In one familiar account, Conrad’s potency as a writer was interrupted in 1910 by a major breakdown in health, followed by a steady decline in his creative powers. A biographical detail often overlooked in this narrative is that in that same year Conrad re-visited (as if by way of convalescence) that period of his life and area of the earth which had inspired almost all his early novels and tales: the Eastern world of the Malay Archipelago. The great works that followed – ‘The Secret Sharer’ and ‘Freya of the Seven Isles’ (1912), Victory (1915) and The Shadow-Line (1917) – likewise involved revisiting those early and decisive experiences provoked by his first encounter with non-European people in Asia.