"THE HORROR! THE HORROR!": VERY RARE INSCRIBED PRESENTATION FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE OF CONRAD'S YOUTH, CONTAINING THE FIRST BOOK APPEARANCE OF HEART OF DARKNESS
CONRAD, Joseph. Youth: A Narrative and Two Other Stories. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1902. Octavo, original green cloth. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $95,000.
Very rare presentation-association first edition, first issue, containing the first appearance in book form of Heart of Darkness—"one of the most powerful short novels in the English language" (Farrow, 14), inscribed by Conrad on the front free endpaper to his friend and adviser: "To Marguerite Poradowska, with the author's dear love. 20th Nov 1902."
"Youth" and "Heart of Darkness" were the first of Conrad's stories to attract wider attention. Conrad's "account of a superman running an ivory business in the heart of the Congo… is a masterpiece of sinister deterioration" (Connolly, Modern Movement 14). "A vast body of critical commentary has mined the dense richness and consciously paradoxical quality of this seminal modernist work, with its modern version of a Dantean journey into the Inferno, its Faustian figure of Kurtz provoking ambivalently fascinated horror… The influence of Heart of Darkness can be traced in writers as diverse as T.S. Eliot, Andre Gide, H.G. Wells, Chinua Achebe, William Golding, Graham Greene, V.S. Naipaul, and George Steiner, while Francis Coppola's film Apocalypse Now taps some of its rich imaginative possibilities by transposing it to the Vietnam War" (Stringer, 292). Also containing Conrad's story "The End of the Tether."
The recipient Marguerite Poradowska (1848-1937) was related to Conrad by her 1874 marriage to his cousin Aleksandr Poradowski, whom she met in Belgium. The couple lived in Ukraine for ten years before returning to Belgium, where she began a career as a writer, eventually authoring eight novels as well as novellas and short stories. She met Conrad in 1890 and the two began a correspondence that lasted for many years. First issue, with 32 pages of publisher's advertisements dated "10/02." Cagle A7a.1. Wise 10. Booklabel in clamshell box.
Interior clean; slightest toning to spine, far less than often found, very minor bumping to corners. A beautiful copy, scarce and desirable in this condition and especially so inscribed by Conrad.