Joseph Conrad begins his 1917 short fiction “The Tale” with the image of a “large single window” which neatly frames “a long room” equipped with a “deep, shadowy couch” and a “low ceiling” (93). The scene here depicts the first of two settings in which the story takes place and is parallel, in all of its materiality, to the sea and its fierce waters, its “rocky, dangerous coast,” its “wall of fog,” its “great convolutions of vapours” (100). To begin his work by showcasing “the order of material appearances” (“Typhoon” 3) is not uncommon for Conrad, though I hope these lines establish the ways Conrad’s war story foregrounds discussions of the modernist encounter with the object as a nonhuman entity. The purpose is to claim for this little-studied text a seminal importance in Conrad’s oeuvre; a secondary purpose is to illustrate for Conrad studies, and for scholars interested in the relation between nature and new materialism more specifically, how Conrad uses “The Tale” to rethink his representation of the natural world. The new relation presented in “The Tale” is a shift from Conrad’s previous attention to the materiality of the natural world as symbol or uncaring backdrop. Here, the material world is both presence and actant, and Conrad uses “The Tale” to wrestle with the best ways to present that world in narrative form.