30 June

30 June 1920

2 Portland Villas, Hampstead - London

We are always waiting for the next book, always imagining that in the new book he will reveal himself fully: there will come floating in, on a full tide, his passion for the sea, his sense of style, his spectacular view of the universe, his romantic vision of the hearts of men, and we shall have the whole of Conrad - his measure - the bounds of his experience. These are large demands, but we do not think there is any doubt that they are more than satisfied by the appearance of The Rescue. This fascinating book revives in us the youthful feeling that we are not so much reading a story of adventure as living in and through it, absorbing it, making it our own. This feeling is not wholly the result of the method, the style which the author has chosen; it arises more truly from the quality of the emotion in which the book is steeped. What that emotion is it were hard to define; it is, perhaps, a peculiar responsive sensitiveness to the significance of everything, down to the slightest detail that has a place in his vision. Even in the sober low-toned beginning the author succeeds in conveying a warning as of an approaching storm; it is as though the silence was made to bear a mysterious implication. And in this heightened, quickened state of awareness we are made conscious of his passionate insistence upon the importance of extracting from the moment every drop of life that it contains, wherewith to nourish his adventure. [Review of The Rescue by Joseph Conrad, Athenaeum, 2 July 1920]