Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski; 3 December 1857 – 3 August 1924) was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. Conrad wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of what he saw as an impassive, inscrutable universe.
Conrad is considered an early modernist, though his works contain elements of 19th-century realism. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced numerous authors, and many films have been adapted from, or inspired by, his works. Numerous writers and critics have commented that Conrad's fictional works, written largely in the first two decades of the 20th century, seem to have anticipated later world events.
Writing near the peak of the British Empire, Conrad drew, among other things, on his native Poland's national experiences and on his own experiences in the French and British merchant navies, to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world—including imperialism and colonialism—and that profoundly explore the human psyche.
Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Joseph Conrad about a narrated voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State in the so-called heart of Africa. Charles Marlow, the narrator, tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames. This setting provides the frame for Marlow's story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between what Conrad calls "the greatest town on earth", London, and Africa as places of darkness.
Central to Conrad's work is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilized people and those described as savages; Heart of Darkness raises questions about imperialism and racism.
Originally issued as a three-part serial story in Blackwood's Magazine to celebrate the thousandth edition of the magazine, Heart of Darkness has been widely re-published and translated into many languages. It provided the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film Apocalypse Now. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness 67th on their list of the 100 best novels in English of the twentieth century. (wikipedia.org)
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About the Author
Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) was fluent from birth in French as well as his native Polish. He learned his third language, English, as an adult, and it was in English that he wrote his evocative stories and novels. Conrad drew upon his experiences in the British and French navies to portray the struggles of humanity amid the world's vast indifference.
Date of Birth:December 3, 1857
Date of Death:August 3, 1924
Place of Birth:Berdiczew, Podolia, Russia
Place of Death:Bishopsbourne, Kent, England
Education:Tutored in Switzerland. Self-taught in classical literature. Attended maritime school in Marseilles, France
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A short story by Conrad. Since it¿s Conrad, naturally takes place on a ship. Still, a lot of interesting things going on. Outwardly, it¿s the story of a young captain leading a ship of strangers, unsure in his command. On watch one night, he sees something odd ¿ a man in the water. The captain pulls him up and learns his story ¿ in command of another ship, but was put in the brig for killing an insubordinate man during a storm. They have an instant connection ¿ both alienated from crew, ship their responsibility, even went to the same school back in Britain. The narrator agrees to hide him in his cabin. Because of their similiarities (the fugitive even look similar wearing his clothes) he refers to his as his double. Soon after, the double¿s crew comes on board looking for him but the narrator¿s indifference and confidence trick them. The double is his secret sharer in all things ¿ room, clothes, food. However, the captain is paranoid with the thought that his own crew will discover the man. Although the story is about a fugitive and his attempt to hide on the narrator¿s ship, the deeper meaning involves the narrator¿s fear over his role as the captain. With the double representing fear, it moves from the initial ship ¿ during a storm ¿ over to the narrator¿s ship. His double inspires paranoia in the captain and nervousness among the crew members from the other ship when they board. When the double leaves the ship, he is able to confidently steer it away from disaster.