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The Shadow-Line

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,605 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
Written in 1915, The Shadow-Line is based upon events and experiences from twenty-seven years earlier to which Conrad returned obsessively in his fiction. A young sea captain's first command brings with it a succession of crises: his sea is becalmed, the crew laid low by fever, and his deranged first mate is convinced that the ship is haunted by the malignant spirit of a p ...more
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 136 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Oxford University Press (first published 1916)
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Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
"a man should stand up to his bad luck, to his mistakes, to his conscience and all that sort of thing Why--what else would you have to fight against?"
-- Joseph Conrad, The Shadow-Line


One of Conrad's later novels. This one was published in 1917. The story is pretty straight forward, the plot direct. It isn't an elaborate story, but one that explores that moment, that shadow-line between youth and adulthood. The basic story involves a young officer, suddenly thrust into command. During his first v
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Shadow-Line by Joseph Conrad describes that demarcation line in the journey of life that divides the happy, bright, fantastic and irresponsible youth with the darker ages of manhood. Conrad goes on to delineate this vision as being beyond the “charm and innocence of illusions”.

The Shadow-Line is one of his most accomplished nautical tales and stands close to Typhoon and Youth as almost entirely about the sea and man’s relationship to a vessel. Whereas Youth was of a young man’s first ventur
[La linea d'ombra è quanto di più lontano da un libro basato su colpi di scena e sorprese della trama; ma segnalo comunque che commentando farò riferimenti precisi a nomi e avvenimenti]

La prima forte impressione - per una lettura che, nella mia piccola tradizione personale di leggere sempre qualcosa di Conrad ogni agosto davanti al mare, viene dopo Nostromo e Lord Jim - è di una estrema semplicità narrativa.
In effetti questo è tutto un racconto filato, in prima persona (se vogliamo collocarlo ne
Vittorio Ducoli
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ognuno di noi l'ha scorta

La linea d'ombra è, con Cuore di tenebra, il più noto e il più acclamato romanzo di Conrad.
Si tratta in effetti di un testo che in poco più di 120 pagine (in questa edizione) presenta una varietà ed una stratificazione tematica straordinarie. A partire dal titolo, scelto non a caso da Conrad dopo avere scartato l'iniziale Primo comando, sono molti gli interrogativi che ci pone questo libro.
Cosa è la Linea d'ombra? La risposta immediata, ma non la più scontata, ce la dà l
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This novella, told in the first person by a young Englishman who is unnamed, is set, as are so many of Conrad’s stories, in a seaport in the Far East. The narrator has suddenly resigned a comfortable position as mate on a ship, apparently resigning what he acknowledges is a good position in a fit of vague malaise, a sense of inexplicable dissatisfaction, intending to book passage home to England. Abruptly, the position of master of another ship becomes available and is offered to him, and just a ...more
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

"Worthy of my undying regard"

To Borys And All Others Who,
Like Himself, Have Crossed In Early Youth
The Shadow-Line Of Their Generation With Love

—D'autre fois, calme plat, grand miroir De mon desespoir. —BAUDELAIRE

2* Amy Foster
2* The Secret Agent
3* Heart of Darkness
3* The Secret Sharer
3* The Lagoon
4* Lord Jim
4* Victory
3* The Shadow-Line
TR Nostromo
TR An Outcast of the Islands
TR The Idiots

About Joseph Conrad:
Joseph Conrad by Hugh Walpole
The English Novel:
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Conrad pens this fictionalized autobiography, which, for the most part is going to be difficult if not impossible to describe. Were I able to tell you, however, you would have the sense of it in the same way that you experience a fly buzzing the ether unseen. Enthralled within the movement of words, with eyes not wanting to leave the page, you will hear the story – whispering from behind the shadow line of it’s exquisite prose.

Every page a gift.

