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Juan Poblete
English 4
29 May 2015
Joseph Conrad

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Joseph Conrad's father, Apollo, pursued literary and political activities and
Joseph followed his footsteps. He wrote a variety of plays and social satires. Even
Though his works were little known, they would have tremendous influence on his son.
Joseph Conrad was interested in showing psycho-political situations that drew
parallels between the inner lives of single characters and the broader sweep of human
history. Conrads work can be more suitably inserted into the genre of Post/Colonial
writing, like most writers they could shift between two, if no more. Conrads sceptical
critics and literary interrogations of distinctly Eurocentric conceptions of morality and
tradition does not come within the metropolitan,bourgeois cityscape that was the home
of so many self-fashioned, high Modernist authors such as T.S. Eliot or many members
of the Bloomsbury Group. His first poems were interrupted by the strangest and
probably the most important of his adventures. In 1878, Conrad yet again underwent a
drastic change in his life when he made his first contact with the British Merchant
Service. Joseph Conrads visit to the Belgian Congo from 1890-1894 had both positive
and negative effects on his life. The positive aspect of the voyage was the fact that he
was able to write a famous novel filled with chilling commentary about his daily
experiences among the natives of the Congo. On the other hand, while in the Congo he
underwent a physical and mental breakdown that would affect his health for the rest of
his life. When Conrad returned from the Congo to resettle in London, his mind and
thoughts were fragmented, and he went into exile for several reasons, including
political, aesthetic, and personal. Though he ended a sea career that spanned twenty
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years, from which he was able to achieve success in imaginative fiction writing. Cyril
Clemens, a cousin from Mark Twain, quoted conrad as saying, In everything I have
written there is always one invariable intention, and that is to capture the readers
attention. Here he is saying that in all his poems or stories, he has caught someone
interested in his writing. That is one important thing in anything you write because you
need to have the reader's attention or they wont read your book. The major productive
phase of Conrad's career spanned from 1897 to 1911, during which time he composed
The Nigger of the Narcissus, Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret
Agent, and Under Western Eyes, among other works. During this period, he also
experienced serious financial difficulties, often living off of advances and state grants,
there being little in the way of royalties.

Joseph Conrad was born on December 3, 1857 in the city of Berdychiv in

Russian, controlled by Ukraine. Poland had been a Roman Catholic kingdom since
1024, but was invaded, partitioned, and repartitioned throughout the late eighteenthcentury by Russia, Prussia, and Austria. His official name is Jozef Teodor Konrad
Korzeniowski. His both parents, Joseph Theodore Apollonius Korzeniowski and Evelina
Korzeniowski, were Polish patriots which would conspire against oppressive Russian
Rule. Apollo belonged to the szlachta, a hereditary social class comprised of members
of the landed gentry; he despised the Russian oppression of his native land. Other
members from Conrad family showed similar patriotic convictions.
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Apollo was also a writer and a translator, who composed political tracts, poetry, and
satirical plays. His public outings for Polish freedom, however, eventually caused

Russian authorities to arrest and imprison him in 1861; in 1862, Evelina, was also
arrested and charged with assisting her husband in his anti-Russian activities. The two
were sentenced to exile in Vologda, a town in northern Russia. Their exile was a hard
and bitter one. Eva died of tuberculosis in 1865. It was a disease that you would get in
your lungs and cause a lot of damage and cause death. Soon Apollo died of the same
disease in 1869. Conrad, now only twelve years old, was naturally devastated; his own
physical health deteriorated and he suffered from a number of lung inflammations and
epileptic seizures. His health would become a recurring problem throughout the
remainder of his life. After his parents died, he was raised by his Uncle, Thaddeus
Bobrowski, in Poland. Conrads Education was all messed up and not stable because
he got tortured by his literary father and he didnt like it so he went to school in Krakow
and received further private schooling. He was also a poor student despite having
studied Greek, Latin, mathematics, and geography, he never completed the formal
courses of study that he was expected to finish. At the age of 16, conrad left Poland and
traveled to the port city of Marseilles, France, Where he began his years as a mariner.
In 1874, he found work on a series of French vessels for over the next 4 years. During
this time, he smuggled guns for the Carlists, who were trying to put Carlos de Bourbon
on the throne of Spain. In 1878, Conrad suffered from depression, caused in part by
gambling debts and his being forbidden to work on any French ships due to his lying
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about having a proper permits. He made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, shooting
himself through the shoulder and missing his vital organs. Later that year, Conrad
boarded an English ship that took him to the eastern port-town of Lowestoft and

Newcastle. During this time, he learned English. Conrads determination to succeed as

a seaman was impressive: Although he began his career as a common sailer, by 1886
he had sailed to the Asia and was made master of his own ship. He then became a
British subject and changed his name to Joseph Conrad to avoid having to return to
poland and serve in the Russian military. Conrad was attracted to this region partly
because of the adventure he thought it could offer him and because working in the
Congo could earn him some much-needed money. During this voyage, Conrad
witnessed incredible barbarity, illness, and inhumanity; his recollections of this trip would
eventually become the basis of his most famous work, Heart of Darkness. During this
time, Conrad was considering turning his seafaring adventures into novels, and he
eventually published Almayers Folly, which he had been composing during the early
1890s in 1895. The success of his first novel lured him away from the sea to his new
adventures as an English novelist. He settles in England, married Jessie George in
1896, and began the career of which the world would remember him best. He later has
two sons named Borys Conrad and John Conrad.
Joseph Conrad types of works were fiction. Conrads novels or books are not
easy to read. The styles he uses are Verbose, Poetic, and Introspective.His writing can
come across as long-winded and tedious. But it is more like poetry than like a typical
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prose narrative. In one of his novels, he puts this: She stood looking at us without a
stir, and like the wilderness itself, with an air of brooding over an inscrutable purpose. A
whole minute passed, and then she made a step forward. There was a low jingle, a glint
of yellow metal, a sway of fringed draperies, and she stopped as if her heart had failed

