Genesis and production In the 'Author's Note' to Nostromo, Conrad says that around 1902 he came upon the memoirs of an American seaman who had once served on a schooner owned by a thief: 'The fellow had actually managed to steal a lighter [a large open boat, laden] with silver, and this, it seems, only because he was implicidy trusted by his employers, who must have been singularly poor judges of character.' Conrad reflected on this account of the theft, and:

It was only when it dawned upon me that the purloiner of the treasure need not necessarily be a confirmed rogue, that he could be even a man of character, an actor and possibly a victim in the changing scenes of a revolution, it was only then that I had the first vision of a twilight country which was to become the province ofSulaco, with its high shadowy Sierra and its misty Campo ..... Conrad was at work on Nostromo by the beginning of 1903.