Typhoon (novella)

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First UK book edition
Author Joseph Conrad
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Adventure story
Publisher Pall Mall Magazine
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
OCLC 2312277

Typhoon is a novella by Joseph Conrad, begun in 1899 and serialized in Pall Mall Magazine in January–March 1902. Its first book publication was in New York by Putnam in 1902; it was also published in Britain in Typhoon and Other Stories by Heinemann in 1903.

Plot summary[edit]

Typhoon is a classic sea yarn, possibly based upon Conrad's actual experience of seaman's life, and probably on a real incident aboard of the real steamer John P. Best.[citation needed] It describes how Captain MacWhirr sails the Siamese steamer Nan-Shan into a typhoon—a mature tropical cyclone of the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. Other characters include the young Jukes - most probably an alter ego of Conrad from the time he had sailed under captain John McWhirr - and Solomon Rout, the chief engineer. The novella classically evokes the seafaring life at the turn of the century. While Macwhirr, who, according to Conrad, "never walked on this Earth" - is emotionally estranged from his family and crew, and though he refuses to consider an alternate course to skirt the typhoon, his indomitable will in the face of a superior natural force elicits grudging admiration.


  • Captain MacWhirr, an empirical man without imagination.
  • Captain Wilson from "Melita", the "storm-strategist".
  • Jukes, the first mate (with no first name).
  • Jukes' absent friends - second mate Jack Allen and another mate from trans-Atlantic liner (addressee of Jukes' letter).
  • Solomon Rout, the chief engineer, an experienced seaman.
  • Second engineer Harry and third engineer Beale.
  • The boatswain.
  • The second mate.
  • Sailors, steward and cook of the "Nan-Shan".
  • The coolies, hired workers from India and China.
  • The clerk for Messrs. Bun-Hin Co.
  • Mrs Lucy MacWhirr, the Captain's wife.
  • Lydia MacWhirr, the Captain's daughter.
  • Mrs Rout, the chief engineer's wife.
  • Messrs Sigg and Son, the owners of the boat.
  • Owners and foremen from the building yard.

External links[edit]