her.. He can hop on physical to metaphorical to speculative in just one sentence. This
passage shows us that, even when Conrad is describing the physical world and
physical action, its always tightly linked to psychology and motivation. Just as the
journey into the human heart, a description of a women stepping forward is really a
description of her mind. The title of his greatest works, Heart of Darkness, was so
ominous is a rumination on the nature of evil. The Heart of Darkness refers not only to
a physical location, in Africa, but also to a state of mind and the grim consequences of
imperialism. He was also into a lot of metaphors because the text considers the deep
jungle of Africa and the heart of darkness both for its untamed and hostile wilderness
and for its supposed savages who hang out there practicing certain non-European
customs such as cannibalism. The reason he relates Africa to dark is because like any
other answer, there is no light in there because the heavy foliage and the mists. The
more complicated answer is that, according to the novel, the wilderness makes men
metaphorically bling to their situation and surroundings. In the heart of darkness, you
cant do good: you can only choose to be less evil. His influences were from Henry
James who was also an American English writer who spent most of his writing career in
Britain, Ford Madox Ford who was an English novelist, poet critic and editor whose
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journals, H.G. Wells who was a prolific English writer in many genres, Ivan Turgenev
who was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright, Arthur Schopenhauer
who was a philosopher, H.Rider Haggard who was an English writer of adventure novel
set in extoic locations, predomianatly Africa, and was a pioneer. Finally Antoni

Malczewski who was an influential Polish romantic poet. All these English poets have
influenced Conrad into doing his most outstanding book, The Heart of Darkness.
Conrads major works were Heart of Darkness (1899), Lord Jim (1900), The
Secret Agent (1907), Nostromo (1904), The Nigger of the Narcissus (1897), Under
Western Eyes (1911), The Secret Sharer (1912), Typhoon (1902), etc He has
wrote many more but these were the most common ones people know him by. The
Heart of Darkness was one of his best books. In the book the main character is Charlie
Marlow who loves maps and wants to become an explorer so he could fill in those
empty spaces in the maps. Although Marlow appears in several of Conrads other
works, it is important not to view him as merely a surrogate for the author. The Book is
about his adventure of traveling to Africa and says that the darkness surrounds AFrica
everywhere that may embody or hide. When he visits the Companys headquarters, for
example, he is slightly alarmed by the doctors comments and puzzled by the two
women knitting black wool. When he arrives at the Outer Station, however, he is
shocked at the amount of waste and disregard for life he sees there. By the end of the
novel, Marlow is almost unable to reintegrate himself into European society, having
become convinced of the lies and surface-truths that sustain it. He tells his story to the
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men aboard the Nellie to share with them what he has learned about the darkness of
the human heart and the things of which that darkness is capable. This novella
represents the author by what he had been though. He took an adventure there and
saw it first person and wanted to tell the world it. Critics say that the book was a good
example of how the best-intentioned most respected piece of fiction can develop into a

social document when attitudes change and history overtakes the thematic material of
a given work of art. One another Critic says that the balance between thematic material
and narrative material is off. The person wants more particulars and argues that Conrad
is more interested in making a point then telling a story. Every fiction writer worth
reading has a point to make which is called the theme of the work and the story is laid
open to expose the theme it expresses. The critics are wrong because Conrad has
done a brilliant job on telling a story that exposes what people find to be a significant
theme. And not only he puts a theme in the Heart of Darkness, in all his novels there is
a theme and he points it out perfectly. Another critique was An Image of Africa, that
someone took a strong stand against Conrad's novella. He claims that Conrad was
racist and that a novella which se depersonalizes a portion of the human race should
not be considered a great work of art. Conrads response was that it was the simple
truth in Africa.
On August 3rd, 1924, Conrad died of a heart attack at his house. Although a
septic much of his life he was given a Roman Catholic service at St. Thomass and now
rest with his wife Jessie in the Westgate Court Avenue public cemetery in
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Canterbury, England. His name is carved into the massive rough-hewn grave stone as
was given at his birth, Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. His gravestone bears these
Lines from Edmund Spenser: Sleep after toyle, port after stormie seas,/ Ease after
warre, death after life, does greatly please. Conrad was a very influential author during
the Middle Ages. His Novella The Heart Of Darkness will always be remembered by

him and will stand being a legend during those periods of time. He had been through a
lot and what he had been through will be remembered in his books.

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Cites "Joseph Conrad Biography | List of Works, Study Guides & Essays." Joseph Conrad
Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2015.
"Joseph Conrad." Joseph Conrad Biography. The Editors of Encyclopdia Britannica,
n.d. Web.
"Joseph Conrad Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 26 May

"Heart of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Joseph Conrad Biography." Joseph Conrad

Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.
Conrad, Joseph, and Robert Kimbrough.
Heart of Darkness; an Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and sources, Essays in
Criticism. New York: Norton, 1963, Print.