Tales of Unrest

By Joseph Conrad

ISBN: 9781847496485

224 pages

RRP: £7.99 £6.39

These five stories were collected and published as Tales of Unrest in 1898, shortly before Heart of Darkness, the first of Conrad’s major novels. Ranging from the faraway and unfamiliar, where the acquisitiveness of colonial adventure is damningly exposed, to an ostensibly ordinary London household, these disparate tales display Conrad’s ability to explore and lay bare human nature.

Set in Central Africa, ‘An Outpost of Progress’ is suffused with irony and represents a ruthlessly mocking view of European imperialism. ‘Karain’ and ‘The Lagoon’ are exotic tales of the Malay Archipelago, with the former telling of disharmony and discord between Western traders and the indigenous inhabitants. ‘The Return’ recounts the story of, in the author’s own words, “a desirable middle-class town residence which somehow manages to produce a sinister effect”. The collection also includes ‘The Idiots’, the first of Conrad’s short stories to be serialized in an English magazine.


  • But for Conrad, the slightest glance, the smallest passing moment, and words themselves, all came weighted with unfathomable implications, signals to us that time is merely the mercy of eternity.

    Colm Tóibín

Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) was a Polish-born English novelist, whose works, most famously Heart of Darkness, took a cynical view of imperialism when the British Empire was at its apogee.