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Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad, born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowki in 1857, is widely considered one of the masters of English prose. English was his third language (after Polish and German), yet he was able to write such monumental works as "Lord Jim" (1900) and "Heart of Darkness" (1902) in it.

The son of a Polish noble, Conrad was orphaned at age 12. At 16, he convinced his uncle to let him pursue his desire for a life at sea and moved to Marseilles, where he served with French merchant ships. In 1878, he landed a job with a British vessel and arrived in England for the first time. Eight years later, he became a naturalized British citizen. He continued working with the British merchant navy until 1889, when he traveled to the Congo to become captain of a river steamboat.

Conrad's time at sea greatly influenced his writing style, and his stay in the Congo formed the basis for "Heart of Darkness," an exploration of the evil in man. It was there he entered into a psychological, spiritual and physical shock from which he never fully recovered. For the rest of his life, he was wracked by recurrent fever and gout.




In 1894, Conrad gave up a life at sea to pursue writing full time. He published his first work, "Almayer's Folly," in 1895, the same year he married Jessie George, with whom he would later have two sons. Conrad lived poor and in failing health for many years before his work received recognition. During that period, he produced a variety of novels, including "An Outcast in the Islands" (1896), "Nostromo" (1904), "The Secret Agent" (1907) and "Under Western Eyes" (1911).

Joseph Conrad died in 1924 at Bishopsbourne, near Canterbury.

Conrad on the Web

  • Joseph Conrad
    Offers a timeline, links to other pages, e-texts and miscellaneous information.

  • Joseph Conrad
    Offers a short biography.

  • The Joseph Conrad Foundation
    Information on conferences, book reviews, bibliographies and more.




    -- A.L.
 
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