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Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
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LORD JIM

BY JOSEPH CONRAD



AUTHOR'S NOTE


When this novel first appeared in book form a notion got about that
I had been bolted away with. Some reviewers maintained that the work
starting as a short story had got beyond the writer's control. One or
two discovered internal evidence of the fact, which seemed to amuse
them. They pointed out the limitations of the narrative form. They
argued that no man could have been expected to talk all that time, and
other men to listen so long. It was not, they said, very credible.

After thinking it over for something like sixteen years, I am not so
sure about that. Men have been known, both in the tropics and in
the temperate zone, to sit up half the night 'swapping yarns'. This,
however, is but one yarn, yet with interruptions affording some measure
of relief; and in regard to the listeners' endurance, the postulate
must be accepted that the story was interesting. It is the necessary
preliminary assumption. If I hadn't believed that it was interesting I
could never have begun to write it. As to the mere physical possibility
we all know that some speeches in Parliament have taken nearer six than
three hours in delivery; whereas all that part of the book which is
Marlow's narrative can be read through aloud, I should say, in less than
three hours. Besides--though I have kept strictly all such insignificant
details out of the tale--we may presume that there must have been