as they are is not t o l d of these characters peculiar traits but why they are as they are is not Are d of these characters peculiar traits but why they are as they are is not Are put in the story for shock value For excitement Because this is intended as an adventure tale Probably No I do not think we are to analyze these figures What they do doesn t make sense Information is lacking At least Schomberg s hatred toward Axel should have been explained so readers et a better rip on the events that followWang is another secondary "figure in the tale He works for Axel Now I know that racism was commonplace during the colonial era One might " in the tale He works for Axel Now I know that racism was commonplace during the colonial era One might that Conrad is simply depicting what did exist In Conrad s telling Chinamen are referred to as chinks and Blacks as niggers Always and many times There is not the slightest hint that indicates the author sees this as wrong Not everyone of the early 1900s was racist I find this aspect of the writing revolting It disturbed me than I thought it would The author s nonchalance disgusts meFinally I also dislike the prose style It is wordy It is too fancy too randiose A writer must fit the prose to the story told This is not done hereSo maybe this story is meant to be a romance an adventure tale and a character study a mix of all three The problem is that none is done well in any case not to my likingDavid McCallion narrates the audiobook He dramatizes but not in excess You can hear what is said There is too much of an uppity English twang for my liking I have Fit For The Chase; Cars And The Movies given the narration two stars It s OK Typhoon 4 starsHeart of Darkness and Other Tales 3 starsA Personal Record 3 starsVictory 1 starUnder Western Eyes TBRLord Jim TBRThe Secret Agent TBRThe Nigger of the Narcissus maybe If you feel like reading a complex psychological novel that will make you ponder the meaning of life this is a book for you Not that you will be provided with any definite answers mind you Victory strikes me as a rather ambiguous work one that is intentionally left open to interpretations Conseuently if you like clear uestions and answers this is not a novel for you for there is a lot to ponder in this one Nevertheless I must hurry to add the novel is not written as a meditativephilosophical essay or anything like that Not at all This philosophical aspect of the novel is what first comes to my mind because it is what personally interests me the most but really there is the main story sub stories plot and all for some perhaps this main story is the most important aspect of the novel For me it is the character study but these things are always subjectiveSo If I were to be objective I would have to add that there is a romantic story within this novel On surface it is a love story with elements of adventure You have a typical damsel in distress syndrome a young lady in love with a man who offered her protection plus a whole cast of villains to spice things up That does sound like an adventure doesn t it There is than romance and adventure to this novel though Once the action picks up Victory turns into a psychological thriller In a way perhaps it is possible to say there are elements of psychological thriller from the very start but naturally this is open to interpretation I won t attempt to put this novel into any fixed category However I will say that if youo into this one expecting Conrad to weave infinite meaning into a story and show off this mastery over language well you won t be disappointed Basically many typical Conrad elements and formulas are present in this one In Victory you will find an impressive cast of characters introduced and described within a complicated narrative that somehow manages to feel intimate I always wondered how Conrad manages to do that but now that I think of it he s hardly the first English author who has used a complicated narrative voice think of Wuthering Heights and managed to make it sound plausible Conrad is a reat writer no doubt about that and as I already said Victory is written in his signature style Typically for Conrad the protagonist of the novel will face moral dilemmas and re examine his view of the world The setting for this novel is a tropical destination inhabited by both locals and Europeans Hence there are some colonial references I would say that a motif of cultural and civilization clash is present but not very prominent The ending might appear rushed but I think it was actually carefully planned The slow introduction is necessary because of the detailed character study The protagonist of this novel Heyst needs a long introduction because it is the only way we can truly understand his actions in my opinion Imagine if we didn t know anything about his past well we readers would probably judge him insensitive Personally I found Heyst absolutely fascinating As a young man Heyst was disappointed in life His dyi. Once But his life alters when he rescues a young English irl Lena from Zangiacomo's Ladies' Orchestra and the evil innkeeper Schomberg taking her to his island retreat The affair between Heyst and Lena begins with her release but the relationship shifts as Lena.