11 October 2002
CONRAD, Joseph. Youth: A Narrative and two other Stories. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1902.
8o. 32-page publisher's advertisement dated "10/02" at end; Original decorated green cloth (slight fading to spine and minor wear to extremities). Provenance: Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds (presentation inscription); Jeffrey Young (sale, Sotheby's London, 14. Dec. 1992 lot 43).
FIRST EDITION, of Conrad's most important collection of stories, including "The Heart of Darkness." very early PRESENTATION COPY inscribed by Conrad on the front free endpaper: "Mr. & Mrs. Reynolds with the author's kind regards. 20 Nov 1902." This is just 7 days after the book's publication.
Mrs. Reynolds is presumably Mabel Reynolds, John Galsworthy's sister and author of Memories of John Galsworthy (London, 1936).
The three collected stories, "Youth," "Heart of Darkness," and "The End of the Tether," had all appeared previously in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Cyril Connolly counts this, along with Conrad's The Secret Agent, among the top hundred works in The Modern Movement: "Three stories including 'Heart of Darkness' from which Eliot took the epigraph 'Mistah Kurtz. He dead' for his 'Hollow Men.' This account of a superman running an ivory business in the heart of the Congo for a greedy sanctimonious Belgian company and brutalising himself and the natives in the process, is a masterpiece of sinister deterioration seen by a narrator who is himself profoundly altered by it. (Conrad was for a time captain of a Congo river steamer.) Kurtz is a Dorian Gray whose picture gets a little more frightening with every brush-stroke until in the final scenes everyone within reach--but one--is contaminated." Cagle A7a(1); Connolly The Modern Movement 14.
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