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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

Tales of an Eastern Port

The Singapore Novellas of Joseph Conrad

With an Introduction by Kevin Riordan
Singapore in the writings of Joseph Conrad: a node in the networks of colonial modernity.

In the 1880s, Joseph Conrad spent three extended stints in the colonial port city of Singapore, while working on ships around the region. Over the next thirty years, he would return to this place many times in his writing. Singapore is the principal, if sometimes obscured, port of call in Conrad’s fiction; it is the center of overlapping networks, colonial and commercial, religious and literary. His characters travel to upriver Borneo and to Bangkok, to Shanghai and to Sydney, and yet they tend to return to Singapore. 

This volume pairs for the first time two Conrad novellas that start in Singapore: The End of the Tether and The Shadow-Line.Together they provide a fleeting portrait of the developing city, through narrators who are uneasy with the trappings and workings of the colonial enterprise. These stories have renewed relevance as part of global modernist and oceanic literatures, and reading them now helps recall one chapter in Singapore’s long history as a vital site of cultural exchange, one that harbors and inspires distinctive storytelling traditions.

320 pages | 3 halftones | 6 x 9

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Joseph Conrad’s Double Visions of Singapore
The End of the Tether (1902)
The Shadow Line (a Confession) (1917)

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