Joseph Conrad's early Malay fiction reflects his seafaring experiences in the East and expresses his misgivings about the assumptions of 'white superiority', of imperial power, and of the possibilities for romantic heroism that characterize the late nineteenth-century imperial romance. In fact Conrad was deeply sceptical about its promises of wealth, glory, and heroic reputation. Linda Dryden explores how Conrad used and subverted these tales of Empire to offer an unsettling vision of the imperial experience in Malaya. In Almayer's Folly and An Outcast of the Islands Conrad challenges the romantic aspirations of his characters; in 'Karain' he deliberately exploits the formula of imperial romance; and in Lord Jim he exposes the fragility of the notion of romantic heroism and gentlemanly conduct. Using illustrations from and references to many well-known novels of Empire, such as Haggard's Allan Quatermain, Dryden demonstrates how Conrad's early Malay fiction alludes to the conventions and stereotypes of popular imperial fiction.