Set in the islands of the Malay Archipelago, Victory tells the story of a disillusioned Swede, Axel Heyst, who rescues Lena, a young English musician, from the clutches of a brutish German hotel owner. Seeking refuge at Heyst’s remote island retreat on Samburan, the couple is soon besieged by three villains dispatched by the enraged hotelier. The arrival on the island paradise of this trio of fiends sets off a terrifying series of events that ultimately ends in catastrophe.
“With Victory , Conrad inaugurated a new style and aesthetic,” writes Peter Lancelot Mallios in his Introduction. “The tremendous literary sophistication to be found in Victory does not result in the exclusion of the popular reader.”
The text of this Modern Library Paperback Classic was set from the first British edition, published by Methuen & Co. in 1915.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Victory|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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There is, as every schoolboy knows in this scientific age, a very close chemical relation between coal and diamonds. It is the reason, I believe, why some people allude to coal as “black diamonds.” Both these commodities represent wealth; but coal is a much less portable form of property. There is, from that point of view, a deplorable lack of concentration in coal. Now, if a coal-mine could be put into one’s waistcoat pocket—but it can’t! At the same time, there is a fascination in coal, the supreme commodity of the age in which we are camped like bewildered travellers in a garish, unrestful hotel. And I suppose those two considerations, the practical and the mystical, prevented Heyst—Axel Heyst—from going away.
The Tropical Belt Coal Company went into liquidation. The world of finance is a mysterious world in which, incredible as the fact may appear, evaporation precedes liquidation. First the capital evaporates, and then the company goes into liquidation. These are very unnatural physics, but they account for the persistent inertia of Heyst, at which we “out there” used to laugh among ourselves—but not inimically. An inert body can do no harm to any one, provokes no hostility, is scarcely worth derision. It may, indeed, be in the way sometimes; but this could not be said of Axel Heyst. He was out of everybody’s way, as if he were perched on the highest peak of the Himalayas, and in a sense as conspicuous. Every one in that part of the world knew of him, dwelling on his little island. An island is but the top of a mountain. Axel Heyst, perched on it immovably, was surrounded, instead of the imponderable