CONRAD, Joseph (1857-1924). Autograph manuscript corrections and emendations, signed (four times, once with intials), on the typewritten draft of his 'Author's Note' for the second edition of Victory, n.p., May 1920, inscribed in autograph 'First Draft', signed ('Joseph Conrad') and dated at the head on first page, including corrections, cancellations and emendations of words, phrases and sentences on every page, signed three times on last page ('J.C.', 'Joseph Conrad' and 'J. Conrad'), 10 pages, 4to, bound into an album, dark blue morocco, by Stikeman & Co. Provenance: John A. Spoor; Frank J. Hogan (bookplate).
The extensively revised typescript draft in its final form, including at the foot on the last page Conrad's autograph note: 'Original text first draft dict[at]ed to the machine. One copy (and carbon) embodying all corr[ecti]ons made for printers Eng[lan]d and U.S. J. Conrad'. For some years past, a problem with his wrist had prevented Conrad from writing easily by hand, and he dictated his work, correcting it in autograph. The Note begins by referring to the time at which Victory was first published, and to the 'vanished mood' in which it was written: 'It came out in the thirteenth month of the war, and my conscience was troubled by the awful incongruity of throwing this bit of imagined drama into the welter of reality, tragic enough in all conscience but even more cruel than tragic and yet more inspiring than cruel. It seemed awfully presumptuous to think there would be eyes to spare for those pages in a community which in the crash of the big guns and in the din of brave words expressing the truth of an indomitable faith could not but feel the edge of a sharp knife at its throat'. Recollections of the models for the principle characters conclude with a sketch of his sighting in Paris of 'Lena', the allegorical figure who the first narrator, 'Axel Heyst', was to take with him to Samburan.
Victory An Island Tale was first planned in 1912, as a short story entitled 'Dollars'. Like Lord Jim, it grew into a full-length novel, and was published in 1915 first in New York and then in London, and dramatised in 1919. The present Author's Note was printed in the second edition of the work in 1920, which also included his introduction to the 1915 edition, 'which bears witness to the feelings with which I consented to the publication of the book'.