His first novels, Almayer’s Folly (1895) and An Outcast of the Islands (1896), established Conrad as an observer of persons under stress, self-destructive aliens in a luxurious but decaying environment. The Nigger of the Narcissus, the first of Conrad’s novels of shipboard life, depicts a crew facing moral problems of conduct and struggling to survive during a storm at sea. Lord Jim, the foremost artistic work of his early phase, introduced Marlow, Conrad’s famous narrator and alter-ego, and also introduced the author’s experimentation with chronology, narrative, and symmetrical plotting.
In his later period, dating from publication of “The Secret Sharer” and Chance in 1913, Conrad garnered public appreciation with his novels Victory and The Shadow-Line (1917). Victory is a Dickensian examination of evil, idealism, and isolation. The Shadow-Line reverts to Themes he had explored in “The Secret Sharer” and Lord Jim-the moral initiation into maturity.
The film Apocalypse Now (1979) translates Heart of Darkness to the military world of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Innovative and compelling, the film stirred considerable critical and public controversy. Four years in the making with a $30 million budget, the film received much publicity both before and after its release. Director Francis Ford Coppola, who had also produced The Godfather, treated his subject matter as art rather than focusing on the social injustices of the Vietnam War, which angered some people. Marlon Brando starred as Col. Walter E. Kurtz, Martin Sheen as Capt. Benjamin L. Willard, and Robert Duvall as Lt. Col. Kilgore. Capt. Willard’s role-the Marlow of the movie-is to find and kill Kurtz.