Joseph Conrad had one of the most unusual lives of any major writer in English literature. He was born in Berdyczów, Poland, on December 3, 1857, and was christened Jósef Teodor Konrad Nacz Korzeniowski. His father, Apollo Korzeniowski, was a Polish intellectual and writer whose works included original verse and translations of William Shakespeare. Apollo Korzeniowski was also a fervent Polish patriot, and his activities against Russian repression (Poland was at that time part of the Russian Empire) caused his arrest and exile in 1861. Apollo Korzeniowski, along with his wife, Ewelina Bobrowska, and his young son, Josef, was sent to Vologda, a dismal town northeast of Moscow.
The climate was severe, and living...
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Joseph Conrad was born Jósef Teodor Konrad Naęcz Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857, near the rural village of Berdyczów in Poland, under Russian domination. Conrad’s mother, Ewa Bobrowski, came from an affluent and influential family of landowners who had made their peace, as best they could, with their Russian overlords. Conrad’s father, Apollo Korzeniowski, was a would-be poet, a dedicated patriot, and a translator of William Shakespeare into Polish who found no peace in Russian Poland. The marriage of Apollo and Ewa was frowned upon by the Bobrowskis, who felt that Ewa had married beneath herself, and Ewa’s brother, Tadeusz, a prominent lawyer and member of the landed gentry, seldom missed an opportunity to remind his...
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Joseph Conrad was born in Poland, spent much of his childhood in Russian exile with his parents, was orphaned at an early age and reared by his uncle, lived as a young man in France, and then, after a career with the British merchant marine, became one of the major writers in English literature. He lived a life as adventurous as that portrayed in any of his novels, and, in fact, many of the episodes of Conrad’s later fiction were rooted in his own experiences.
He was born near Berdyczów on December 3, 1857, and christened Jósef Teodor Konrad Nacz Korzeniowski. Conrad was particularly proud of his ancestry, which, rooted in the Polish nobility, had a long and distinguished history. Apollo Korzeniowski, his father,...
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Joseph Conrad’s mastery of the psychological story and his creation of memorable and highly complex characters established him as one of the most important authors in world literature. In exploring such concepts as the double and the human subconscious, Conrad both anticipated and complemented many modern psychological theories. In addition, Conrad is one of the most original and influential of modern English prose stylists. His densely written and often highly descriptive passages reflect perfectly the complex world of his narratives and his often mysterious but always memorable characters.
Born Jósef Teodor Konrad Nacz Korzeniowski, the son of a Polish nobleman, writer, and militant nationalist, this great English novelist adopted the name of Joseph Conrad after many years of adventure at sea. He settled in England and became a naturalized British subject in 1886, only eight years after he had learned to speak and write English. Considered to be one of the supreme stylists in English, his third language (he had mastered French earlier), Conrad revealed in his letters that writing was an enormous struggle for him and a calling at which he worked strenuously and with all his heart. He left Poland in 1874, attracted to the life of the sea but also downhearted about the fate of his native land, which had been burdened...
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