This book is about a young captain who is ha
Jun 12, 2014 rated it liked it
(It's tough to rate books like these. For writing skill, I'd easily give this 5* - Joseph Conrad is a master of his craft, and his grasp both of the seafaring life itself and also of human nature is unsurpassed (in my opinion) by any other writer. But for sheer enjoyment - 3*. Not every great book draws me in - does that make sense? I find it very tricky to rate because of this, and have often given a lesser novel a higher rating because I just flat out enjoyed it, when a really excellent book g ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Middling Conrad is still leagues ahead of most everything else. He sticks to the autobiographical script, probably to the story's detriment: it could have used a bit of embroidery. As it is, we, like the narrator, wait for the thunder and fear the lightning but get precious little of either. Had Conrad the energy to develop more of the crew as characters, there might have been more (or more complex) dramatic tension; but perhaps that would have been a misstep, too: this is, after all, a tale abo ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
ناخدای رمان «مرز سایه» در شرایطی کاملا خوب، دل از کار و همکارانش و زندگی اجتماعی میکند، و گوشه انزوا برمیگزیند، و تا مرز فروپاشی عصبی و فروافتادن به دل سایهها پیش میرود، اما به ترغیب دوستی دنیادیده، کار جدیدی برمیگزیند تا از دل تیرگی مرگ خارج شود. در بخشی از رمان «مرز سایه» آمده است: در زندگی، یک «خط سایه» وجود دارد، مرزی که هشدار میدهد با گذر از آن، از حیطه خامی و جوانی گذشتهاید. گذر از این مرز با گذراندن آزمونی بسیار دشوار، امکان مییابد. این شاید همان چیزی باشد، که روانشناسان از آن، با عنوان ب ...more
Maria Altiki
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Πρώτα από όλα να πω ότι αν η γραφή του Conrad δεν ήταν τόσο καλή δεν θα διάβαζα ποτέ ένα τέτοιο βιβλίο. Πρώτη μου επαφή με τον συγγραφέα και το θέμα του βιβλίου για μένα αδιάφορο. Περιγράφει την ιστορία ενός νεαρού ναυτικού που ενώ παρατά την εύκολη δουλειά του ως δεύτερος ναυτικός σε ένα εξαιρετικό καράβι, αναλαμβάνει να γίνει καπετάνιος σε ένα καράβι με πολλά προβλήματα. Γενικά πρόκειται για μια ιστορία ενηλικίωσης μέσα από τις δυσκολίες της ζωής αλληγορικά, μέσα από μια ναυτική περιπέτεια. Οι ...more
John David
I picked up this book much too casually and without any forethought, and because of this, didn’t give to the book the time and energy that it deserved. This is one of Conrad’s later stories, and happens to have a lot of autobiographical elements, in that it focuses on a young man who gets a commission to lead a ship into the Orient. Conrad’s first command was to sail a ship called the Otago from Singapore into Bangkok. Despite the death of the previous captain and the less-than-auspicious circum ...more
"E d'improvviso il buio divenne acqua"
Il racconto, in parte autobiografico, narra della prima esperienza come capitano di un giovane uomo e delle responsabilità che lui deve affrontare, diventando uomo e abbandonando la giovinezza e la spensieratezza che la accompagna. Il protagonista deve affrontare contemporaneamente due grossi problemi: una bonaccia che blocca la nave in mare, lontano da rotte battute e senza l'ausilio del motore, e una epidemia di febbre tropicale a cui non può porre rimedio
"a man should stand up to his bad luck, to his mistakes, to his conscience, and all that sort of thing. Why- what else would you have to fight against?"

On the surface this work tells a decent story with a non-preachy didactic feel. It is about a struggle for survival not by an independently strong and able hero, but a hero that uses his strength and abilities together with his crew to overcome their difficulties. This may seem formulaic but Conrad creates this world and meaning without seeming s
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un bel racconto di avventura, passione e amicizia; ma anche un viaggio introspettivo alla scoperta dei valori e delle debolezze degli esseri umani, che ad un certo punto si trovano a dover varcare linea d'ombra.
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Ah, the satisfaction of the short novel. Clocking in 132 pages, I was able to move swiftly through The Shadow-Line, which gave the narrative something of the sense of a deep inhale.

Among the overused tropes in book reviews--from 'Dickensian' to 'limn' to 'poignant'--count in the phrase 'deceptively simple.' And yet, much to my personal consternation, that's the phrase I want to pull here about Conrad's book. Because, dammit, it is deceptively simple.

In first-person retrospective prose marked by
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Conrad ‘The Shadow Line, a Confession’

