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Youth

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,046 ratings  ·  72 reviews
"Youth" is an autobiographical short story by Joseph Conrad. Written in 1898, it was first published in Blackwood's Magazine, and included as the first story in the 1902 volume Youth, a Narrative, and Two Other Stories. This volume also includes Heart of Darkness and The End of the Tether, stories concerned with the themes of maturity and old age, respectively. "Youth" dep...more
Paperback, 30 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 (first published 1896)
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John
I was expecting to have to wait in line for a lecture (by sculptor Richard Serra), I hate to waste time, I hate to hold heavy books in my lap, so I grabbed this Penguin 60 off my self to pass the time.

Reading this, I realized that male psychology hasn't changed much in a century. Conrad expresses basic male heroic yearnings, youthful enthusiasms and a poignant understanding of their eventual decline that seems as valid today as when they were written.

I also wondered if there is a relationship b...more
Simon Bendle
Youth is about middle age; about the time when the “glow in the heart” dims and we look back in awe at the boundless faith of our early years. Like Heart of Darkness, it’s narrated by Charles Marlow. And like Heart of Darkness, it’s absolutely stunning, an unforgettable story, a book I will return to again and again.

Over a bottle of wine with friends, Marlow tells the tale of his disastrous first sea voyage to the East. Storms, collisions and explosions beset his vessel. Whatever can go wrong,...more
Sam
This is a short story, not a book length treatment. It tells the story of a young seaman, who signs up on a ship, Judea, for trip to Bangkok. The young seaman, Marlow, is narrating the story many years later in a small group over drinks. Marlow fondly recalls the enthusiasm, vitality, and the irrepressible desire for adventure of his youth. The trip, however, becomes a series of delays, problems, setbacks, culminating in an amazing mishap. But Marlow, and the captain and other officers, never gi...more
Sylvester
A short piece about a young man's first voyage as First Mate. It beautifully expresses what it is like to be young and filled with a sense of responsibility and the thrill of feeling one's power to succeed against the odds. This has got to be one of Conrad's best stories, possibly because it is so near to his own experience. I love how Marlow is so buoyed by the opportunity to prove himself that he sees the dire situation as an adventure, something to talk about later, rather than the disaster i...more
Nathan Kellari-tranter
Thought that this was a more pleasant book than Heart of Darkness and I enjoyed it more. Although hard to picture some of the scenes because of my lack of familiarity with sailing terms-of which there are many-I really thought this was a beautiful story. The young man who feels his youth trekking into the unknown for a romantic vision of the east that ends in catastrophe. I don't think I fully understood the deep representations, and this has made me realise that I don't think I really drew the...more
Aasem Bakhshi
Oh man, can a Polish guy prove to be such a word-smith of English language? Such lucidity, such craft, such force of imagination...can one read him and fail to see the image he intends to interweave with 26 dumb symbols...pass the bottle.
Lori Anderson
Jan 28, 2009 Lori Anderson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Conrad fans
Recommended to Lori by: no one
This was a very quick read, being quite short, but I liked it. At time humorous, always full of adventure. If there was symbolism to tear apart, I paid not a bit of attention to it -- Joseph Conrad was pretty much ruined for me because of that due to Senior Lit class.

I've still got "The Secret Sharer" and "Heart of Darkness" to re-read, and to actually ENJOY this time since I'm no longer being forced to read them and write literary criticism -- looking forward to that!

Lori Anderson

Lori Anderson...more
Gerard Fleck
Joseph Conrad, the master of the sea story, tells a tale of being young and sailing from England to India aboard a doomed ship. This is a short story, but it's quite possibly my favorite piece of literature. It demonstrates Conrad's mastery as a writer. If you've experience the hardships and romance of being a sailor--crossing oceans aboard ship, travelling slowly to foreign lands, seen the raging sea in a storm or felt the heat of the sun on the equator--then read this story because it will spa...more
Shelbi
This book was a much smoother read than I was anticipating. I don't know much when it comes to the world of boats, sailing, and sea-faring, but Youth was much more than that. This was the story of persistence - and more importantly - a reminder to never give up no matter what is thrown at you. The narrator, Marlow, tells his story of his days at sea in his youth (thus the title) and reminds his audience that there are no greater days than those when you are young. All of the things that Marlow a...more
David
Third time reading this story, one which my father told me ca. 1936 he greatly admired. It certainly grips one with its quiet voice, constant action, describing the delightful feeling of a 20-year old sailor who finds in the East a mystery, an attraction, and an intriguing wonderful lands for the spirit of Youth to embrace.

I would give it 5 stars were it not for what I found to be an overuse of the word "like" and because the very concluding two pages do not seem as elegantly composed as I would...more
Brian
This was the first writing I've experienced from Mr Conrad, written about the age of sailing ships... I found it very well written. I loved the ending which is poetic and apt. A short, yet gratifying read.
Yngvild
I like sea-faring yarns, and Youth is a great example. Joseph Conrad called it a “feat of memory”, a semi-fictional retelling of a trip in a leaky tramp ship hauling coal from England to Bangkok. The narrator is Marlow, Conrad’s irresistibly chirpy and invariably competent and responsible alter ego.

