Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Joseph Conrad is best known for his powerful and psychologically penetrating novels, which, like his shorter fiction, are often set in exotic locales, frequently the Far East, at sea, or a combination of the two, as with his most famous work Lord Jim: A Tale (1900). Even when using a more conventional setting, such as London in The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (1907), or Geneva, Switzerland, in Under Western Eyes (1911), Conrad maintains a sense of otherness because his characters live in a moral shadow world of revolutionaries and adventures.

In addition to three plays based on his stories, Conrad produced three volumes of autobiographical writings, which, however, often conceal more than they explain about his varied and often dramatic personal life. Following his death, several edited collections of Conrad’s correspondence were published, and these letters offer some insight into his fiction.