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Joseph Conrad

From Academic Kids

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Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad (December 3, 1857August 3, 1924) was a Polish-born British novelist. Some of his works have been labeled romantic, although Conrad usually tempers romanticism with the conflicting pulls of realism and the moral ambiguity of modern life. For this reason, many critics have placed him as a forerunner of modernism. Many of Conrad's works center around sailors and the sea.

Born Jzef Teodor Nałęcz Konrad Korzeniowski, on December 3, 1857 in Berdyczw (Berdychiv), in what is now Ukraine, Conrad was brought up in Russian-occupied Poland. His father, an impoverished aristocrat, writer, and militant fighter, was arrested by the occupying regime for his patriotic activities, and was sentenced to penal servitude in Siberia. Shortly after this, his mother died of tuberculosis in exile, and so did his father four years later despite being allowed to return to Krakw.

Subsequently Conrad was brought up by his uncle, a much more conservative figure than either of his parents. Conrad eventually abandoned his education at the age of 17 to become a seaman in the French merchant navy. He lived an adventurous, buccaneering life—sailing off Marseille and becoming involved in gunrunning and political conspiracy. In 1878, after attempted suicide, Jzef took service on a British ship in order to avoid Russian military service. He gained his Master Mariner's certificate, learned English before the age of 21, to finally become a naturalized Briton in 1884. He first arrived in England at the port of Lowestoft, Suffolk, living in London and later near Canterbury, Kent.

His first novel, Almayer's Folly, a story of Malaysia, was written in English and published in 1895. It should be remembered that the lingua franca of educated people at that time was French, which was Conrad's second language, thus it is altogether remarkable that Conrad should write so fluently and effectively in his third language.

His literary work bridges the gap between the classical literary tradition of writers such as Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoevsky and the emergent modernist schools of writing. Interestingly, he despised Dostoevsky, and Russian writers as a rule, only making an exception for Ivan Turgenev. Conrad is now best known for the novella, Heart of Darkness. Heart of Darkness has been seen, at the time and since, as a scathing attack on Belgian, indeed European, colonialism. Chinua Achebe, however, has argued (http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/pursuits/achebehod.html) 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, with three mistakes in his name on the gravestone.


Novels and Novellas

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monument of Conrad in Gdynia

Short Stories

  • "The Idiots" (Conrad's first short story; written during his honeymoon, published in "Savoy" [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).
  • "Typhoon" (novella/story, begun in 1899 and published in "Pall Mall" [1902] and "Critic" [US, 1902]; collected in "Typhoon" [1903])
  • "Falk" (novella/story, written in early 1901; collected only in "Typhoon" [1903])
  • "Amy Foster" (composed in 1901; published the "Illustrated London News" [Dec. 1901] and collected in "Typhoon" [1903])
  • "To-morrow" (written early 1902; serialized in "Pall Mall" [1902] and collected in "Typhoon" [1903]).
  • "Gaspar Ruiz" (written after "Nostromo" in 1904-05; 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" 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 Magazine" 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 [1800-1881])
  • "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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