Nostromo, published in 1904, is considered one of the great English novels of the twentieth century. It was written by one of the truly preeminent novelists in English, Joseph Conrad. Set in the fictional mining town of Sulaco, in the imaginary country of Costaguana, Nostromo is much more character driven then other Conrad novels. Señor Gould and the “incorruptible” Nostromo are the main characters in the revolutionary time in which the story is set. Materialism, exploitation and the people’s response to it are themes explored (keep in mind Conrad himself was quite conservative).
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was of Polish ancestry and could not speak English fluently until his twenties. Yet, he was to become one of the great prose stylists in English literary history. Many of his novels take place in nautical settings, and depict challenges to human mental and physical capabilities in a manner which deeply explores the human soul. Conrad is considered to be an influence on later modernism, though his work can often be labeled at least somewhat romantic. His most influential work is Heart of Darkness, though Lord Jim, The Nigger of the Narcissus, Typhoon, The Secret Agent, Under Western Eyes and Nostromo are also still widely read and well thought of critically.
I think this Limited Editions Club (LEC) edition is very underrated. It can be found in fine or near fine condition for a very reasonable price. It is a large book, with beautiful, colorful, realistic and classic illustrations by Lima de Freitas (1927–1998), a Portuguese artist who illustrated over 100 books. Many of the illustrations are hand colored, and remain as bright and vibrant as the day they were completed. I will admit that the book’s spine of burlap took a bit for me to get used to, but now I like it (though the turquoise cover is still not my favorite). All in all, the book quality to price ratio is one of the best around for LEC’s.
About the Edition
- Designed by Adrian Wilson
- Introduction by Rupert Croft-Cooke
- 65 pen drawings by Lima de Freitas, 25 of which colored by hand through stencils in the studio of Walter Fischer in New York who also signs the edition
- 12 point Bulmer type on Basingwerk Parchment specially made for this edition at the Abbey Mills in North Wales
- Printing by Taylor & Taylor in San Francisco (this is the last book ever printed there)
- Binding of turquoise linen cloth stamped in aluminum foil on the front cover, with a shelf back of brown burlap bearing a turquoise linen label also stamped in aluminum
- Binding by Russel-Rutter Company in New York
- Lima de Freitas signs the edition
- 8 1/2″ by 11 1/8″, 408 pages
- Limited to 1500 copies, mine is #13
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