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The Nigger of the Narcissus, Conrad, Letteratura inglese

Appunti di lingua e letteratura inglese per l'esame della professoressa Bendelli. Sono presenti nel documento delle oservazioni generali e presentazione personaggi dell'opera più famosa di Joseph Conrad: "The Nigger of the Narcissus: a Tele of the sea".

Esame di Lingua e letteratura inglese docente Prof. G. Bendelli

Anteprima

ESTRATTO DOCUMENTO

Consideration and characters of the novel “The Nigger of the

Narcissus”

by Joseph Conrad

1- introduction

“The Nigger of the Narcissus: a Tale of the sea”, published in 1897 is probably the masterpiece of

the Polish author. This novel has its roots in a real voyage from Dunkirk to Bombay in 1884, in

which Conrad was second mate. The “Narcissus” was a merchant ship built in the dockyard of

Glasgow in 1876 and used in particular to cover colonial routes, the main destinations were India,

South-East Asia and Africa. In 1884 it left the French dock of Dunkirk to reach the Indian

commercial port of Bombay. During the outward route there was a mutiny of the crew against the

officers, this fact forced the Scottish captain, Archibald Duncan, to dismiss the majority of them

once arrived at the dock of Bombay. Consequently he decided to employ new hands in order to

have enough sailors to cover the second part of the voyage. The new crew was finally formed by

men coming from different parts of the world. Among them there was also a Georgian nigger called

Joseph Barron, an expert sailor who suffered from tuberculosis when he boarded the ship and died

three weeks before the docking at the port of Dunkirk. This event hit Conrad who decided, in

summer 1896, to write a novel about this experience. We can’t say that “The Nigger of the

Narcissus” is a faithful logbook of the journey, nevertheless the inspiration comes from it. There are

some differences between the novel and the journey, for example:

VOYAGE OF THE NARCISSUS NOVEL

The majority of sailors weren’t English; The crew is almost completely formed by

Englishmen;

The captain was Scottish; The captain is English;

The “Nigger” was Georgian; The “Nigger” comes from St. Kitts, in the

Caribbean;

The final destination was Dunkirk; The destination was the port of London;

2- Characters

Captain Allistoun: He’s the chief of the Narcissus, described as a solitary wise man, he shows his

steadiness during the voyage when he orders James Wait to stay in the forecastle at the end of the

voyage. At the dock of London he was waited by his wife, a beautiful woman with a black dress. He

was born in Pentland Firth.

Mr. Baker: he’s the chief mate of the sailing ship, described as a rough man, he is beloved by the

crew and he’s fond of the Narcissus because he had been working on it for 7 years when Conrad

wrote the novel.

Old Singleton: he’s described as an old sea dog, the oldest member of the crew. He is tattooed like

a cannibal all over his chest and biceps, his face is sunburnt and his beard completely white. Very

interesting is the book which he was reading when the ship was docked in Bombay before the

departure, it is the “Pelham” by Bulwer Lytton. Singleton is a sort of prophet who foresees the


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Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in scienze linguistiche (BRESCIA - MILANO)
SSD:

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher lorenzo.poli.140 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Lingua e letteratura inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Milano Unicatt o del prof Bendelli Giuliana.

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