At its heart, this classic novel is a book about the sea. Published in 1900, Lord Jim was originally intended as a short story. It grew to a full-length book as Conrad explored in great depth the perplexing dilemmas of lost honor and guilt, expiation and heroism. An English boy from a simple village has bigger dreams than most around him, so he embarks at an early age into a sailor's life. Haunted by guilt over an act of cowardice, Jim becomes an agent at an isolated East Indian trading post. There, his feelings of inadequacy and responsibility are played out to their logical and inevitable end. The novel, which explores the nature of the human spirit, is a delicately crafted picture of a character who reaches the status of literary hero.