Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born novelist who spent most of his adult life in Britain. He is regarded as one of the greatest English novelists, which is even more notable because he did not learn to speak English well until he was in his 20s.
Conrad is recognized as a master prose stylist. Some of his works have a strain of romanticism, but more importantly he is recognized as an important forerunner of Modernist literature. Writing during the apogee of the British Empire, Conrad drew upon his experiences in the British Merchant Navy. In 1894, at the age of 36, he left the sea to become an English author. His first novel, Almayer's Folly, set on the east coast of Borneo and was published in 1895.
Conrad's narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many writers, including Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, John Maxwell Coetzee as well as Jerzy Kosinski and inspired such films as Apocalypse Now (drawn from Heart of Darkness).
Joseph Conrad died of a heart attack, and was interred in Canterbury Cemetery, Canterbury, England. (source: Wikipedia)
In Conrad's haunting tale, Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, recounts his physical and psychological journey in search of the enigmatic Kurtz. Travelling to the heart of the African continent, he discovers how Kurtz has gained his position of power a... Read More »
Chance is narrated by Conrad's regular narrator, Charles Marlow, but is characterised by a complex, nested narrative in which different narrators take up the story at different points and attempt to interpret various episodes in the life of Miss d... Read More »
In The Secret Agent (1907) a triangle of conspiracy is built, then destroyed, by the self-interest of its participants. Mr. Verloc, employed by a foreign embassy to incriminate an anarchist group, instead destroys his family, his illusions, and hi... Read More »
A gripping tale of capitalist exploitation and rebellion, set amid the mist-shrouded mountains of a fictional South American republic, employs flashbacks and glimpses of the future to depict the lure of silver and its effects on men. Conrad's deep... Read More »
A hundred years ago a seaman's life was full of danger, but Jim, the first mate on board the Patna, is not afraid of danger. He is young, strong, confident of his bravery. He dreams of great adventures - and the chance to show the world what a her... Read More »
Certain individualities grow into fame through their vices and their virtues, or simply by their actions, which may have a temporary importance; and then they become forgotten. The names of a few leaders alone survive the end of armed strife and a... Read More »
Bomb-throwing assassins, political repression and revolt, emigre revolutionaries infiltrated by a government spy: much of Under Western Eyes is more topical than we would wish. Set in Czarist Russia and in Geneva, and told through the Western eyes... Read More »
A shining example of Conrad's later literary ability, "The Shadow-Line" is his autobiographical novella of a young man in his first command as a sea captain. A series of crises prove incredibly difficult for his new authority, for the sea is curio... Read More »
Lush prose and penetrating psychological insight infuse Conrad's first novel with the qualities that have made him one of the most popular and most studied writers in English literature. The novel chronicles the tragic decline of a Dutch merchant ... Read More »