The Arrow of Gold

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First UK edition (publ. T. Fisher Unwin)

The Arrow of Gold is a novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1919. It was originally titled "The Laugh" and published serially in Lloyd's Magazine from December 1918 to February 1920.[1] The story is set in Marseille in the 1870s during the Third Carlist War. The characters of the novel are supporters of the Spanish Pretender Carlos, Duke of Madrid. Curiously, the novel features a person referred to as "Lord X", whose activities as arms smuggler resemble those of the Carlist politician Tirso de Olazábal y Lardizábal, Count of Arbelaiz.[2]

The narrator of The Arrow of Gold has considerable involvement in the story and is unnamed. The principal theme is a love triangle which comprises the young narrator, Doña Rita and the Confederate veteran Captain Blunt (named for Simon F. Blunt).[3] Doña Rita finances the operations of the narrator's vessel, Tremolino which smuggles ammunition to the Carlist army. Nautical operations are detailed in the Tremolino chapters[4] of The Mirror of the Sea rather than in this novel.

Conrad dedicated the novel to his friend, the author, critic and journalist Richard Curle.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Serial Publication of Joseph Conrad's Fiction". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  2. ^ Conrad himself claimed to have smuggled arms for the Carlists along the Mediterranean coast, but there are conflicting views on authenticity of these accounts; some doubt it, see Zdzisław Najder, Życie Conrada-Korzeniowskiego, Warszawa 1980, ISBN 9788306001716, pp. 45-50, and some accept it, see Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Affinity and Revulsion: Poland reacts to the Spanish Right (1936-1939), [in:] Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, John Radzilowski (eds.), Spanish Carlism and Polish Nationalism: The Borderlands of Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Charlottesville 2003, ISBN 9781412834933, p. 48
  3. ^ Rintoul, M. C. (1993). Dictionary of Real People and Places in Fiction. Taylor & Francis. p. 211. ISBN 9780415059992.
  4. ^ Conrad, Joseph "The Mirror of the Sea", chap XL-XLV
  5. ^ Knowles, Owen; Moore, Gene M. (2011). "Curle, Richard [Henry Parnell]". In Knowles, Owen; Moore, Gene M. (eds.). Oxford Reader’s Companion To Conrad. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ Karl, Frederick R. (1979). Joseph Conrad: The Three Lives. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 824.

External links[edit]

The Laugh (later called The Arrow of Gold) in Lloyd's Magazine (December, 1918-February, 1920). URL