Lot 205
  • 205

Conrad, Joseph

2,000 - 3,000 GBP
5,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Conrad, Joseph
  • An Outcast of the Islands. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1896
8vo, first edition of the author's second book, presentation copy inscribed by the author to his "oldest English friends", Mr and Mrs G.F.W. Hope ("To Mr + Mrs Hope | with the Author's affectionate regards. | 10th March 1896.") on front free endpaper, title-page in red and black, original dark green vertically ribbed cloth lettered in gilt on spine, top edge gilt, collector's folding box, occasional light spotting and browning, lower hinge split, extremities bumped, binding slightly soiled

G.F.W. Hope (1854—1930) was a lifelong non-literary friend of Conrad, whom the author first met in January 1880 through the sailing agent James Sutherland, after he had left the Europa and was renting a flat in Finsbury Park in North London. Hope was a merchant navy officer and, later, director of numerous companies. He had, like Conrad, served on the Duke of Sutherland (although at different times). A married man with a high forehead, trimmed beard and pointed moustache Hope was fond of cigars and of yachting. He later took Conrad out on his cruising yawl Nellie, immortalised in ‘Heart of Darkness’. With his friends W.B. Keen (an accountant) and T.L. Mears (a lawyer) he provided Conrad with the models for the group of auditors in the frame-narratives of ‘Youth’ and ‘Heart of Darkness’ (in the latter Hope was the model for the ‘Director of Companies’). Although Hope had virtually no intellectual interests Conrad clearly felt very close to him and maintained his friendship with him after the author began to move in literary circles.

In 1886 Hope was one of Conrad’s sureties when he became a British subject and, after the death of Conrad’s uncle in 1895, the author told his future wife that ‘Mr and Mrs Hope, as far as feeling could go, were the nearest relations he had in the world’ (see Jessie Conrad, Joseph Conrad as I Knew Him). In 1896 he was one of the witnesses for Conrad’s wedding, and the Conrads settled initially in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, in order to be close neighbours of the Hopes, and the two men continued their tradition of regular sailing on the nearby Thames.

It is not known what part exactly Hope played in Conrad’s financial disaster of 1896, when he lost his shares in a South African gold mine, though it appears Hope was the ‘unfortunate friend’ referred to in the letters who suffered similarly when the venture collapsed. When the Conrads moved from Stanford in 1898 they never lost contact with their friends. Conrad dedicated Lord Jim to them in 1900 (“with grateful affection after many years of friendship”); he also completed his great novel Nostromo in their Stanford home in August 1904. Earlier, in 1890, the Hopes had named one of their sons Conrad.


Mr and Mrs G.F.W. Hope, authorial inscription


Cagle A2a(1)