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One of the finest stylist of modern English literature was Joseph Conrad, was a
Polish-born English novelist, short story writer, essayist, dramatist, and
autobiographer. Conrad was born in 1857 in a Russian-ruled Province of Poland.
According to Jocelyn Baines, a literary critic, "Conrad was exiled with his
parents to northern Russia in 1863 following his his parents participation in
the Polish independence movement". (Baines 34). His parents' health rapidly
deteriorated in Russia, and after their deaths in 1868, Conrad lived in the
homes of relatives, where he was often ill and received spradic schooling (35).
Conrad's birth-given name was Jozef Tedor Konrad Valecz Korzeniowski, however,
his name was legally changed (39). Conrad died of a heart attack, August 3,
1924, in Bishopsbourne Kent, England (34). With such an innovative style, Joseph
Conrad was perhaps one of Britain's most remarkable authors of modern English
literature. Throughout Conrad's career, his works have became influential as
well as remarkable. Cited by Ted E. Boyle, a short story analysis,
"Conrad's novels are complex moral and psychological examinations of
ambiguous nature of good and evil" (Boyle 93). Conrad's characters are
repeatedly forced to acknowledge their own failures and the weakness of their
ideals against all forms of coruption; the most honorable characters are those
who realize their fallibility but still struggle to up hold the dictates of
conscience (99). Early in life, Conrad pursued a career as a seaman, sailing to
Martinique and the West Indies. In 1894, he began a career as a writer, basing
much of his work on his experience as a seaman (100). Throughout his career,
"Conrad examined the impossibility of living by a traditional code of
conduct". His novels "postulate that the complexity of the human
spirit allows neither absolute fidelity to any ideal nor even to one's
conscience" (Baines 49). Conrad's work failure is a fact of human
existence, and every ideal contains the possibilities for its own conniption
(Boyle 34). Most of Conrad's greatest works take place on a ship or in the
backwaters of civilization. After assessing Conrad's works, Douglas Hewitt, a
renown critic, claimed that " a ship or a small outpost offered an isolated
environment where Conrad could develop his already complex moral problems
without unnecessary entanglements that might obscure the concentration of
tragedy". Nostromo is widely recognized as Conrad's most ambitious novel.
An account of a revolution in the fictitious South American country of
Costaguana, Nostromo examines the ideals, motivations, and failures of several
participants in that confict (Hewitt 60). Conrad himself referred to "Nostromo"
as his "largest canvas", and many critics consider the novel as one of
the greatest in twentieth century (Boyle 90). Conrad's current reputation rests
with such relatively early works a "Lordd Jim", "Heart of
Darkness", and "Nostromo", in which imagery, symbolism, and
shifts in time and perspective combine to create an intriguing, mystical series
of fictional settings. The two greatest examples of moral tragedy in his work
are "Lord Jim" (1900), which "examines the failures of a man
before society and his own conscience, and "Heart of Darkness" (1899),
"a dreamlike tale of mystery and adventure set in central Africa that is
also the story of a man's symbolic journey into his own inner being"
(Hewitt 68). In his own preface to the Niger of the "Narcissus"
(1897), an essay that has been called his artistic credo, Conrad expressed his
intention of forcing the reader's involvement in his work: ...my task which I am
trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you feel -- it
is, before all to reach his audience. That-- and no more, and it is everything.
(Conrad 3) Bruce Johnson, a renown essay critic, stated that "Conrad's
examination of the ambiguity of good and evil is generally considered too
stylized and heavy-handed". Johnson claimes that Conrad's most highly
regarded works, however, are acknowledged as masterpieces of English literature
and continue to generate significant critical commentary. Conrad produced
thirteen novels, tow volumes of memoirs, and twenty-eight short stories, athough
writing was not easy or painless for him (Johnson 11). In most of Conrad's
writings his outlook is bleak. He writes "in a rich, vivid prose style with
a narrative technique that makes skillfull use of breaks in linear
chronology" (Boyle 80). His character development is powerful and
compelling. Conrad's life at sea and in foreign ports furnished the background
for much of his writing, giving rise to the impression that he was primarily
committed to foreign or alien concerns (Johnson 11). According to editor
Zdzislaw Najder, Conrad's major interest was the human condition (Najder 34).
Conrad studied at schools in Poland and uder
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International PEN, Joseph Conrad, Polish nobility, Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness, Nostromo, Zdzisaw Najder, Joseph Conrads career at sea
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