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The Shadow Line is a novella based at sea by Joseph Conrad. The novella depicts the development of a young man upon taking a captaincy in the Orient, with the shadow line of the title representing the threshold of this development.

It has often been cited as a metaphor of the First World War, given its timing and references to a long struggle, the importance of camaraderie, etc. This viewpoint may also be reinforced by the knowledge that Conrad's elder son, Borys, was wounded in the First World War. The novella is dedicated to his son Borys.

Joseph Conrad (born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski (3 December 1857  – 3 August 1924) was a Polish novelist who wrote in English, after settling in England. Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, though he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties . He wrote stories and novels, often with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an indifferent universe. He was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non-English tragic sensibility into English literature.

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