“Wisdom comes not from age, but from education and learning.”
Anton Chekhov

In the years when Joseph Conrad wrote (1915) and published (1917) his short novel Shadow Line, A Confession, London was the capital of the world, as later Paris and now New York and perhaps in a few years Shanghai will be.
Artist and writers from all over the world gathered in London in those years, as did a constant stream of refuges mainly from Eastern Europe, among them Jose
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mi aveva affascinata l'idea di questa linea d ombra (il momento in cui nella vita si passa dalla gioventù all età adulta) che anch io nella mia vita ho avuto. Ma nonostante questo, non sono riuscita a immedesimarmi nel libro, sarà che le storie di mare non mi affascinano e per quanto fossi ben disposta nei confronti di questa metafora con la vita...bè no...non mi ha preso...! Amen!
Un libro da me letto senza nessuna aspettativa particolare e che non mi ha colpito sotto nessun aspetto, se non per certi dettagli di introspezione inseriti qua e là all'interno della narrazione.
Un racconto lungo che ruota attorno a personaggi a cui non sono riuscita ad affezionarmi o che comunque non mi hanno generato nessuna sensazione particolare: non mi sono sentita connessa ad essi per nessun motivo, vuoi per l'enorme distanza che mi separava da qualsiasi marinaio, vuoi perché nessuno è car
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
La prima metà di questo breve racconto autobiografico (appena 160 pagine) si tiene a galla a fatica. Non annoia nè appassiona. Nella seconda metà, finalmente, si riesce a condividere un lieve senso di tensione e incertezza col Comandante Conrad e con tutto l'equipaggio della sua Otago. Eppure... eppure c'è qualcosa che manca. Il libro non cattura; non piace come dovrebbe, non ti risucchia nella sua storia semi-esotica, e l'aura soffocante che imperversa sul mare piatto nei pressi di Bangkok semb ...more
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzi
Alcuni libri possono essere letti ed apprezzati solo in determinati momenti della vita. Se affrontati troppo presto non possono essere capiti, mentre presi in mano troppo tardi perdono in parte il loro significato, risultando piatti, noiosi. Se però vengono letti nel momento giusto accade una sorta di magia: la vita reale e la finzione letteraria si fondono, toccando nel profondo il cuore del lettore e aprendogli nuove prospettive, un nuovo universo.
Questo libro ne è un esempio perfetto, in qua
Dec 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No reason not to love Joseph Conrad. This brief bildungsroman (5 cents, cha-ching!), supposedly autobiographical, tells the story of a young captain whose first command is a boat of deathly malarial sailors, caught in the doldrums and short on quinine. It's gripping, chilling, etc. No one writes about sick men on boats (set adrift in all sorts of ways) like JC. I suppose now I should read Nostromo and Lord Jim.

Jeff A. gave me this paperbook, a Vintage reissue snagged from work. Thanks, dude. Wan
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this for my dissertation chapter on Conrad. I'm not sure if I am going to include it yet, but it needed to be read. It's a funny little story that doesn't seem to lead anywhere or accomplish anything, but maybe that's the point.
Nov 27, 2010 added it
Shelves: fiction
I found the first part of the book oddly hard to follow (perhaps because I read it in the vet's waiting room), but once the ship set sail I enjoyed it.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficciòn
Conrad nunca decepciona. Una buena novela corta que disfrutaréis durante unos 3 días. No está entre sus mejores 4-5 obras. Pero Conrad es una garantía.
Lila Dimaki
Νωχελικό,ατμοσφαιρικό και ταξιδιάρικο αλλά προσωπικά τα έργα που αφορούν τη θάλασσα (αν εξαιρέσω το Μόμπυ-Ντικ)δε με αγγίζουν.
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dorfles
Romanzo di formazione scritto impeccabilmente.

L'unico neo inevitabile: la terminologia barchereccia.
Elena Tamborrino
135 pagine di pura e perfetta noia. Alla fine, le ultime tre pagine degne di essere ricordate.
Dopo Cuore di tenebra , che non mi aveva entusiasmato, ho deciso di dare a Conrad un'altra chance, e non me ne sono affatto pentito. La vita marittima è uno sfondo perfetto per la vicenda interiore del protagonista, che si trova ad attraversare appunto la linea d'ombra della sua esistenza, ossia quel momento in cui, finita la giovinezza, si iniziano a fare delle vere scelte che indirizzeranno la propria vita, talvolta però senza esserne del tutto consapevoli o comunque non capendone fino in fon ...more
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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 Br
More about Joseph Conrad...

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“All my moral and intellectual being is penetrated by an invincible conviction that whatever falls under the dominion of our senses must be in nature and, however exceptional, cannot differ in its essence from all the other effects of the visible and tangible world of which we are a self-conscious part. The world of the living contains enough marvels and mysteries as it is—marvels and mysteries acting upon our emotions and intelligence in ways so inexplicable that it would almost justify the conception of life as an enchanted state. No, I am too firm in my consciousness of the marvelous to be ever fascinated by the mere supernatural which (take it any way you like) is but a manufactured article, the fabrication of minds insensitive to the intimate delicacies of our relation to the dead and to the living, in their countless multitudes; a desecration of our tenderest memories; an outrage on our dignity.” 30 likes
“The world of the living contains enough marvels and mysteries..acting upon our emotions and intelligence in ways so inexplicable that it would almost justify the conception of life as an enchanted state.
No, I am too firm in my consciousness of the marvellous to be ever fascinated by the mere supernatural...”
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