An Outcast of the Islands

novel by Joseph Conrad

An Outcast of the Islands is the second novel by Joseph Conrad. It was published in 1896. It was based on Conrad's experience working on a steamer (ship), the Vigar.


The novel tells about the fall of Peter Willems. He is a bad man, and has a bad reputation. On the run from a scandal in Makassar, he finds a place to hide in a hidden native village. However, he betrays the people who are helping him, because of lust for the tribal chief's daughter. The story features the character Tom Lingard, who Conrad uses lots, and also appears in Almayer's Folly (1895) and The Rescue (1920). It shares other characters with those novels.

This novel was made into a movie in 1952 by director Carol Reed, starring Trevor Howard as Willems, Ralph Richardson as Lingard, Robert Morley, and Wendy Hiller.

The work was quoted in T. S. Eliot's The Hollow Men: "Life is very long.".