About the author
Born Józef Teodor NaB’cz Konrad Korzeniowski, on De-cember 3, 1857 in Berdyczow, in what is now the Ukraine, he wasbrought up in Russian-occupiedPoland.His father, an impoverished aristocrat, writer, and militantfighter, was arrested by the occupying regime for his patrioticactivities, and was sentenced to penal servitude in Siberia.Shortly after this, his mother died of tuberculosis in exile,and despite his being allowed to return to Cracow, so did hisfather four years later.Subsequently Conrad was brought up by his uncle. Conradeventually abandoned his education at the age of 17 to be-come a seaman in the French merchant navy. He lived anadventurous, buccaneering life — sailing off Marseilles andbecoming involved in gunrunning and political conspiracy.In 1878, after attempted suicide, Józef took service on a Brit-ish ship in order to avoid French military service. He gainedhis Master Mariner’s certificate, learned English before theage of 21, to finally become a naturalized Briton in 1884. Helived in Lowestoft, Suffolk, and later near Canterbury, Kent.His first novel,
, a story of Malaysia, was written in English and published in 1895. It should be re-membered that the lingua franca at that time was French, which was Conrad’s second language, thus it is altogether re-markable that Conrad should write so fluently and effectively in his third language.His literary work bridges the gap between the classicalliterary tradition of writers such as Charles Dickens and FyodorDostoevsky and the emergent modernist schools of writing.Interestingly, he despised Dostoevsky, and Russian writers asa rule, only making an exception for Ivan Turgenev. Conrad isnow best known for the novella,
Heart of Darkness
. Joseph Conrad died of a heart attack, and was interred inCanterbury Cemetery, Canterbury, England, with three mis-takes in his name on the grave-stone.In 2001, the editorial board of the American ModernLibrary selected the 100 best English-language novels of the20th century. Leading this list was Joseph Conrad who hadfour of his books selected.