- Conrad, Joseph
- Almayer's Folly. A Story of an Eastern River. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1895
Although French by ancestry, Marguerite had grown up in Brussels before living in the Austrian sector of Poland. She later returned to Brussels. A rich cultural background feeds into her romantic novels (Yaga, esquisse de moeurs ruthenes [Yaga: A sketch of Ruthenian Ways], published in 1887; Demoiselle Micia, moeurs galiciennes [Miss Micia: Galician Ways], published in 1888-89 and La Madone de Busowiska, moeurs houtsoules [The Madonna of Busowiska: Hutsulian Ways], published in 1891). She contributed regularly to the Paris literary journal Revue des Deux Mondes.
This inscribed copy of Conrad’s first book is of special significance. The 110 surviving letters from Conrad to Poradowska mostly date between 1890 and 1895, and therefore report Conrad’s views on his first work. On 12 July 1894, for example, he noted ‘I don’t feel any interest in the fate of Almayer’s Folly. It is finished. Besides, it could in any case be only an inconsequential episode in my life’ (CL, I, 161). At the end of the month, while the novel was still under consideration by the publishers, Conrad wrote to Poradowska suggesting that they work on a French version for the Revue des Deux Mondes ‘not as a translation but as a collaboration’ (CL, I, 165). Conrad wrote about his interview with the publishers on 10 October 1894 when Fisher Unwin remarked ‘you are unknown and your book will appeal to a very limited public…’ (CL, I, 180) and on 2 May 1895 delivered the news that ‘the Scottish dailies have begun to review my Folly. Brief, journalistic, but full of praise… Now we are waiting for the London dailies… The first edition of 1100 copies has been sold.’ (CL, I, 214).