In this 1901 short story inspired by Ford Maddox Ford’s ”The Cinque Ports”, Conrad works on the theme of alienation. It centers on a young man, Yanko, the sole survivor of a shipwreck off the coast of Kent. The locals, not knowing that a boat has sunk, shun him as he washes up on their shores. But he is taken in by an eccentric local, and little by little, Yanko learns some English and falls in love with the servant girl, Amy Foster. But he has not come to the end of his troubles yet and the community keeps him at arm’s length, terrified of his very difference.
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was a Polish-born author who left Poland in his teens to avoid enlistment in the Russian Army. He learned English aboard British ships and started writing in that language after settling in England. His most famous novel is ”Heart of Darkness” (1899), which was inspired by his experiences on the open sea.
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