3 March 2004
CONRAD, Joseph (1857-1924). Typescript with autograph corrections, a portion of a draft of Part IV, Chapter I (the final part to be completed) of Suspense, , a draft with emendations and cancellations, including three pages almost entirely in autograph, altogether 38 pages, 4to (numbered irregularly 272-315), part carbon copies; together with a carbon copy and a final typescript of the chapter as published; in a black morocco backed slip case.
PART OF CONRAD'S UNFINISHED LAST WORK. Conrad had conceived the outline of Suspense while staying at Montpellier at the end of 1906, and wrote to J.B. Pinker of his idea for 'a Mediterranean novel with historical interest, intrigue and adventure' (25 January 1907); although he announced its commencement in May 1912, he did not actually begin substantial work on Suspense until 1920; Part III had been completed by 13 March 1923, when he wrote to F.N. Doubleday that 'Of course, the novel will be finished, say, by September or October of this year'. A failure to meet such optimistic deadlines was quite characteristic of Conrad, and he was still working on the novel shortly before his death on 3 August 1924: the present draft is therefore one of the latest of his literary manuscripts. The work was published posthumously as Suspense. A Napoleonic Novel in 1925. In it, Conrad takes over the historical novel of manners with his characteristic ingredients of the tale of shipboard life and a current of international espionage.
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