Literary Precedents for Nostromo

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While the political novels of Anthony Trollope may serve as remote backgrounds for Conrad's attempt to explore in novelistic form the effects of a revolution upon people of various social strata, his most proximate source was Frederick Benton Williams' On Many Seas: The Life and Exploits of a Yankee Sailor which contains the story of a single-handed theft of a boat-load of silver ingots during a Latin-American revolution, a story Conrad had himself heard on his voyage in the Gulf of Mexico in the mid 1870s. Stylistically his own Lord Jim is the precedent for Nostromo; both works are boldly experimental in this regard. For background Conrad read several studies of Latin America to supplement his own brief experience. Like many of his other works, Nostromo both shares and contributes to the armchair adventure into foreign lands.

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