The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'
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The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' is a novella by Joseph Conrad that was published in 1897. Its publication has been described as beginning his major phase. It tells of the Narcissus, which is a merchant ship sailing from Bombay to London. James Wait is the last sailor to board the Narcissus and the first to leave. He is the only black member of the crew. His last name becomes ironic as the story unfolds. Because Wait is the last one to board ship and is late for the first roll call, the other characters in the novel are in a sense 'waiting' for him to arrive before the ship sets sail. Later the crew find themselves 'waiting' on Wait by doing his share of the work, taking care of him during his illness and obeying his every whim the best that they can.
The title had become so offensive in American English by the later 20th century that, in many colleges in the United States, it prevented this novel from being taught.
- ^ Stringer, Jenny, ed. The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English.
- Joseph Conrad's own 'Preface' to The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' .
- The Nigger Of The "Narcissus", available freely at Project Gutenberg
- Free typeset PDF ebook of The Nigger of the Narcissus and other Conrad novels optimized for printing at home.