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BY JOSEPH CONRAD
When this novel first appeared in book form a notion got about that I
had been bolted away with. Some reviewers maintained that the work
starting as a short story had got beyond the writer's control. One
or two discovered internal evidence of the fact, which seemed to amuse
them. They pointed out the limitations of the narrative form. They
argued that no man could have been expected to talk all that time,
and other men to listen so long. It was not, they said, very credible.
After thinking it over for something like sixteen years, I am not
so sure about that. Men have been known, both in the tropics and
in the temperate zone, to sit up half the night 'swapping yarns'.
This, however, is but one yarn, yet with interruptions affording
some measure of relief; and in regard to the listeners' endurance,
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