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3 December 1857 – 3 August 1924
Joseph Conrad, original name Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, was an English novelist and short-story writer of Polish descent. Regarded as one of the best novelists, Joseph Conrad wrote short stories and novels like Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness and The Secret Agent, which combined his experiences in remote places with an interest in moral conflict and the dark side of human nature.
Conrad was born on 3 December 1857 in Berdychiv (Polish: Berdyczów), Ukraine. His father was a Polish patriot who was exiled to northern Russia, and Conrad was an orphan by age 12. He managed to join the French merchant marine and in 1878 the British merchant navy, where he pursued a career for most of the next 15 years; his naval experiences would provide the material for most of his novels. Though he knew little English before he was 20, he became one of the master English stylists.
Almayer's Folly (1895), The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' (1897), Heart of Darkness (1899), Lord Jim (1900), Typhoon (1902), Nostromo (1904), The Secret Agent (1907), Under Western Eyes (1911)
“Heart of Darkness” is Conrad's most famous, finest, and most enigmatic story, the title of which signifies not only the heart of Africa, the dark continent, but also the heart of evil — everything that is corrupt, nihilistic, malign — and perhaps the heart of man. The story is central to Conrad’s work and vision, and it is difficult not to think of his Congo experiences as traumatic.
Conrad is considered a literary impressionist by some and an early modernist by others. Conrad’s view of life is indeed deeply pessimistic. In every idealism are the seeds of corruption, and the most honourable men find their unquestioned standards totally inadequate to defend themselves against the assaults of evil. It is significant that Conrad repeats again and again situations in which such men are obliged to admit emotional kinship with those whom they have expected only to despise.
Conrad died of a heart attack on August 3, 1924, at his home in Canterbury, England. Conrad's work influenced numerous later 20th century writers, from T.S. Eliot and Graham Greene to Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. His books have been translated into dozens of languages and are still taught in schools and universities.
“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.”
“It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.”
“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.”