«One goes on recognizing the landmarks of the predecessors, excited, amused, taking the hard luck and the good luck together… the picturesque common lot that holds so many possibilities for the deserving or perhaps for the lucky. Yes. One goes on. And the time, too, goes on… till one perceives ahead a shadow-line warning one that the region of early youth, too, must be left behind.»
Written in 1915 and first published in 1917, The Shadow-Line is a subtle and penetrating analysis of the nature of manhood. The short novel is based upon Conrad’s youth experiences to which he often returned in his fiction. A young captain, at his first command, has to face many troubles : a dead calm, the crew weakened by tropical fever, and his mate convinced that the ship is haunted by the wicked spirit of the previous captain.