“Youth” is an autobiographical short story by Joseph Conrad. Written in 1898, it was first published in Blackwood's Magazine, and included as the first story in the 1902 volume Youth, a Narrative, and Two Other Stories. This volume also includes Heart of Darkness and The End of the Tether, stories concerned with the themes of maturity and old age, respectively. “Youth” depicts a young man's first journey to the East. It is narrated by Charles Marlow who is also the narrator of Lord Jim and Chance. The narrator's introduction suggests this is the first time, chronologically, the character Marlow appears in Conrad's works (the Author comments that he thinks Marlow spells his name this way). Similar to Joseph Conrad's better-known Heart of Darkness, Youth begins with a narrator describing five men drinking claret around a mahogany table. They are all veterans of the merchant navy. The main character, Marlow, tells the story of his first voyage to the East as second mate on board the Judea. The story is set twenty-two years earlier, when Marlow was 20.
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language.