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Almayer's Folly

Almayer's Folly is the first novel by author Joseph Conrad. It was first published in 1895. It is not as popular as Conrad’s other novels, and has only been adapted to film a few times. On the surface, the novel focuses on the life of a poor Dutch trader named Kaspar Almayer and his dealings with the native people in the jungles of Borneo while he searches for a gold mine. However, like many of Conrad's other works, Almayer's Folly is also a critique of European racial relations with natives of the many lands they colonize.

Almayer's Folly

The titular character of Almayer's Folly dreams of becoming wealthy through finding a hidden gold mine. A white European, he marries a native of Malay, and has a daughter named Nina. A Malayan prince named Dain Maroola is attracted to Nina. Almayer's wife approves of the relationship because she does not trust the white Europeans. Dain, in an effort to improve relations with Almayer, vows to find the gold mine. When he does, he tells a Malayan rajah about the mine, instead of telling Almayer first. Eventually, Nina, Dain, and Almayer's wife all abandon Almayer, and the Dutchman becomes addicted to opium and dies.

The title of the novel refers to Almayer's house. He built a lavish domicile to welcome British invaders which never came, causing the locals to call it “Almayer’s Folly.” The title also refers to the way in which Almayer wasted his life chasing gold, instead of developing a better home life.

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