The mention in Youth of a crew that refused to take the leaky Judea out to sea made me look up maritime law for the period. Until 1871, it was illegal for seamen to refuse to go to sea even in a so-c...more
Librariasaurus
A good short read. This book is hard to find and nobody I know has ever heard of it, and I am studying creative writing! I only came upon it by chance when it was included at the back of my copy of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Youth was written after Heart of Darkness but is set before it, so I suppose you could call it a prequel.
It covers Marlow's time at sea prior to his voyage through the Congo in Heart of Darkness, he is second mate on the Judea which is befallen by a number of issues prior t...more
David
I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more --the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort --to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires --and expires, too soon, too soon --before life itself.
Simona Pierrovskaia
In this book we have a freakish Marlow that once is not engaged with Mr Kurtz's vices and his horror, but is simply a youngster shipped on a boat of madmen that learns how to become adult. Here the epic of Heart of Darkness is far, so far, and instead of fog and moist we havethe sparkling of the sea foam, the lightness of the silent landscape of Asia, and the exuberance and senselessness and pride of being Young and strong. This is the story of an initiation. An inititation without corpse heads...more
Caio
It's a short story, so you can't really expect the full Conrad experience. But the simple and keen characterization is still there. It's a good story about youngman's drive and oldman's cheerful hindsight, with some funny moments and a lot of troublesome explosive developments.

As usual for Conrad, researching some of the sailing terms is important to get a clear picture of what's happening.
Lucy
The descriptions of events at sea, as usual with Conrad, are excellent. But when all's said and done, this is just a short story of an exciting sea voyage, with none of the characteristic Conradian depth and meaning. He hammers home the 'wasn't it great to be young' point too often - if this were one of his novels, we'd have been left to infer that for ourselves. So, a gripping tale but only on a superficial level.
Marshall Stevens
I read this as a prelude to Heart of Darkness. The narrator of this story is the same as in Heart of Darkness and it was certainly a vivid tale. Albeit the message of Youth being somewhat negative, the overall theme is a remembrance of past follies with a fond recollection of the brightened perspective.
Cat
I would have loved to continue with Heart of Darkness and the other stories in this collection but I have no idea where this book got to. I did enjoy this little novella though. The stakes were high, man v. nature conflict, big characters, ambitious.
Lyn
Loved it. Youth by Joseph Conrad is a short, tragi-comic and brilliant portrait of a middle-aged man looking back to the vibrance and enthusiasm of his youthful self. The narrator is none other than Marlowe, Conrad’s intrepid voice from Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim, and the story again finds him gathered with a group of close friends and he is remembering a tale from his youth. But where Heart of Darkness was a brooding, psychological inspection, Youth is a brief character study of a young man...more
Jamille
I never purchased this book, rather I purchased Heart of Darkness and this was included. Upon reading the brief of this I found myself thinking it wouldn't take my fancy. As usually im not very interested in boat stories. How wrong I was this is an enthralling read, even though there was a lot of boating terms I wasn't familiar with I found the descriptions wonderful. I also loved how Conrad captured the enthusiasm of a young inexperience's boy and his journey to manhood. Conrad also captures hi...more
Sarah Sammis
"Youth" is a companion piece to "Heart of Darkness" and is the first story in Youth, a Narrative, and Two Other Stories . The finally story is "The End of the Tether." Like "Heart of Darkness", "Youth" is a narrated by Charles Marlow and is an account of his first voyage east. While "Heart of Darkness" is about the destruction of one man's soul and mind, this is the tale of a ship's demise by all means possible. "Youth" is a more light-hearted affair to read and certainly easier for me to follow...more
Dalal Abu Hilal
A high level description for an incredible experience ..( biographies are always top stories) ... تجربة إبحار في القرن التاسع عشر لشباب من اصول مختلفة على متن سفينة مارين بريطانية, مسرودة بوصف ادبي دقيق .. مشوّق ~ وبها الكثير من العِبَر
Tom Karre
Loved this story, one of my favorites of all time.
Mike
Average. Some nice thoughts and descriptions.
Al Maki
A story of the vanity of human wishes.
Erez Levinberg
Simply Amazing Prose
Kevin
This little novelette powerfully and poetically evokes the the moment of testing that makes a boy into a man the old-school way: in battle with the elements at sea. Speaking from the point of view of his older, wiser, more experienced self, the narrator Marlow spins a compelling sea yarn to his older, wiser friends which is really a figleaf for an older man's wistful paean to the thrill and untarnished excitement of a youth that will never come again. Really beautifully written, kept me attentio...more
Tim Benoit
...Pass the bottle


I can imagine how this might be a difficult read for those who aren't nautically inclined. If you try reading this; fair winds and following seas. I'd suggest keeping the bookmark towards the endnotes page.
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Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski ) was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

Conrad left his native Poland in his middle teens to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He joined the French Merchant Marine and briefly employed himself as a wartime gunrunner. He then began to work aboard Bri...more
More about Joseph Conrad...
Heart of Darkness Lord Jim Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer Nostromo

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“O youth! The strenght of it, the faith of it, the imagination of it! (...) I think of her with pleasure, with affection, with regret - as you would think of some one dead you have loved. I shall never forget her.... Pass the bottle.” 7 likes
“And after some talk we agreed that the wisdom of rats had been grossly overrated, being in fact no greater than that of men.” 5 likes
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