Joseph Conrad

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Joseph Conrad (December 3, 1857August 3, 1924) was a naturalized British novelist of Polish origin. Some of his works have been labeled romantic, although Conrad's romanticism is tempered with irony and a fine sense of man's capacity for self-deception. Many critics have placed him as a forerunner of modernism.

Conrad was born Józef Teodor Nałęcz Konrad Korzeniowski in Berdyczów (Berdychiv), then Poland under Russian rule, now Ukraine. His father, an aristocrat, writer, and translator, was arrested by the Russian authorities in Warsaw for his activities in support of the 1863 insurrection, and was exiled to Siberia. His mother died of tuberculosis in 1865, as did his father four years later in Kraków, leaving Conrad orphaned at the age of eleven.

He was placed in the care of his uncle, a more cautious figure than either of his parents, who nevertheless allowed Conrad to travel to Marseille and begin his career as a seaman at the age of 17. Conrad lived an adventurous life, becoming involved in gunrunning and political conspiracy, which he later fictionalized in his novel The Arrow of Gold. In 1878, after a failed attempt at suicide, Conrad took service on his first British ship. He learned English before the age of 21, and gained both his Master Mariner's certificate and British citizenship in 1886. He first arrived in England at the port of Lowestoft, Suffolk, and lived later in London and near Canterbury, Kent.

In 1894 he left the sea to become an English author. His first novel, Almayer's Folly, set on the east coast of Borneo, was published in 1895. The lingua franca of educated Europeans at that time was French, Conrad's second language, and it is remarkable that Conrad could write so fluently and effectively in his third language. Many of his early novels are set on board. His novel Nostromo is a panoramic study of revolution in South America, while The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes are among the first modern novels to treat the subjects of terrorism and espionage.

His literary work bridges the gap between the realist literary tradition of writers such as Charles Dickens and the emergent modernist schools of writing. Interestingly, he despised Dostoevsky, and Russian writers as a rule, possibly due to his political inclinations, making an exception only for Ivan Turgenev. Conrad is now best known for the novella Heart of Darkness, which has been seen as a scathing indictment of colonialism. Chinua Achebe, however, has argued that Conrad's language and imagery is inescapably racist. Some would claim that these can both be true.

Joseph Conrad died of a heart attack, and was interred in Canterbury Cemetery, Canterbury, England.


Novels and Novellas

Short stories

  • "The Idiots" (Conrad's first short story; written during his honeymoon, published in Savo 1896 and collected in Tales of Unrest, 1898).
  • "The Black Mate" (written, according to Conrad, in 1886; published 1908; posthumously collected in Tales of Hearsay, 1925).
  • "The Lagoon" (composed 1896; published in Cornhill Magazine 1897; collected in Tales of Unrest, 1898).
  • "An Outpost of Progress" (written 1896 and named in 1906 by Conrad himself, long after the publication of Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, as his 'best story'; published in Cosmopolis 1897 and collected in Tales of Unrest 1898; often compared to Heart of Darkness, with which it has numerous thematic affinities).
  • "The Return" (written circa early 1897; never published in magazine form; collected in Tales of Unrest, 1898; Conrad, presaging the sentiments of most readers, once remarked, "I hate it").
  • "Karain: A Memory" (written February–April 1897; published Nov. 1897 in Blackwood's and collected in Tales of Unrest, 1898).
  • "Falk" (novella/story, written in early 1901; collected only in Typhoon and Other Stories, 1903).
  • "Amy Foster" (composed in 1901; published the Illustrated London News, Dec. 1901 and collected in Typhoon and Other Stories, 1903).
  • "To-morrow" (written early 1902; serialized in Pall Mall Magazine, 1902 and collected in Typhoon and Other Stories, 1903).
  • "Gaspar Ruiz" (written after "Nostromo" in 190405; published in Strand Magazine in 1906 and collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US. This story was the only piece of Conrad's fiction ever adapted by the author for cinema, as Gaspar the Strong Man, 1920).
  • "An Anarchist" (written in late 1905; serialized in Harper's in 1906; collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US.)
  • "The Informer" (written before January 1906; published in December 1906 in Harper's and collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US.)
  • "The Brute" (written in early 1906; published in The Daily Chronicle in December 1906; collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US.)
  • "The Duel" (aka "The Point of Honor": serialized in the UK in Pall Mall Magazine in early 1908 and in the US periodical Forum later that year; collected in A Set of Six in 1908 and published by Garden City Publishing in 1924.)
  • "Il Conde" (i.e., 'Conte' [count]: appeared in Cassell's [UK] 1908 and Hampton's [US] in 1909; collected in A Set of Six, 1908 UK/1915 US.)
  • "The Secret Sharer" (written December 1909; published in Harper's and collected in Twixt Land and Sea 1912)
  • "Prince Roman" (written 1910, published in 1911 in the Oxford and Cambridge Review; based upon the story of Prince Roman Sanguszko of Poland 18001881)
  • "A Smile of Fortune" (a long story, almost a novella, written in mid-1910; published in London Magazine in Feb. 1911; collected in Twixt Land and Sea 1912)
  • "Freya of the Seven Isles" (another near-novella, written late 1910–early 1911; published in Metropolitan Magazine and London Magazine in early 1912 and July 1912, respectively; collected in Twixt Land and Sea 1912)
  • "The Warrior's Soul" (written late 1915–early 1916; published in Land and Water, in March 1917; collected in Tales of Hearsay, 1925)
  • "The Tale" (Conrad's only story about WWI; written 1916 and first published 1917 in Strand Magazine)

External links

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