The work, written in 1896 and partly based on Conrad's experiences of a voyage from Bombay to London, began as a short story but developed into a novella of some 53,000 words. As it grew, Conrad began to think of its being serialized. After Smith Elder had rejected it for the Cornhill Magazine, William Ernest Henley accepted it for the New Review, and Conrad wrote to his agent, Garnett, "Now I have conquered Henley, I ain't 'fraid o' the divvle himself!" Some years later, in 1904, Conrad described this acceptance as "the first event in my writing life which really counted". In the United States, the novel was first published under the title The Children of the Sea: A Tale of the Forecastle, at the insistence by the publisher, Dodd, Mead and Company, that no one would buy or read a book with the word "nigger" in its title, not because the word was deemed offensive, but because a book about a black man would not sell. In 2009, WordBridge Publishing published a new edition titled The N-Word of the Narcissus, which completely excised the word "nigger" from the text. According to the publishers, the offensive word may have led readers to avoid the book, and thus by getting rid of it the work was made more accessible. Although praised by some, others denounced the change as censorship
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Joseph Conrad's account of the voyage of a sailing-ship from Bombay harbour to the Port of London combines uniquely the skills of the master mariner with the power of the master novelist. It evokes in intense and exact detail what it felt like to negotiate the great wind belts of two oceans. But is is also Conrad's first major exploration of the psychology of service-of the pressure on a group of seamen 'brought to the test...of the moral problems of conduct' by their encounter with elemental nature and with the secret terrors and evasions of two of their comrades.
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Book Description Penguin Classics, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0140431705