Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Samburan (sahm-BEWR-ahn). Also known as Round Island, one of the thousands of small islands in the Malaysian archipelago, on which Baron Axel Heyst establishes the center of his Tropical Belt Coal Company. At its height, his company has offices in London and Amsterdam. After the death of Heyst’s partner, the only person remaining in Heyst’s house is his Chinese servant, Wang. On the side of the island opposite the house is a native village.

Although Heyst finds island life fascinating, he is generally disenchanted with it, even though he rarely feels lonely. He often sits in the main room of his house, under a picture of his father—a misanthrope and famous writer—and reflects.

Into this deserted wilderness Heyst brings Alma (whom he renames Lena), a women he has rescued from an obsessive-compulsive hotel owner at the nearest civilized island, three days journey by boat. In his sitting room, Heyst assures Lena that nothing can break in on them there.

Schomberg’s Hotel

Schomberg’s Hotel. Hotel in Sourabaya owned by Wilhelm Schomberg, who is obsessed with controlling Lena, one of the eighteen women in his hotel concert hall. Desperate to escape the hotel, Lena persuades Heyst to take her with him after a concert.

Other residents of the hotel include two very suspicious characters, Mr. Jones and Martin Ricardo, who gamble in the hotel’s shabby gaming room. These...

(The entire section is 490 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Critics have debated over whether Victory is too schematized or allegorical in its conception. Although the story is credible as...

(The entire section is 863 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Much of the interest in the novel concerns the philosophical attitudes of Axel Heyst and his desire to withdraw from human involvement....

(The entire section is 728 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Although at one time Victory was less highly regarded than some of Joseph Conrad's more famous novels, its stature as a work of art...

(The entire section is 428 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As has been noted, many literary precedents besides sea fiction and French realism have been suggested for Victory. Among works which...

(The entire section is 398 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Although the novel comes late in Conrad's career, Victory shows many affinities with the earlier Malaysian novels, including...

(The entire section is 236 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Rather surprisingly, Victory was almost immediately viewed as worthy material for a stage adaptation. Although Conrad gave some...

(The entire section is 463 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Gillon, Adam. The Eternal Solitary: A Study of Joseph Conrad. New York: Bookman Associates, 1960. Explores the key role that isolation played in Conrad’s life and work. Presents Victory as a melodrama that effectively discusses, in symbolic terms, the nature of solitude and its consequences.

Johnson, Bruce. Conrad’s Models of Mind. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1971. Explores Conrad’s continual readjustment of his fictions to fit changing philosophical models of human behavior and motivation. Discusses the way Victory reassesses the individual’s need for human solidarity and community....

(The entire section is 219 words.)