That Conrad’s novels and shorter tales are rife with dangerous women has often been noted. Typically, the beauty, exoticism and richly sexual allure of these women threaten the protagonists’ self-possession that is tantamount, for them and for Conrad, to masculine integrity and self worth. But woman in these fictions constitutes a threat not only to the protagonists’ success, survival, or well being, but to the coherence of Conrad’s texts. Deeply embedded in an ancient and persistent tradition that identifies woman with truth itself, woman in Conrad is an emblem of dangerous or forbidden knowledge. Her pervasive presence, then, is both a symbol and an effective cause of the narratives’ ambivalent attitude toward revelation, discovery, and truth. Fascinating, promising, and seductive, like truth itself, she draws the internal seeker and the author on. Menacing and forbidden, she thwarts all efforts at possession. Beginning with evidence of the explicit identification of woman with truth in Conrad’s fictions, the essay focuses on the literary, philosophical, mythic, and psychological history of the equation, connecting her variegated representations in the texts with comparable images of woman in these sources.