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  • Introduction
  • Stephen Donovan (bio), Linda Dryden (bio), and Robert Hampson (bio)

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Figure 1.

The Smart Set, February 1914, front cover. Illustrator unidentified.

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"If one only could do without serial publication!" lamented Joseph Conrad to David Meldrum in April 1900 (CL 2: 260). Conrad's frustration can easily be appreciated. From 1896 onward, the demands of publishers, editors, a growing family, and, not least, his own spendthrift habits forced him to "place serially"—that is to say, to publish as single or multiple installments in newspapers and magazines—almost everything that came from his pen (CL 2: 296, 3: 22). In the three decades of prolific writing that followed, only two short stories, a few pieces of prose nonfiction, and two collaborations with Ford Madox Ford failed to make their debut in serial form. As Conrad emphasized to his agent James Pinker, a former editor of Pearson's Magazine who arranged and oversaw most of these transactions, "The serialising is the important part" (CL 2: 294).

The range of periodicals in which Conrad's work appeared, over a hundred in total, can only be described as astonishing: influential little magazines such as the Dial and the Transatlantic Review; military gazettes such as Fledgling and Reveille; metropolitan dailies such as the New York Tribune and the Westminster Gazette; university publications such as the Yale Review and the Oxford and Cambridge Review; fiction magazines such as Storyteller Magazine and Cassell's Magazine; general-interest organs such as Appleton's Booklovers Magazine and Canadian Magazine; literary journals such as the Bookman, the Academy, and The Smart Set (see Figure 1); muckraking magazines such as Ridgway's and Hampton's Magazine; and mass-circulation women's serials such as Delineator and Lloyd's Magazine. His writing appeared in magazines for alumni (the Oswestrian), war veterans (the British Legion), and missionaries (the Baptist Missionary Magazine). Among the numerous other periodicals that either solicited or received submissions from Conrad were Tit-Bits, Semi-Monthly Magazine, Broadway Magazine, Chapman's Magazine, Century Magazine, and Atlantic Monthly. [End Page 1]

This vast expanse of print can justifiably claim to be the last terra incognita of Conrad scholarship. The serialization of Suspense in Hutchinson's Magazine in 1925 only came to light again in the 1990s, and an uncollected essay by Conrad is known to languish in obscurity somewhere in the pages of the now-lost London Budget.1 Indeed, the preparation of Conrad First (, an online archive of Conrad's periodical publications, has turned up dozens of previously unknown serializations and reprinted extracts. To date, Conrad's work has been found in over 140 different newspapers and magazines in Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The true figure will be much higher. As early as September 1897, The Nigger of the "Narcissus" was appearing simultaneously in the Illustrated Buffalo Express, the Dallas Morning News, and its sister paper the Galveston Daily News—in which journals the serial was also concluded first—as well as in W. E. Henley's New Review. "The Brute," one of Conrad's most enduringly popular tales, appeared in London's Daily Chronicle (5 December 1906), McClure's Magazine (November 1907), the Hartford Courant (23-26 April 1921), the New York Tribune (1 May 1921), the Los Angeles Times (1 May 1921), the Baltimore American (8 May 1921), the Boston Daily Globe (2 December 1923), the Golden Book (November 1931), and the Argosy (March 1927 and again February 1945). A focused trawl of national and local newspapers by a team of researchers would almost certainly bring to light a veritable archipelago of syndicated works by Conrad.

Conrad's writing career would have been unimaginable without serialization. Not only were periodicals a primary source of income, but the pressure of supplying copy in time for their publishing deadlines also forced him to complete major works such as Nostromo, The Secret Agent, and Chance. It may have been the prestigious Blackwood's Magazine which, as Conrad claimed, "took my name wherever the English language is read" at the start of his career, but it was the circulations of popular magazines—the...


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